This morning before getting out of bed
I had a mountaintop experience.
I saw a light that shined so bright
it broke the darkness in half.
It was the transfiguration of Jesus!
“In the beginning
God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was formless and empty,
and darkness covered the deep waters.
And the Spirit of God
was hovering over
the surface of the waters.
Then God said,
“Let there be light,”
and there was light.
And God saw that the light was good.”
Then he separated
the light from the darkness.”
“In the beginning
the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life
to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
my heart completely changed,
it became even more awe-struck!
It’s amazing how abundantly
the Word of God can increase our faith!
You see, I read Matthew 16
and saw, this time, with spiritual eyes,
the transfiguration of Jesus -
and it was the most beautiful thing
I have ever seen!
Aside from the Boardwalk Vision
He gave me in 2016,
it was the most amazing thing
I have ever experienced.
And both visions included Jesus
My eyes were cleansed.
I felt a heavy film
slide right off of them.
The haze - it dissipated,
and I was given clear vision.
Come - let me show you what I saw.
Close your eyes
and get ready to reopen them.
Take a deep breath
and prepare your heart to receive Him.
When you are ready to walk with me,
Open your spiritual eyes so that you can see!
Are your ready?
On the count of three - 1, 2…3
“Six days passed since Jesus”
told his disciples
that He must go to Jerusalem
to be captured and killed
so that he could rise again.
“Jesus took Peter
and the two brothers,
James and John, and led them
up a high mountain to be alone.”
“As the men watched,
Jesus’ appearance was transformed
so that his face shone like the sun,
and his clothes became
as white as light.”
Moses and Elijah appeared
and began talking with Jesus.”
“Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here!
If you want, I’ll make three shelters
as memorials - one for you,
one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
“But even as he spoke,
a bright cloud overshadowed them,
and a voice from the cloud said,
“This is my dearly loved Son,
who brings me great joy.
Listen to him.”
“The disciples were terrified
and fell face down on the ground.”
“Then Jesus came over
and touched them.
“Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.”
“And when they looked up,
Moses and Elijah were gone,
and they saw only Jesus.”
As they went back
down the mountain,
Jesus commanded them,
“Don’t tell anyone what you have seen
until the Son of Man
has been raised from the dead.”
Then his disciples asked him,
“Why do the teachers
of religious law
insist that Elijah must return
before the Messiah comes?”
Jesus replied, “Elijah is indeed
coming first to get everything ready.
But I tell you, Elijah has already come,
but he wasn’t recognized,
and they chose to abuse him.
And in the same way
they will also make
the Son of Man suffer.”
“Then the disciples realized
he was talking about
John the Baptist.”
I have so much to share
about this illumination.
I saw and heard
I encountered the transformation of tents.
I came face to face with the Ancient One
and I beheld the two end-time witnesses.
How much more can a person ask for?
What is better than the glory of the Lord?
Oh…what a sweet pleasure!
The night broke, and Holy Spirit
gave me great illumination into God’s Word.
I can’t even speak.
I just need to fall on my face
and bask in the presence of the Son.
I invite you to come before His throne
and share in His glorification.
From the day that Jesus
asked his disciples
who they thought that he was,
and Simon Peter answered,
“You are the Christ,
the Son of the living God,”
Jesus began to show His disciples
that He MUST go to Jerusalem.
Jesus explained that he would suffer
a great many things
at the hands of the scribes,
elders and the chief priests -
this has to be the
“terrible baptism of suffering”
He talked about in Luke Chapter 12 -
to be condemned by the nation
that His father set apart!
Jesus told them
he was going to be killed,
but would raise again,
on the third day -
just as he had promised
when the Pharisees
and Sadducees came,
and asked for a sign from heaven
to prove who He was -
and Jesus responded
“Only an evil, adulterous generation
would demand a miraculous sign,
but the only sign I will give
is the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
While Peter was the disciple
who had connected the dots
and identified right away
that Jesus was
the Son of the living God,
he was still the stubborn man
who had a rock head!
Soon after Jesus told his disciples
that he would be killed,
Peter stepped in
and rebuked what he said!
“Peter took him aside
and began to reprimand him
for saying such things.
“Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said.
“This will never happen to you!”
But Jesus turned to Peter and said,
“Get behind Me, Satan!
You are an offense to Me,
for you are not mindful
of the things of God,
but the things of men.”
You see, Peter was so intent
on saving Jesus’s life,
that he did not understand,
through His death,
Jesus came to save
the life of men.
“This is my blood,
which confirms the covenant
between God and his people.
It is poured out as a sacrifice
to forgive the sins of many.
Mark my words -
I will not drink wine again
until the day I drink it new
with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
We have to discern
by listening and paying attention
to what the Word of God says.
We must not take
the Father’s Word in vain
by only listening to half of what He says.
Jesus had told the unbelievers,
“the religious leaders”
in front of His disciples,
which includes Peter,
that Jonah the prophet
was the sign he would give them
If they had been listening
with pure and faithful hearts,
they would have known
that Jonah went into the whale,
and three days later came out.
They would have understood
that Jonah was sent on a mission by God,
to save an evil, adulterous generation
from destruction and eternal death.
Peter thought that he knew best
when he rebuked the words of death
that came out of Jesus’s mouth.
He did not realize
he was acting in opposition.
I’m sure Peter thought,
like most of us do today,
“don’t speak death over your life
because Satan can hear what you say.”
This is the same response
in the days of old,
when the prophets spoke words of death
that were truly from God himself!
The leaders didn’t want to hear
about the destruction coming their way.
They preferred to focus
on living for the NOW, and seizing the day!
It’s crazy to think
how many of us today,
want to live and respond
in the same way.
Thank God, Jesus knew
what He had to do,
and did not let anyone
stop him from fulfilling
the Will of God!
I mean...He is the Word of God, is He not?
Sometimes we have to stop
trying to step in and save the day.
Sometimes we just
have to get out of God’s way,
and trust that God is God
and He is doing things His own Way!
To be a student of Jesus
and follow the leading
of the Holy Spirit
under the authority
of the Father in Heaven
requires us to tear off the flesh -
and that, my friend, can be quite hard!
What do you do
when everything in you
goes against God?
How do you respond
when He says “No!”
but you want to do it anyway?
Do not be angry!
Do not lust!
Forgive others even when
they have broken your heart!
Swallow your pride!
Turn the other check.
Do not worry about anything.
Stop looking at the sin of another person
and start paying attention
to the log in your own eye!
In verse 24 of Matthew 16,
after telling his disciples that he must die,
and cursing out Peter and casting him aside,
“If anyone desires to come after Me,
let him deny himself,
and take up his cross, and follow Me.
For whoever desires to save his life
will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for My sake
will find it.”
So you may be wondering,
like I once did,
“What in the world is Jesus talking about?
“What does Jesus mean by
“let him deny himself,
and take up his cross and follow Me?”
Well, let me direct you
to verses 16-26 in Galatians 5,
where Paul talks to
the people of Galatia
about walking in the Spirit
and tearing off the flesh.
He said to them,
“Walk in the Spirit,
and you shall not fulfill
the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
and these are contrary to one another,
so that you do not do the things
that you wish.
But if you are led by the Spirit,
you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh
are evident, which are: adultery,
lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred,
outbursts of wrath,
selfish ambitions, dissensions,
heresies, envy, murders,
drunkenness, revelries, and the like;
of which I tell you beforehand,
just as I also told you in time past,
that those who practice such things
will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
the flesh desires what it wants!
The flesh desires the things
that are in opposition to God.
The flesh wants its own way
and does not want to give in.
The flesh desires to be like God -
it wants to be superior
over both God and men.
The flesh does not like to be tested.
The flesh does not want God
to see the intent of it’s heart.
The flesh prefers to hide
behind deceit and pride, and shame and doubt.
And the flesh prefers to point and blame
instead of giving an account.
The flesh looks a lot like the SELF.
Self Gratification, Self Love
Self Hatred, Self Concept
The flesh is the SELF -
a human being
who is the object
of its own reflective consciousness,
instead of reflecting
the image of Christ.
“If anyone desires to come after Me,
let him deny himSELF
and take up “his” cross,
and follow Me.”
I ask you,
What do you think Jesus means?
What cross is He talking about?
Perhaps we all have a cross to bear?
I leave you with this -
“Those who are Christ’s
have crucified the flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit,
let us also walk in the Spirit.
Let us not become conceited,
provoking one another,
or envying one another.”
So, the other day I wrote a poem
called Peter the Rock Head, LOL!
Laugh Out Loud!
It was about Simon Peter
being so thickheaded -
that he struggled
to shake off his cultural fixation.
Now this morning,
I got to see another side of Peter,
and learned just why he is referred to
as “Peter, The Rock.”
The scripture says,
“When Jesus came
into the region of Caesarea Philippi,
He asked His disciples,
“Who do men say that I,
the Son of Man, am?”
So they said,
“Some say John the Baptist,
some Elijah, and others Jeremiah
or one of the prophets.”
He said to them,
‘But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter answered and said,
“You are the Christ,
the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah,
for flesh and blood
has not revealed this to you,
but My Father who is in heaven.
And I also say to you
that you are Peter,
and on this rock I will build My church,
and the gates of Hell
shall not prevail against it.
And I will give you
the keys of the kingdom of heaven,
and whatever you bind on earth
will be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth
will be loosed in heaven.
Then He commanded His disciples
that they should tell no one
that He was Jesus the Christ.”
From this passage you can see
so many spiritual things!
Peter do not earn his nickname
from denying Jesus times,
or from struggling with cultural identification.
He received his name and his position,
both on earth and in Heaven,
based on his confession
that Jesus is Lord.
Peter did not have to confess his sin
to any human priest
to gain God’s love and acceptance.
Instead, He had to respond
to Jesus’s question,
“Who do you say that I am?”
Peter did not
know this information on his own,
rather it was revealed to him from Father God.
The act of confession
starts with acknowledging
Jesus as your Lord,
not the other way around -
by acknowledging your sin first.
The truth is without Christ
you don't even know how sinful you are.
Peter is referred to as an actual rock
that the Lord will build his actual church on.
This is the opposite
of building a church on sand
upon which when the wind comes
and is able to blow that church down.
Jesus is the high priest
who oversees His Own Church.
He made this very clear when He used
a possessive pronoun -
“on this rock I will build MY church.”
and it is comforting to know that
“Hell shall not prevail against it.”
It is not like us to think that Hell did not win,
especially when Simon Peter was crucified
In fact, most of the disciples
The truth is our reward
is in Heaven, not upon this earth.
Since Peter is building Jesus’s church,
he will receive
“the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”
Perhaps Peter is like
a concrete mason,
who knows how to mix
water and earth
to make living stones.
I hear, it’s very hard work!
Peter’s work on the earth,
is directly related to what happens in Heaven.
“whatever you bind on earth
will be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth
will be loosed in heaven.”
At the time, prior to Jesus’s death,
“He commanded His disciples
not to tell no one
that He was Jesus the Christ.”
But, since the death, resurrection
and ascension of Jesus our Christ,
we have been commanded
to tell everyone about Him.
Last year, in 2020,
the Lord showed me Luke 12
as the scripture for this time.
It was overwhelming!
the Holy Spirit directed me to Luke 12:4-59,
and illuminated my mind.
Today, while reading Matthew 16,
He reminded me of the passage again,
This is the light that He continues to shed.
In Luke 12, Jesus said,
“I have come to set the world on fire,
and I wish it were already burning!
I have a terrible baptism
of suffering ahead of me,
and I am under a heavy burden
until it is accomplished.”
“Do you think I have come
to bring peace to the earth?
No, I have come to divide
people against each other!
From now on families will be split apart,
three in favor of me, and two against -
or two in favor and three against.
Father will be divided against son
and son against father;
mother against daughter
and daughter against mother;
and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
“Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said,
“When you see clouds beginning to form in the west,
you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’
And you are right.
When the south wind blows,
you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is.
You know how to interpret the weather signs
of the earth and sky,
but you don’t know how to interpret the present times.
“Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right?”
Jesus was talking about their lack
of having a spiritual barometer -
their lack of knowledge and understanding
regarding what God has said,
and acknowledgement of Jesus the Christ.
Then, in Matthew 16, I saw it again.
The scripture says,
“One day the Pharisees and Sadducees
came to test Jesus,
demanding that he show them
a miraculous sign from heaven
to prove his authority.
He replied, “You know the saying,
‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow;
red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’
You know how to interpret
the weather signs in the sky,
but you don’t know how
to interpret the signs of the times!
Only an evil, adulterous generation
would demand a miraculous sign,
but the only sign I will give them
is the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
Then Jesus left them and went away.”
You see, every day before getting out of bed.
I break my fast and have a gourmet,
spirit-filled breakfast with the Holy Spirit.
I grab my Bible, journal and pen,
or I use the Bible and Notes app on my phone,
and begin eating from the Word of the Lord.
It’s always filling
and brings me great satisfaction -
even when the words are hard.
You see, God in the flesh
was standing right in front
of the the religious leaders -
and yet they could not see Him.
They did not have revelation.
They knew the written Word of God
like the back of their hand,
and yet, they did not understand it.
They didn’t see what was predicted
by the Old Testament Prophets.
If they had, they would have seen
the Passover Lamb,
the Suffering Servant,
the Faithful Witness,
the Righteous Branch.
They would have acknowledged
the High Priest,
the Righteous King
and the Almighty Prophet.
They would have recognized Jesus as Lord
and they would have heard the Voice of God
call Jesus His beloved Son,
when He was being baptized by his cousin, John.
They would have noticed
the changes and transformations
that were taking place
in people’s lives all around them.
They would have known
He was healing people
and casting out demons -
all in the Name of Almighty God.
But they didn’t.
They could not see it
because Jesus did not match
Jesus was NOT who the religious leaders predicted.
He was not the kind of king they wanted.
He was not domineering and wealthy,
nor pompous and self-centered.
Rather He was about love and compassion,
and the reconciliation of all people.
Somewhere along the line,
humans changed the rules.
Many people abandon God and His Words,
long before He leaves us alone
and stops knocking at our door.
If you don’t believe
that God will turn away from you,
then go and read Romans Chapter 1.
It’s all there!
So now, let me ask you a question.
Do you believe that Jesus
came to divide men into those going to Heaven
and those going to Hell?
Do you believe that He had to suffer
a terrible baptism by blood
just so that He could save you from complete doom?
Do you understand
that God does not want anyone to perish,
but all to return to Him in repentance?
Do you know
there is a permanent separation
between Heaven and Hell?
If you don’t, then let me spell it out -
don’t be afraid of those
who want to kill your body;
they cannot do any more
to you after that.
But I’ll tell you whom to fear.
Fear God, who has the power
to kill you and then throw you into hell.
Yes, he’s the one to fear.”
Isn't it crazy how humans have twisted the truth!
So many Christians today
believe that since God is good,
everyone goes to Heaven.
But that is NOT what Jesus said!
Don’t we get it?
Our own religious leaders,
and so called “Christians”
have hearts bent on evil intent
because like the Pharisees-
they focus on the self,
rather than what the Word of God says.
Can you imagine
being so focused on your own truth,
that you spit in the face of God?
Can you imagine
how that makes the Father feel?
To know that He sacrificed
His beloved Son to redeem you,
and you say that his blood
was never needed!
Well, that is exactly what happens
when people try to be God -
just like Eve and Adam.
Let me skip ahead to Luke Chapter 16
to provide some scriptural evidence
for this poetic sermon.
“There was a certain rich man
who was splendidly clothed
in purple and fine linen
and who lived each day in luxury.
At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus
who was covered with sores.
As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps
from the rich man’s table,
the dogs would come
and lick his open sores.”
“Finally, the poor man died
and was carried by the angels
to sit beside Abraham
at the heavenly banquet.”
“The rich man also died and was buried,
and he went to the place of the dead.
There, in torment, he saw Abraham
in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.”
“The rich man shouted,
‘Father Abraham, have some pity!
Send Lazarus over here
to dip the tip of his finger
in water and cool my tongue.
I am in anguish in these flames.
But Abraham said to him,
‘Son, remember that during your lifetime
you had everything you wanted,
and Lazarus had nothing.
So now he is here being comforted,
and you are in anguish.
And besides, there is a great chasm
No one can cross over to you from here,
and no one can cross over to us from there.’
“Then the rich man said,
‘Please, Father Abraham,
at least send him to my father’s home.
For I have five brothers,
and I want him to warn them
so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
“But Abraham said,
‘Moses and the prophets have warned them.
Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
“The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham!
But if someone is sent to them from the dead,
then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
“But Abraham said,
‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets,
they won’t be persuaded
even if someone rises from the dead.”
You see, God is so good
that He put His Word
into the mouths of many humans!
He created prophets
to speak and write about
His past, present and future time events.
This way people would have a way to pay attention
to the changing patterns of the wind.
The truth is
every believer who has the Holy Spirit
living inside of them,
has the ability to do this.
But, many don’t.
The question I pose to you is “why not?”
Well, that’s a deep subject!
Perhaps we should take a deep dive into the heart.
After visiting Tyre and Sidon,
near the Sea of the Mediterranean,
Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee.
He must have been exhausted
because He climbed a hill and sat down.
“A vast crowd brought to him people
who were lame, blind, mute,
crippled, and many others.
They laid them before Jesus,
and he healed them all.”
The crowd was amazed!
The mute talked, the lame walked,
the crippled straightened up,
and the blind could see again.
And they praised the God of Israel.
Then Jesus called his disciples and told them,
“I feel sorry for these people.
They have been here with me for three days,
and they have nothing left to eat.
I don’t want to send them away hungry,
or they will faint along the way.”
This is the location in the story
where I need to add my interjection.
Jesus just returned from a long excursion
from a pagan nation
where he had to cast out a demon
of a Gentile woman.
He climbed a hill and sat down,
probably totally exhausted.
And crowds came to him,
bringing the people they love
so that he could heal them.
He continued to give,
and laid hands on them.
The outpouring of his love never stopped!
Then he thought of their hunger needs
and asked his disciples to feed them.
His compassion for others
has to be commended!
Not once did he think of himself.
His ability to keep on giving
is a never-ending outpouring of his love.
The disciples replied,
“Where would we get enough food
here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”
This story reminds me of Elijah
when he was hungry,
and the Lord told him to go
to the village of Zarephath,
near the city of Sidon (that was pagan)
where he would meet a widow
who would feed him.
"But when he got there,
feeling totally exhausted, she said,
“I swear by the Lord your God
that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house.
And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar
and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug.
I was just gathering a few sticks
to cook this last meal,
and then my son and I will die.”
Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid!
Go ahead and do just what you’ve said,
but make a little bread for me first.
Then use what’s left
to prepare a meal for yourself and your son.
For this is what the Lord,
the God of Israel, says:
There will always be flour and olive oil
left in your containers until the time
when the Lord sends rain
and the crops grow again!”
The woman did as Elijah said,
and she and Elijah and her family
continued to eat for many days.
There was always enough flour
and olive oil left in the containers,
just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.
1 Kings 17:8-16
Now let me return to Jesus.
“How much bread do you have?”
They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.”
So Jesus told all the people
to sit down on the ground.
Then he took the seven loaves
and the fish, thanked God for them,
and broke them into pieces.
He gave them to the disciples,
who distributed the food to the crowd.
They all ate as much as they wanted.
Afterward, the disciples picked up
seven large baskets of leftover food.
There were 4,000 men who were fed that day,
in addition to all the women and children.
Then Jesus sent the people home,
and he got into a boat
and crossed over to the region of Magadan.”
Not once did Jesus stop
when his ministry started,
even when he was exhausted.
He was always pouring out
healing and compassion -
which reminds me, once again,
of Elijah, the widow and her son.
“Some time later the woman’s son became sick.
He grew worse and worse, and finally he died.
Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God,
what have you done to me?
Have you come here
to point out my sins and kill my son?”
But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.”
And he took the child’s body
from her arms, carried him up the stairs
to the room where he was staying,
and laid the body on his bed.
Then Elijah cried out to the Lord,
“O Lord my God,
why have you brought tragedy
to this widow who has opened her home to me,
causing her son to die?”
And he stretched himself out over the child
three times and cried out to the Lord,
“O Lord my God,
please let this child’s life return to him.”
The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer,
and the life of the child returned, and he revived!
Then Elijah brought him down
from the upper room
and gave him to his mother.
“Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”
Then the woman told Elijah,
“Now I know for sure
that you are a man of God,
and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”
1 Kings 17:8-24
GIVING out of compassion
is an outpouring of God’s love,
and healing and restoration is the natural expression of it.
I pray to God that this poem is a blessing to someone.
This morning I woke up
with a heaviness on my heart.
Who knows? Maybe I’m just tired.
I grabbed my phone and began to read
Matthew 15, verses 21-28,
and guess what - the heaviness dissipated.
The Lord showed me the most glorious thing!
Come. Take a sniff.
I think you will be able to smell it!
“Jesus left Galilee and went north
to the region of Tyre and Sidon.”
Both cities were pagan. Both cities worshipped Baal -
and both cities were known
for their wickedness and witchcraft.
This is even the region where Jezebel came from.
And yet, so many beautiful things extended from them.
It's amazing how God will take
what was meant for evil and turn it into good.
This is the region where the cedar trees came from,
and the skilled stonemasons and carpenters
who built the Temple of God.
“A Gentile woman who lived there
came to him, pleading,
“Have mercy on me, O Lord,
Son of David!
My daughter is possessed
by a demon that torments her severely.”
Can you believe it?
From the mouth of the Sea of the Mediterranean,
came a Gentile woman seeking the help of Jesus.
“Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word.”
He did not answer.
“His disciples said, “Tell her to go away,”
“She is bothering us with all her begging.”
They had no compassion.
Jesus said to the woman,
“I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep -
the people of Israel.”
If this is true then why did Jesus go
to the cities of Tyre and Sidon?
Perhaps His Father had another plan in mind?
But the woman pressed in on Him.
“she came and worshiped him,
pleading again, “Lord, help me!”
And Jesus said,
“It isn’t right to take food from the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
This reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 7 -
about casting judgement.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred;
do not throw your pearls to pigs.
If you do, they may trample them under their feet,
and turn and tear you to pieces.”
The woman did not argue.
Instead she moved forward with effective prayer.
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.
Keep on seeking, and you will find.
Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives.
Everyone who seeks, finds.
And to everyone who knocks,
the door will be opened.”
She replied, “That’s true, Lord,
but even dogs are allowed to eat
the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
Wow! How did she know?
The Gentile woman knew what her natural rights were.
And this, my friend, is the moment
that pollination happened!
Jesus produced pollen
from the Fruit of the Spirit
and His very breath carried life
into the Gentile women.
“Dear woman,” Jesus said to her,
“your faith is great. Your request is granted.”
And her daughter was instantly healed.”
It’s God’s most prized tree in the Garden of Eden.
The Gentile woman and her daughter
were impregnated by the Word of God.
The curse was broken and the blessing began.
You gotta love Simon Peter -
Jesus’s disciple who seemed to be
a Rock head!
LOL! Laugh out loud!
There’s always one -
among family and and friends
who has to “figure it out on their own.”
And that is what Peter did,
with the help of God!
And once again,
it took three times!
This seems to be the number
that follows Peter around!
when re-reading Matthew 15,
I laughed out loud
when the Holy Spirit showed me
that Peter is a rock head!
It was Peter
who asked Jesus for clarification
when He said,
“It’s not what goes into your mouth
that defiles you; you are defiled
by the words that come out of your mouth.”
“Explain to us the parable that says
people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”
Jesus asked him,
“Don’t you understand yet?”
And I might add…
“I mean really Peter,
You are such a Rock Head!”
LOL! Laugh out loud!
Jesus laid it all out,
and gave the explanation,
“Anything you eat
passes through the stomach
and then goes into the sewer.
But the words you speak
come from the heart -
that’s what defiles you.
For from the heart
come evil thoughts,
all sexual immorality,
theft, lying, and slander.
These are what defile you.
Eating with unwashed hands
will never defile you.”
But obviously Peter didn’t get it!
Because later on, after Jesus returned to Heaven,
God had to put Peter into a trance
to give him a vision to reinforce the explanation
of what Jesus said.
Of all the disciples, Peter is the one
who seemed to be stuck
in cultural expectations and traditions
of the Old Testament that pointed to Jesus,
especially the ones that focused on food.
For some reason, Peter did not fully understand
that the old had passed away, and the new had come!
And because God is good,
He gave him a double dose of reinforcement!
You see, God became flesh,
and his name was Jesus.
It was He who first explained to Peter
what He meant when he said,
“it’s not what you put into your mouth,
but rather by what comes out of it.”
But that was not enough to do it!
In the Book of Acts, God had to put Peter
into a trance just so that He could prepare his heart
to be the vessel He needed to do His work.
The scripture says,
“Peter went up on a flat roof to pray.
It was about noon, and he was hungry.
But while a meal was being prepared,
he fell into a trance.
He saw the sky open up,
and something like a large sheet
was let down by its four corners.
In the sheet were all sorts of animals,
reptiles, and birds.
Then a voice said to him,
“Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.”
“No, Lord,” Peter declared.
“I have never eaten anything
that our Jewish laws have declared
impure and unclean.”
But the voice spoke again:
“Do not call something unclean
if God has made it clean.”
The same vision
was repeated three times.
Then the sheet was suddenly
pulled up to heaven.
Peter was very perplexed.
“What could the vision mean?”
Just as Peter was puzzling over the vision,
the Holy Spirit said to him,
“Three men have come. Get up, go downstairs,
and go with them without hesitation.
Don’t worry, for I have sent them.”
So Peter went down and said,
“I’m the man you are looking for.
Why have you come?”
“We were sent by Cornelius, a Roman officer
(that means a Gentile, not a Jew)
He is devout and a God-fearing man,
well respected by all the Jews.
A holy angel instructed him
to summon you to his house
so that he can hear your message.
The next day Peter went with them,
accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa.
They arrived in Caesarea the following day.
Cornelius was waiting for them
and had called together
his relatives and close friends.
As Peter entered his home,
Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him.
But Peter pulled him up and said,
“Stand up! I’m a human being just like you!”
Then Peter said,
“You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man
to enter a Gentile home like this
or to associate with you.
But God has shown me
that I should no longer think
of anyone as impure or unclean.
So I came without objection
as soon as I was sent for.
Now tell me why you sent for me.
Cornelius replied, “Four days ago
I was praying in my house
about this same time,
three o’clock in the afternoon.
Suddenly, a man in dazzling clothes
was standing in front of me.
He told me, ‘Cornelius,
your prayer has been heard,
and your gifts to the poor
have been noticed by God!
Now send messengers to Joppa,
and summon a man named Simon Peter.
He is staying in the home of Simon,
a tanner who lives near the seashore.’
So I sent for you at once,
and it was good of you to come.
Now we are all here, waiting before God
to hear the message the Lord has given you.”
Then Peter replied,
“I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism.
In every nation he accepts those who fear him
and do what is right.
This is the message of Good News
for the people of Israel
that there is peace with God
through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
You know what happened
throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee,
after John began preaching his message of baptism.
And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and with power.
Then Jesus went around
doing good and healing all
who were oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.
And we apostles
are witnesses of all he did
throughout Judea and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death
by hanging him on a cross,
but God raised him to life on the third day.
Then God allowed him to appear,
not to the general public,
but to us whom God had chosen
in advance to be his witnesses.
We were those who ate and drank with him
after he rose from the dead.
And he ordered us to preach everywhere
and to testify that Jesus
is the one appointed by God
to be the judge of all -
the living and the dead.
He is the one all the prophets testified about,
saying that everyone who believes in him
will have their sins forgiven
through his name.
Even as Peter was saying these things,
the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening
to the message.
The Jewish believers who came
with Peter were amazed
that the gift of the Holy Spirit
had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.
For they heard them speaking in other tongues
and praising God.
Then Peter asked,
“Can anyone object to their being baptized,
now that they have received
the Holy Spirit just as we did?”
So he gave orders for them to be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ.
Acts of the Apostles 10:9-48
By the way, there goes the doctrine
of having to be water baptized
before being able to have faith in Jesus
and being baptized by the Holy Spirit.
So there you have it!
Our God knows how to get our attention,
even when we are rock heads!
LOL! Laugh out Loud!
God has an amazing toolbox,
and uses all kinds of methods
and reinforcements to carry out His will.
And sometimes, even with all that He does -
we still don’t get it!
But because God is faithful,
even when we are not,
He will continue to correct us!
He will even send people to spread his message -
A great cloud of witnesses
who can testify to His greatness!
And that is what God did with Peter,
as He reinforced this message a third time!
When Peter started to slip
back into culture and tradition -
and doubt the Word of God,
God sent Paul.
In Galatians Chapter 2,
Paul approached Peter and confronted him
on his faith.
“When Peter came to Antioch,
I had to oppose him to his face,
for what he did was very wrong.
When he first arrived,
he ate with the Gentile believers,
who were not circumcised.
But afterward, when some friends of James came,
Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore.
He was afraid of criticism
from these people who insisted
on the necessity of circumcision.
As a result, other Jewish believers
followed Peter’s hypocrisy,
and even Barnabas
was led astray by their hypocrisy.
When I saw that they were not following
the truth of the gospel message,
I said to Peter in front of all the others,
“Since you, a Jew by birth,
have discarded the Jewish laws
and are living like a Gentile,
why are you now trying to make these Gentiles
follow the Jewish traditions?
“You and I are Jews by birth,
not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles.
Yet we know that a person
is made right with God
by faith in Jesus Christ,
not by obeying the law.
And we have believed in Christ Jesus,
so that we might be made right with God
because of our faith in Christ,
not because we have obeyed the law.
For no one will ever be made right with God
by obeying the law.”
But suppose we seek
to be made right with God
through faith in Christ
and then we are found guilty
because we have abandoned the law.
Would that mean Christ has led us into sin?
Rather, I am a sinner
if I rebuild the old system of law
I already tore down.
For when I tried to keep the law,
it condemned me.
So I died to the law - I stopped trying
to meet all its requirements -
so that I might live for God.
My old self has been crucified with Christ.
It is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me.
So I live in this earthly body
by trusting in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.
I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless.
For if keeping the law
could make us right with God,
then there was no need for Christ to die.”
Thank you God for your faithfulness!
And forgive us for our stubbornness!
Sometimes it takes more than one experience with you
to teach us the truth!
“For You alone are worthy, O Lord our God,
to receive glory and honor and power.
For you created all things,
and they exist because you created
what you pleased.”
Have you ever been offended
by the words or actions
of another person?
It doesn’t feel good, does it?
The truth often hurts.
I once read a book,
called the Bait of Satan,
written by a Pastor,
named John Bevere.
The book is about
one of Satan’s most deceptive traps
to get believers
out of the will of God.
The book was quite good.
I highly recommend it.
It made me think
about my own biases,
and my reactions
when someone says
something I don’t like.
I realized my being offended
brings on a victim mentality.
And that is not good.
Reading this book
also made me realize
there’s a spirit behind offense
and it’s not always
the spirit we think!
it’s the Holy Spirit -
The Spirit of Jesus.
The Spirit of Truth
who is teaching us
about God’s righteousness,
and not our own
You may be thinking,
“What does she mean?”
Well, let me me explain.
In Luke Chapter 17, verse 1
Jesus said, "It is impossible
that no offenses should come.”
And that is because the truth hurts
which is why it needs to be done - in love.
Being offended happens
when we focus in on
the speck in another person’s eye,
instead of paying attention
to the log in our own eye,
that is blinding our vision.
And none of this accomplishes
the mission outlined in Hebrews 12.
“Since we are surrounded
by such a huge crowd of witnesses
to the life of faith, let us strip off
every weight that slows us down,
especially the sin
that so easily trips us up.
And let us run with endurance
the race God has set before us.
We do this by keeping our eyes
focused on Jesus, the champion
who initiates and perfects our faith.
Because of the joy awaiting him,
he endured the cross,
disregarding its shame.
Now he is seated
in the place of honor
beside God’s throne.”
In Matthew 15, we see Jesus calling
the religious leaders and Pharisees
He uses this “offensive name”
over and over again,
as outlined in the gospels!
It’s God’s common reaction to mankind,
as outlined by the prophets of old!
So now, you understand
why Jesus said
there’s no chance in hell
that mankind won’t ever get offended?
It’s because the Spirit of Truth
is going to correct us,
or at least it should.
And this is also outlined in Hebrews 12.
I dare you to look!
Now that does not mean,
we as people,
should go around saying mean things
to hurt another person.
That’s just another form of sin!
Passing judgment without discernment
is not good!
In fact, it’s just a heart of evil intent!
Instead, followers of Christ
are called to speak the TRUTH IN LOVE.
And all that means
is that we must share
the Word of God, without changing it,
with compassion, to our fellow man.
Did you know
it's only God’s Word
that divides the intentions of the heart!
This is told in Hebrews 4:12.
called the religious leaders
a bunch of hypocrites,
“His disciples came to him and said,
“Do you realize
you offended the Pharisees
by what you just said?”
I just love how Jesus responded,
“Every plant not planted
by my heavenly Father
will be uprooted,
so ignore them.
They are blind guides
leading the blind,
and if one blind person
they will both fall into a ditch
(or the consuming fire).”
Jesus didn’t worry
about the religious leaders reactions,
or what anyone else thought of him.
He just said the truth.
And since God is the definition of love,
it was sent with love.
Jesus knows that those
who are not planted
into the Master’s garden
will be cut off,
eternal life with him.
He directed the disciples
to ignore them,
and their foolishness.
He said they are just
blind men leading the blind.
And the end result is each of them
falling into a ditch -
into utter darkness.
We can assume a spiritually awake person
will have a different ending
because their eyes are wide-open.
Thank God! That is good!
There is nothing better
than eternal life with Him.
So, here is what I have learned.
Speak the truth in love
which means share the Word of God,
in love, with compassion.
Share God's Word
despite what others may think.
Those who are in Christ
will hear the Spirit of Truth
and not hold onto offense
because they are being corrected
They will learn to release the bitterness
and reposition their eyes
to focus on Christ,
the author and perfecter of their faith.
But the person who chooses
to harbor offense, has been captured
by Satan’s snare.
Be careful not to stay there!
Learn to let it go!
Because this is where
the root of bitterness grows.
In Matthew Chapter 15,
Jesus gives the religious leaders
another rebuking for their hypocrisy.
But, once again,
it was the Pharisees who started it.
The scripture says,
“Some Pharisees and teachers
of the religious law
arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus.
They asked him,
“Why do your disciples
disobey our age-old tradition?
For they ignore our tradition
of ceremonial hand washing
before they eat.”
“And why do you,
by your traditions, violate
the direct commandments of God?
For instance, God says,
“Honor your father and mother,’
and ‘Anyone who speaks
disrespectfully of father or mother
must be put to death.’
But you say it is all right
for people to say to their parents,
‘Sorry, I can’t help you.
For I have vowed to give to God
what I would have given to you.’
In this way,
you say they don’t need to
honor their parents.
And so you cancel the word of God
for the sake of your own tradition.
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right
when he prophesied about you,
for he wrote,
‘These people honor me
with their lips, but their hearts
are far from me.
Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas
as commands from God.’”
What I love
most about this passage
is that Jesus defines what honor is.
Honor is not about following
all kinds of lofty rules.
Rather, honor is about
doing what’s right,
and having a weighted love
and bearing a heavy burden for your parents.
In this passage, Jesus makes clear
that a person should not forsake
taking care of their parents,
so they can give their money
just so they can give money to the church.
Jesus calls the religious leaders hypocrites,
which, by the way, seems to be
his favorite name for them!
Basically he says,
“you are worried about what people
put into their mouths,
when you really should be concerned
with how your words defile yourself.”
Which brings me to the word “submit”
as used in the scripture,
“Wives, submit yourselves
unto your own husbands,
as unto the Lord.”
The English word “submit”
comes from the Greek word “Hypotasso” -
which is a military term meaning
“to arrange troop divisions
in a military fashion
under the command of a leader.”
However, in non-military use, it means
“to have a voluntary attitude of giving in,
cooperating, assuming responsibility,
and carrying a burden.”
Blue Letter Bible
Doesn’t the non-militant use
sound much like “honor”,
as Jesus described
in taking care of
ones mother and father?
This beautiful analysis
also reminds me
of what Jesus promised,
in Matthew 11,
“Come to me, all of you
who are weary
and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you.
Let me teach you,
because I am humble
and gentle at heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy to bear,
and the burden I give you is light.”
Boy, humans sure know how
to make a mess of things!
It’s such a shame
that we twist God’s truth,
by creating a play on of words.
Love, for instance,
has become humanistic.
We think that the evolution of man
has created emotional intelligence.
When it’s really the other way around.
God is love.
Love does not come
from the center of us.
God created humans
to reflect His image -
to be like trees in the garden of Eden,
bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
So, you might say,
why did Paul call a husband
the head of the wife?
Doesn’t that mean
he should dominate her?
Good God! No!
Don’t you remember
what happened in the garden?
“God created Adam (human)
in his own image.
In the image of God
he created them (humans),
male and female he created them.”
“Then God blessed them and said,
“Be fruitful and multiply.
Fill the earth and govern it.
Reign over the fish in the sea,
the birds in the sky,
and all the animals
that scurry along the ground.”
male and female,
to govern the planet.
Together, they were to take care
of the earth and each other.
“The Lord God placed the man
in the Garden of Eden
to tend and watch over it.
Then the Lord God said,
“It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a helper
who is just right for him.”
So the Lord God caused the man
to fall into a deep sleep.
While the man slept,
the Lord God took out
one of the man’s ribs
and closed up the opening.
Then the Lord God made a woman
from the rib,
and he brought her to the man.
This explains why a man
leaves his father and mother
and is joined to his wife,
and the two are united into one.”
Genesis 2:15, 18, 21-22, 24
You see, I believe this is what Paul meant
when he talked about
the husband and wife relationship
under the direction of the Holy Spirit
in the letter to the Ephesians.
There is no power or dominion
of one over the other.
In fact, there is nowhere in scripture
that says any man or woman
should abuse one another.
Even the militant version
only suggests order.
Let’s look closer
at how Paul summarizes this topic:
“As the Scriptures say,
“A man leaves his father and mother
and is joined to his wife,
and the two are united into one.”
This is a great mystery,
but it is an illustration
of the way Christ and the church
are one. So again I say,
each man must love his wife
as he loves himself,
and the wife must respect
her husband (as she respects herself).
love and respect
are elements of honor.
They both represent
how we should treat another person.
And we must remember
“We are all children of God
through faith in Christ Jesus.
And all who have been
united with Christ in baptism
have put on Christ,
like putting on new clothes.
There is no longer Jew or Gentile,
slave or free, male and female.
For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
it's only the life
that exists without Christ
that has a selfish mindset.
This has to be where slavery comes from.
Where one person makes up a reason
to become an oppressor,
and tries to intimidate and dominate
and enslave another human.
This type of behavior is absolutely demonic,
and it does not belong in the Church at all.
As followers of Christ,
we have to be careful
not to allow
that type of mindset
into the Body of Christ,
especially from our leaders,
because then we would just be
sheep among wolves.