Satan (sa’-tun) The adversary (part II)

A Call to Arms by J.D. Glass

I wrote a post about the devil several weeks ago.  Someone wanted more, so here it is.  If you know your enemy, you have a good chance of defeating him.  And I would go as far to say that no one except the devil is your enemy.  People just need to be understood, not shot with bullets.  The bible says, that we do not battle against flesh and blood but against spirits and principalities of this present darkness.

Is that to say that we should not defend ourselves when it comes down to self defense?  Of course not.  There was a woman, an 18 year old single mother, who recently shot a man who entered her home mid-night just to protect herself and her three month old infant. She called 911 and received permission to use her 12 gauge on him once he entered her door.  Sometimes there is no alternative to violence.  But usually, there is a peaceful solution.

I also read a write-up about a fifteen year old boy who was suspected to be a part of the Mexico drug cartel wars wielding a pellet gun in his middle school.  He was shot and killed by officers.  I was disgusted.  Was he stupid and most likely high?  Yes.  Did he deserve to have his life taken?  No.  Police have non-lethal detaining methods at their disposal such as rubber bullets and bean bags.  That boy could have been given another chance.  He had a problem that could have been helped with the right methods.  It’s a shame.

So who is the devil?  He is the tempter and accuser of mankind.  He is the prosecuting attorney in heaven’s high court and we are the defendants.  Here’s how it works:

The devil suggests a sin into our minds by whispering in our ears.  Then when we act on it he condemns us for our weakness.  Then he goes before the Holy One and tells him what rotten people we are.  He says that he was thrown out of paradise for less than what we did.  But God isn’t fooled.  He is a forgiving, loving God who will never leave or forsake his children when they submit to him and resist the devil.  But on the other hand, Jesus said, “Don’t sin again or something worse might happen to you (something you may never recover from).”

Temptation in this world puts us in constant jeopardy.  If we sin we’re punished; if we resist temptation, we suffer mental anguish until it passes.  Life’s hard all around.  But we were never promised an easy existence; rather, a worthwhile one when we act in accordance with the rules of wisdom.

What does the devil want?  He wants to be like God.  He is the leader of the rebel angels and is served by them; in other words, they are subject to him like the holy angels are subject to the God of heaven.  He accomplished that, so what else does he want?  He needs people to serve him like God has people serving him.

That said, Satan wants to be worshiped and adored.  But he’s never satisfied.  He will always try to lead God’s children astray like an adulterer who derives pleasure from stealing kisses from unfaithful, weak people (which can be anyone).  There are people that will never fall away from the gospel’s truth, but temptation is as real as death and we are always in jeopardy of falling into sin.

When Jesus was praying in the Garden prior to being betrayed by Judas Iscariot, do you know what he told his disciples every time he took a break to check on them?  He said, “How is it that you could not stay awake and pray with me?  You should be praying not to fall into temptation.”

Why is prayer such a powerful weapon against the spiritual forces that have their claws in man’s world?  I don’t know.  But from experience, I know it works wonders.  There have been nights that I’ve been so alone that the only thing I had was prayer.  Prayer has saved me from an early grave through God’s kindness, forgiveness and grace more times than once.

What does the devil fear?  He fears people who are alive with the spirit of love.  When you are walking around with sunshine beaming from your eyes and a song in your heart the devil starts getting nervous.  He hates it when the people’s faith begins to grow.  Faith grows like any other muscle.  The more we exercise our faith, which is a painful/sometimes scary exercise, the bigger and stronger it becomes.

I have been careful not to write anything insulting or inflammatory against the Evil One. Why?  It’s because he’s as real as you and me.  I’ve made the mistake of underestimating his reach by saying flip comments about him when I was just beginning to learn about his role in the universe.  And every time I did so, I was regretful because that’s when things started getting out of hand in really bizarre ways.

I read in the bible that the angel Michael was confronting Satan over a particular incident and said nothing more than, “The Lord rebuke you.”.  There is no need to say anything that will make your enemy hate you more than he does by annoying him with petty insults. The devil is a powerful force of evil in the world and it pays to respect the things we don’t understand.

How can we defeat Satan as a unified race of people?  Let’s look at the past hundred years. Over the past century, man has been coming together.  From radio to television, phones and the world wide web, planes, trains and automobiles… we have been shrinking the world one generation at a time.  Love is the answer to defeating the Evil One.  When we learn to love each other and heal the hurts of the past, the world will lose its grip on mankind and the Spirit of freedom will take its place.

Amen.

 

 

 

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Gratitude

An address by J.D. Glass

Gratitude is a game you play.  Just as there is always something to worry about, there is always something to be grateful for.  You have good reason to be hopeful. Change happens; the trick is being prepared for it when the time of change comes.

I used to buy little things I knew I didn’t need yet in order to keep me motivated along the way.  I remember buying myself a set of matching bath towels for an apartment I thought I’d never get to move into.  I didn’t have the means to move out of my parents house because I got a journalism degree from college that didn’t provide me with any immediate career opportunities.  I finally decided, after two years as a gas station manager, that I should go to graduate school.

I worked as an English teacher for five years as well as a newspaper columnist and was able to buy my own house.  The towels went to good use after all.  If you have a desire deep down inside, chances are that you will see it happen.  Destiny is a strange thing in that it’s next to impossible to miss it.  It’s like trying to avoid a F-5 hurricane- it’s coming, ready or not.  So batten down the hatches, your desires will be fulfilled when you do your part.

I remember purchasing a beautiful Disney children’s book at a flea market in college that had exquisite reproduced artwork from over twenty Disney classic films. At that time I didn’t have a girlfriend, no less a fiance.  But I bought the book on faith that the time would come where I’d get married and start having kids.  Eight years and three moves later, that dream came true.  In fact, it happened suddenly.  Here’s how that occurred:

My wife and I were introduced on a blind date.  I was impressed with her.  She was unlike any woman I’d ever met.  But we were both starting new jobs and decided to give one another space to pursue our careers.  We’d speak occasionally, but we only saw each other a few times before the relationship faded into memory.  Nevertheless, I always thought about her when the picture of us would pop up on my screen-saver.  I sensed great potential and didn’t want to move too fast at risk of losing her completely.

Then one afternoon at the end of the school year she called me to let me know that she was moving.  I invited her over for dinner.  It was love at first site second time around, and six months later we were married.  All that mattered was the present, and I was happy.  I had no intention of letting her go a second time.

Truth is that we just don’t know what’s in store for us right around the bend.  When we got home from our honeymoon, we discovered that we were with child.  So in fifteen months, I went from being a bored bachelor to being a married dad.  It doesn’t happen much more suddenly than that.

Is that to say there wasn’t bumps?  Of course not.  Life’s not about riding a smooth highway; rather, it’s about equipping your ride with the world’s most durable suspension. Marrying my wife and having children was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

So why is this post entitled gratitude?  Basically, I’m grateful to you for giving me someone to share my ideas and opinions with.  Even the critical comments have their merits and help me understand the needs of the people better.  In the past week I went from getting between 10 and 20 comments a day to getting between 150 and 200 comments a day.

Biblical insight ministries is a grass roots movement to pursue positivity in a negatively charged world.  It’s my sole ambition to get the media’s downward spiral of sex, lies and violence focused on something more long lasting.  I want to promote love, peace and common sense.

We are living in a time of revolution much like the 1960′s.  History’s repeating itself.  It’s time that we hand the power over to the people who care about things like civility and good conduct.  The revolution may not be televised, but it’s impact will be felt.  And at the end of the day, by focusing on what’s positive, we can make a dent; our voices will be heard.

I remember reading a sign in a fellow teachers classroom that said, “Do not doubt that a small group of diligent and concerned citizens can change the world; in fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  It’s our time now.  God bless.

 

 

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Those Darn Dues

A message by J.D. Glass

We all have dues to pay, but it helps to think of those dues as an investment in your future.  If you’re frustrated with life, take inventory.  Ask yourself, “What am I doing to pursue my heart’s desire?”.  Pursuing your heart’s desire is a godly act.  If you don’t know what your heart’s desire is, that’s okay.  Finding out what you want in life is a lot like discovering who you are in Christ.  Both take time, thought, and prayer.

Ambitious people will always struggle.  They’ll have victories and achieve some version of self actualization; nevertheless, soon thereafter they will be on a new level of accomplishment that will be unfamiliar and difficult.  This keeps them humble.  If you’re a victorious person with a lot of wins under your belt, you will most likely be humble because you know what it took to get you there and how hard it was for you.

Don’t be afraid of failure.  People who are successful have failed many more times than they’ve succeeded.  Thomas Edison’s attitude about failure was unique.  On inventing the light bulb he said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times, I discovered 1,000 ways that didn’t work.”.

It pays to have a lighthearted approach.  If you’re overly intense, chances are that you’ll burn yourself out; you won’t go the distance.  It’s a lot about pacing.  Jesus said, “Relax, and cheer up.  In this life there will be troubles and persecution, but be brave!  I have overcome the world.”  Edison was a smart businessman as well as an inventor, he allowed himself the luxury to fail in the pursuit of greatness.  I don’t know if he read Jesus’ words regularly, but he must have known them somehow because it takes a godly approach to fail at something that many times without giving up on it.

There are no limits in God; no one can say that he’s reached the top of what’s possible.  God is infinite which means that even in eternity, no one can say that they’ve caught up with God, mentally, spiritually or in power.  Jesus told his disciples that no servant can be better than his master.  But we can continue to become more like our master for an eternity, experiencing higher levels of joy and hope as we progress.  But a word of caution: For every joy there is a pain that precedes it.  You can’t buy success with a credit card.

In his book, Think Like a Champion, Donald Trump states that he doesn’t judge his success by his fiscal worth.  He doesn’t get it when people tell him that he’s set for life.  Life’s not about money according to Trump, it’s about learning.   He goes on to write that he is constantly trying to better himself and is always taking on new challenges for the fun, excitement, and joy it brings him.  Without his thirst for knowledge and self improvement, he wouldn’t be the man he is.  The fact that he’s rich, financially speaking, is a matter of course.  What made Trump a billionaire can work for you too.  All you need is a burning desire to accomplish your dreams.

I would say that if you have a burning desire to make a lot of money that you will find a way of doing that too.  The problem with that desire is that it’s too abstract and most people will resort to dishonest and unfair ways of making that dream come true.  Robber barons didn’t care who got hurt so long as they made a buck.  The mentality of an opportunist is, “As long as I don’t get caught, I’m not wrong.”  The bible tells us that the love of riches is the root of all evil.  But if you’re truest desire is to do something amazing with your brief time on this earth, God will bless you and you’ll go to bed with a clean conscience; you’ll be a mental millionaire.

Getting back to the topic of dues…  I once heard a teacher I worked with say that her only saving grace has been her complete and absolute absence of ambition.  That comment fascinated and puzzled me until recently.  Finally I figured out what she meant.  Without ambition, a person doesn’t have to worry about fighting their way to the next level for their whole life.  She’s totally content making $40,000 grand a year performing on a mediocre level.  She does enough not to get fired and she’ll retire and have a decent pension.  How nice it would be to sit beside a babbling brook for your whole life, not a care in the world.  But I’m not wired that way.

In Boy Scouts, I wanted to become an Eagle Scout in record time.  But there is a timetable that must be adhered to which forced me to wait and experience the Boy Scouts and just be.  God lays us down in green pastures.  He knows when we’re in error.  You can overdo it and if you overdo it too often, it will make you sick.  But balance is elusive.  While I made it through my first ranks as fast as possible, I didn’t make Eagle Scout until the last minute before my 18th birthday.  Go figure.

I think of the song lyric by Linkin Park, “In the end it doesn’t even matter how hard you try…”  Solomon made that very clear in Ecclesiastes when he outwardly rejected himself for working so hard on all the projects that he undertook.  He forgot his reason for doing what he was doing and lost himself in the pleasures of the world.

Balance is so necessary.  If you work hard, then you have to rest and get away from it all from time to time.  Don’t be too good or too bad.  You can be too righteous.  If you’re being too pious, God recognizes that as a sin in itself.  Which is the reason he allowed Satan to torment Job in the bible.  And don’t forget that babbling brook my old colleague constantly dwells by.

She doesn’t try at all.  That’s far from a put down.  I kind of envy her.

 

Amen.

 

 

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Believe in Yourself

A message from J.D. Glass

This message is for all of us who suffer from doubts that come from within, for all of us who have frowned on our own mistakes.  This message is for all who struggle. Just because you suffer doesn’t mean you’re forsaken.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Apostle Paul and all the prophets were treated like the earth’s scum for the advancement of God’s cause.

The bible tells us that we become what we think of ourselves.  Think about what you want. It’s like riding a motorcycle.  Focus on where you want the bike to go, not on falling.  Keep a level head and focus on your success.  Will you fall?  Yes.  But Jesus is waiting to pick you back up and put you on level ground.

Some people’s brains get cramped from thinking two positive thoughts in a row.  After suffering a long life of abuse, negativity comes more natural than positivity.  For people who fall into the abused category, you are called by God to overcome.  There are so many successful people who have gotten out of their own way by believing in the power of their dreams.

But I’m not here to say that if you use positive thinking alone that you will be successful.  I might be positive of my ability to slam dunk over Michael Jordan in his prime, but unless I’ve built up to that goal and have the natural ability to compete in that arena, I’m setting myself up for a disappointment.

Figure out what you like and what you’re good at and then figure out how to get somebody to pay you for it.  That’s harder than it sounds.  Unless you’re second generation Hollywood royalty, you won’t just step into the leading role of the next blockbuster motion picture.  What I’m saying the secret to success is is staying focused and positive in the face of adversity.

You might be the best actor in your community, but that’s like being a big fish in a small pond.  Jim Carey lived in his car when he was trying to get noticed, but even though he stayed positive and focused on his journey to stardom, he had to have had his doubts when he was shivering under a blanket in the back of his car on cold and rainy nights.

The road to success is not a straight line upwards; rather, it’s an up and down squiggly line that feels like a tragic roller coaster half the time.  No one is going to roll out the red carpet for you just because you have a dream.  Being realistic is necessary.  No one learns to surf on tidal waves.  Certainly, some may learn on six or eight footers, but not tidal waves. Surfing the big ones takes conditioning.

That’s where so many people give up.  Conditioning or discipline is essential.  You will always have to put more in than you’ll get back.  Think of yourself as a business.  You must have the business sense to know that investing time and sweat into yourself is necessary to seeing yourself flourish and grow.

Thomas Edison says that success is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. But the end result is living the dream.  Think about your prosperity pragmatically.  You can waste your life in a secure cage, or take a few calculated risks for the sake of achieving glorious success.  You can do anything you set your mind to.

The pain of discipline goes away after you’re trained.  There are two conditions to be in: trained and untrained.  There are so many ways that you can train yourself.  Ask God for his guidance.  He will give you homework if you’re open to his promptings.  It took me two years to write 365 Days of Biblical Insight.  I can’t express what an experience taking on a major project like that was for me.

I learned so much about the bible just by throwing myself into the concordance and reading and writing.  It took two years and I got it published with Tate Publishing House soon after finishing it.  It took me nine years to write Kept, a series of novels.  And I’m still working on getting it published by a major house.  I’ve got several rejections coming my way before I finally get my yes!  But I believe in the product and know that someday I’ll achieve my dream of being a writer/director.

I’m already half way there.  But how did I get even half way to my goal?  I worked as an English teacher for 8 years.  I worked as a journalist for five years and have done a lot of reading and writing on the side.  While I was working on the Kept series, I was an English teacher because that taught me how all the classics were written, and because I had to be able to make authors like Hemingway, Poe, Homer, Shakespeare and Fitzgerald relevant to teenagers, I was able to dissect their writing styles for my own use.

Every little step counts for something.  It’s our job to extract meaning from those little baby steps.  We may not know the meaning along the way, but after a time, we will be able to look back on our training and see that every aspect of that phase was meant to bring us closer to our God-given callings.

Amen.

 

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Keep Keeping On!

A message by J.D. Glass

Continuing on in the face of adversity takes courage, character and faith.  The bible tells us that faith without works is dead, but works without faith is just as useless.  Faith without works is like an individual who has the faith that tells him he is going to win a million dollars from the lotto but doens’t think he actually has to buy a ticket.  God will do what we can’t, but in most cases, God will not do something we’re fully capable of doing ourselves.

Just about all of us, from time to time, are guilty of expecting something from God that we’re not even pursuing.  It can be a healing for our bodies, but if you refuse to go to the doctor, you’re putting God to the test and the bible tells us not to do that (except in the case of tithing found in the book of Malachi).  If you really want to acquire your desire, you’re eventually going to have to do something about it.

My ”lottery ticket” is getting my novels published.  The publishing world is insanely competitive so I followed Solomon’s advice and collected as much guidance as I could before stepping up to the plate.  I put off writing the novel’s synopsis for a year (a synopsis is required by most editors to be considered for publication).  It took nine years to write the novel, and I couldn’t wrap my head around the synopsis.  Finally I figured it out.  And during that time, God was working on me, preparing me for a breakthrough.

Take your time.  There’s no rush.  If you’re afraid of failure, and that’s what’s keeping you from actively pursuing your dream, I wouldn’t put it past God to set you up for a failure that would teach you to never be afraid of failing again.  It’s an “Ouch!  Hallelujah!!”  Ouch… Hallelujahs’s are good for you.  They’re also called learning a lesson the hard way.  If you have to learn a lesson the hard way, it’s not so bad.  I learned my most valuable lessons the hard way.  The good thing about the painfully earned victory is that you’ll never forget it, and you’ll be forever grateful.

I’d guess that God wants us to be 50% faith and 50% works on average.  Of course there are the miracles that require 100% faith, but on average once you achieve an inner balance between faith and works, there is very little you won’t be able to accomplish through Christ.

 

 

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Rock Bottom Makes for a Sound Foundation

An Insight by J.D. Glass

“Eli, Eli lema sabachthani?” means “My God, My God, why did you abandon me?”. Those words were spoken, as many of you know, by Jesus.   Even though Christ knew no sin, he became sin so that all who call upon his name might be saved.

Instead of winning the war against sin and death by the sword, Jesus won the war by surrendering to forces he could have easily destroyed with a single command. He could have led 12 armies of angels into battle with enough power to wipe out mankind in a matter of hours.  But that’s not what happened.  This post is meant to help you better understand the power of letting go and letting God work in your life.

God likes to prepare his people for the worst, which can leave us feeling empty, unloved and forsaken.  That’s a terrible feeling.  But God isn’t a cruel or terrible God, he just understands us better than we understand ourselves and knows full well which areas inside us need tweaking and when.  God’s timetable is beyond our understanding which is why he asks that we trust him.

An Old Testament illustration of three men who were facing a terrible fate were Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego.  They refused to follow the king’s orders because they had higher orders from God to remain pure in God’s sight by not doing certain things.  They were sentenced to death for their faithfulness to God’s command.  Verses 3:16 – 18 says, “Your majesty, we will not try to defend ourselves.  If the God whom we serve is able to save us from the blazing furnace and from your power, then he will.  But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty may be sure that we will not worship your god…”

They were so sure of their orders from God that they weren’t going to even consider compromising.  And God rescued them with an angel who kept them from burning alive in the furnace.  But they were willing to die because they knew what would be awaiting them on the other side of death-paradise.

As much as we’d all like to avoid suffering and grief, Jesus said, “In this life you will have trouble, but be brave!  I have overcome the world.”  Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we have the privilege of throwing our concerns to God and that frees us up to do the best we can regardless of how terrible our circumstances appear.

Looking at Paul, you’ll see that he kept the faith through persecutions until death.  In Romans 5:3-5 he writes, ‘We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope. This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.’

The book of Job prepares us for the worst.  Imagine losing everything: children, livestock, shelter etc..  It’s inconceivable the grief that Job felt.  But it took him two weeks before he got angry at God.  The bible tells us that that’s when Job’s true character was revealed.  All his holiness was false.  He was righteous in his own sight.  Which meant that prior to his fall, he thought that he and God were equals.

I think that’s why God permitted Satan to teach Job a lesson.  God could have allowed Job to continue on in his happy routine for the rest of his life, but because God loved Job he made him suffer great agony.  The Lord works in mysterious ways.  How is it that he showed his great compassion and love for his servant Job by making him suffer?  It’s because Job needed to be set free from his misconceptions about his life.

Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom for us to really appreciate life.  I’ve lost important things in life, but nothing that I didn’t get back later on.  And if I didn’t get it back, I realized that it was doing more harm than good in my life anyhow.  While losing a power struggle with Life is disheartening, we stand to gain it all back and more in the future.

 

 

 

 

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Trials and Tribulations

A Reminder by J.D. Glass

Last night I wrote a poem called “Broken”.  The point of the poem is to mention the fight we all struggle with as human beings in a fallen world.  All people are stuck between a rock and a hard place.  If we sin, we are punished by God.  If we don’t sin, we still face trouble because the bible tells us that “MANY” are the tribulations of the righteous.

Life is a fight for survival.  Some of us prosper financially, but that does not make anyone exempt from trouble.  My niece has been dangerously close to death since birth.  She’s been to the most skilled physicians in the country and is now recovering from a lung operation.  If we were to lose her, the pain and suffering caused by that would not be repaid by any amount of gold.

While life is a fight, God also makes it precious for those who seek him.  There is a division in the church that condemns “prosperity” doctrine.  I don’t have a view one way or another.  I’d rather be prosperous than poor, but on the other hand, I’d rather struggle with finances than to be a scoundrel that makes money at the expense of others.

Solomon wrote that reverence for God, wisdom and knowledge are more valuable than gold.  Jesus sent out his apostles with nothing to perform the work of the Lord except the power he gave them, and they lacked nothing they needed.  God says that the birds of the sky don’t make plans for the future and yet are provided for; how much more valuable than a bird are we?  Of course God will provide for us.  We just need more faith and less unbelief.

I’ve faced financial scares, but have never been without the essentials.  A roof over my head, job prospects, the word of God, Church, and my public library have always helped ease the burdens I face every day.  No one is righteous, and if you find someone who says they’re truly righteous like Jesus, you’re talking to someone with a pride problem.

Pride is a sign of our own strength.  A fleeting strength that leaves us as our bodies age.  With age, maturation and growth, the more an individual realizes how much they need God.  It becomes easier to admit our flaws.  God cannot heal us of our sins when we hide them from ourselves.  Telling ouselves that we are sinless is no more effective than telling ourselves that we can jump over the Sears Tower.  It’s impossible to entirely sinless, but it’s something we can continuously work toward.

Amen.

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Promised Land

A Song by J.D. Glass

I suffer a brokenness words cannot express.

I borrow from every breath a sustenance to continue.

Hemmed in between the Red Sea and a pursuing army, I look up.

I see the face of God.

I no longer see peril, but promise.

My brokenness is repaired.

I press on over dry sand between walls of waves.

Behind me the army is consumed; ahead of me lies the promised land.

The Promised Land is where I’m going.

400 years of slavery is in the past.

Life has just begun.

The Lord gives and the Lord takes.

He put us in bondage; He set us free.

If God spared not his only begotten son, how much less can we expect preferential treatment?

We are not in control; control is an illusion.

But God is good.

What he lets us endure he gives us the strength.

He tests our hearts so that he may know our intentions.

The test won’t last forever; life is temporary- beautiful heaven awaits!

Make the most out ouf your every breath; tomorrow is not guaranteed, yesterday is gone, all we have is now.

To die to your own wants and desires requires suffering.  God doens’t mind if your prosperous, but he won’t give you anything you cannot handle.  Here is a secret: the ambitous will suffer more than the content.  The more you ask for, the more suffering you’ll go through.

Why?

The more you ask for, the more God will have to hammer out of you.  God is the potter, we are the clay.  If you want to be jewel quality, the more work God is going to have to do in you.

What’s involved?

To be a finished product we all go through the boring routines of the potter’s wheel.  It seems like life is just one big routine.  Then we get put into the fire to dry.

That hurts.

Then we get painted.

Then we get put on a shelf.

The shelf is a discouraging place because we feel ready, but God says, “Not yet.  If you want to experience glory, you’re going to have to suffer.  My favorite playwright wrote in Death of a Salesman, “The only thing that’s saved me is the fact that I don’t care about anything.”  Personally, I came to a point where I didn’t want to care anymore, but I just couldn’t help but be torn apart by my love for others.  I think that being jaded is a survival mechanism that doesn’t have any long term pay off.

I want a big paycheck from God.

Survival is essential, but glory is what I want.  The more you want, the bigger a dent you make, the more you’ll suffer.  Salvation came to the world through the Jews.  The Jews are the most powerful people and the most afflicted people of all time.  To whom much is given, much is required.

Amen

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Enough is as Good as a Feast

A Sermon Written by J.D. Glass

Being free from want is the truest wealth.  Your net worth is nothing compared to your personal satisfaction with the life God has given you.  As long as you have comfortable shelter with minor luxuries, good food, and love, you are already wealthy.  You don’t need anything more.

But that’s not what the media promotes.  We live in a bloated consumer economy, in which too much is never enough.  But the truth is that when you settle for life’s simple pleasures, you’ll never be poor.  But, on the other hand, if you are determined to have everything you think you want as soon as you can get it, you’ll never be happy.  Deuteronomy 32:15 says, ‘The Lord’s people grew rich, but rebellious; they were fat and stuffed with food.  They abandoned God their Creator and rejected their mighty savior.’ 

In the Gospel of John Jesus says that God’s the Gardener and Jesus is the vine.  So what are we?  We are the branches of the vine.  Without a connection to the vine, we will be able to do nothing.  And that’s like being a sitting duck.  We are made to be productive.  God’s the hardest working being in the Universe and we are made in his image.  There is an inborn need inside every man to be productive.  And to be productive we must remain grafted into the vine (Jesus).

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.  Did you know that a person could be poisoned by drinking too much water?  It’s a fact.  How much more then can a person overdo extravagance?  The deceptiveness of riches can ruin a man.  The entire world’s economy can implode at any time, and if your faith is in worldly wealth, how terrible a crash that would be.

As for me and my family, we focus on loving one another and taking advantage of the public library, public parks and extended family.  Riches are nice, but even when I was prospering with thousands of disposable income, not living paycheck to paycheck, I was no happier than I am now.

Today, I am barely making ends meet, but with God as my provider, I am not stressed about falling short.  I’m reminded of Jesus’ disciples going out two by two into the towns of Israel rebuking demons and healing the sick.  Jesus sent them out without money or spare clothes.  When the disciples returned Jesus asked, “Did you lack anything?”  The disciples answered, “No, we had all we needed.”

There are so many ways God can provide for us.  I used to worry about finances.  But after losing my house in the 2008 market bust, I’ve been relying on God more than ever.  And even though I tasted defeat, I am recovering my wealth just as God promised.

It pays to look at what you gained from your experiences after they’re taken from you.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes.  God truly knows what he’s doing.  Where things start going wrong is when we fight him tooth and nail to keep what he’s trying to take from us.  He’s always trying to do something new, and it’s up to us to cooperate with Him so that the transition is as smooth as can be.

Ask yourself what you want.  If you want to be rich by the world’s standards, there is nothing wrong with that goal.  But make sure that it’s a balanced wealth.  Giving to the poor, visiting prisoners, and being kind are what will keep you financially sound.  If you’re a mercenary, and all you care about is money, you’ll find yourself disillusioned and broke someday.

Amen.

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Perfect Balance

Written By J.D. Glass

Your energy is like money, only more valuable.  Energy can help you attain great wealth, and without it, you won’t even be able to keep the job you have, no less be able to pursue other streams of income.  Proper diet and exercise, reasonable expectations of yourself, consistent sleep patterns, and common sense are all necessary to maintaining your energy.  Maintaining an even flow of energy is what this post is about.  This is about staying balanced.

A few years ago I came up with a theory to help me make sense of life.  I called it the cyclical stress succession.  Basically, the cyclical stress succession is a circular rotation we all go through.  Life is circular, and depending on the extent of what you’re willing to take on, determines the size of your circle.  The bigger your circle, the bigger your prize.  But that also means you’ll need more muscle to get through it.  It’s a give and take scenario.

Think of your individual circle like a metaphorical wave you’re surfing.  Some can only handle three footers, while there are those who successfully surf 90 foot tidal waves and come through the other side knowing a rare form of glory.  Others die trying.  Biting off more than you can chew isn’t always a bad thing, but it pays to calculate the risk prior to engaging in something.  Forewarned is forearmed.

Life’s about growing through the seasons.  I recently heard the saying, “Pain is inevitable; growth is optional.”  Every time you get a pain in your gut when faced with some new challenge, measure the work required against your ability to get the job done.  If you think you have enough energy to do the work, you’ll be unhappy if you don’t put forth an effort. Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Are you willing to work?  Willingness is the starting line.  But it’s through experience (the cyclical stress succession) where we build our spiritual muscles and become able.  Once we’re trained, the bible tells us in Isaiah that the farmer (God) doesn’t till the soil forever; instead, he gets the soil right and starts growing crops!

Maybe you feel like God’s been tilling your soil for the past eight years.  It might have taken him that long to get you to let go of the past, and be prepared for what he has in store for your future.  The more we embrace the present day, without over-exerting ourselves, the faster we’ll advance.

I’ve gone through several cycles just to realize that I need to balance my efforts.  New challenges are addictive to me.  I get sucked in and start thinking my energy is limitless because God has supplied me with the strength to do the task.  Then I begin to overdo things.  I have to be really cautious to balance work with rest.  I’m entering another set of waves this coming week.  Say a prayer for me, and I’ll say one for you.

Amen.

 

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