First we must determine what “good” means. It is a common assumption that people make usually when someone passes away, regardless of their standing or religious belief. If they believe that person was a “good” person, surely they will be rewarded in heaven. According to the Bible, this is inaccurate on the principles of: who determines what is “good”, how do they define what is “good”, and how do you know if the good was desirable for a reward to Heaven?
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Luke 18:19
Jesus Himself, son of God, said that even He was not “good”, only God alone is good and God alone can than decide what is good and what is not. that is a very humbling statement. The son of God did not consider himself good, than who am I to think I am worthy of anything?
Man can not determine what is deemed good and what is not because we are not the judge, nor the creator. Our arbitrary visions of good are determined by our different viewpoints, emotional state of mind, and the variations of views from others around us. We change our minds all the time, God is constant and consistent. A school of toddlers would be a very hard world to live in in comparison to a single older, wiser person who has seen and experienced much more and is able to give wise, well thought out determinate of what is right and wrong. The toddlers may not always agree, but as they grow they will find the rules put in place were for the best for everyone.
So than how do we know we are following God and doing good in His eye?
“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.”Galatians 4:8 ESV
Before knowing God, we are trapped by worldly behaviors such as vanity, gossip, alcohol/drugs, lust, contempt, selfishness, hatefulness, etc. One who is trapped in these behaviors needs a friend or loved one who knows God to correct them. One who continues this type of lifestyle intentionally sins and The Father, the creator and judge of this world, will not be pleased by them.
“But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” 1 Corinthians 8:3 ESV
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16 ESV
Our most important commandment given by Jesus is to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. If we love God, have faith in Him, trust Him, and consult Him in our prayers He will abide in us. Our love for God should reflect in our everyday lives and actions. In how we treat others, how we work, and the words that come out of our mouth.
God created EVERY person on this earth. He loves every person, even those that don’t love or know Him. It is than our job to recognize that everyone who is on this earth is loved by God, how would God view us if we mistreated any of His children? Gossiped, said mean things to them, or behind their back, hurt them, slandered, lied to them. God doesn’t approve of that behavior, the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.
And he said to him, “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 first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”” Matthew 22:37-40 ESVWhatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,”Colossians 3:23 ESV
“You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;” James 2:22 ESV
Our work is very important. He gives us gifts and talents, just as in the parable of talents, if we use our talents in a way that is pleasing to God, we will be rewarded as faithful servants. If we bury our gifts and don’t use them to Gods glory we will pay dearly for our lack of faith and refusal. this verse is the last verse of the Parable of talents about the servant who buried his talent in the dirt.
And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”Matthew 25:30 ESV
Our choice of words matter greatly. There are Many, many verses warning about the use of the tongue and mouth for good or evil. By watching our own tongues, and the tongues of others we can see the followers of the world in their unbridled, hurtful words, evil lips, lying tongue, and prideful spirit.
“A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.” Proverbs 16:27 ESV
“”You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit.” Psalms 50:19 ESV
“They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.” Psalms 73:9 ESV
Also with the tongue we can see a true follower of Jesus; one who talks highly of Jesus, brings up others, helps, and corrects others lovingly. This person is also careful in their words to not be hurtful, deceitful, and keep control over his tongue so to not fall into sin.
““Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” Proverbs 21:23 ESV
“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:11 ESV
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 ESV
Our God, our creator and judge, our Father who has reserved a place for His people, will judge us individually and fairly. We need to be True followers, following in His ways alone and not the ways of the world. He is a loving God, but a jealous God. You cannot serve two masters, you will need to pick and your choice will have a consequence (your soul will either go to heaven or hell, there is no other option). If you say you are a follower of Christ, but are hurtful in your words, deceitful, selfish, lazy, etc. than with your mouth you are confessing you are a follower, but your heart follows the world. the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9). It would be wise for you to examine your heart and decide what you are truly following. Just as in the parable of the ten virgins, all professed they were followers, all were invited to the wedding feast, but only five actually readied themselves and prepared themselves for the Lords return while the other five slept and did not prepare. When the Lord came five were ready to go, and the other five were not ready and had to go ready themselves, by which time the wedding feast doors were closed and the Lord told them “I do not know you”. We don’t know when He will come as we could die tomorrow, or the Lord may return to call up His followers at any time. We each must prepare ourselves, change our hearts to follow Him, and turn away from sin.
For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
Deuteronomy 4:24 ESV
Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’” Matthew 25:11-12 ESV
“For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” Romans 10:11-13 ESV
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” John 6:44-47 ESV
God is our final judge, and only He can determine the truth in our hearts and where our souls end up eternally. He is the gatekeeper. A person may be good, but if they were good for man and the earthy attention, but had no love for God in their heart, than how could God award them heavenly rewards? We may never know if our loved ones made it to heaven or not, as we will never see their true heart. We can get a good guess based on how they talked about God, how they treated others (not just their friends and people they like), and how they lived and worked.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 ESV
Darrick and Kay
When a loved one is going on a long trip, sometimes they leave a message to their family to comfort them while they were away. In this day and age a text or an email is more popular than a letter. Did you know Jesus did this for us?
John 20:7 says: “and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.”
This is a very intricate phrase that’s often skipped over but it really shows how deep Jesus’s love is for all of us.
In Jesus’s time while a master is eating the servant would wait in the shadows. When the master was done he would use the napkin to wipe his face, crumple it up, and leave it on his plate. The servant than knew the master was done and he could than clean up.
If the master needed to leave the table, but intended to come back, he folded his napkin and placed it to the side and the servant would wait until his master returned to finish his meal.
When Jesus rose from His tomb he left one last message to His followers that is often overlooked as a small detail. He folded the napkin (face cloth) and left it as a note for us that He IS coming back! Just like a loved one leaves a letter to comfort us in their absence and let us know they are coming back, Jesus did this for us. Hallelujah!
This cloth is called the shroud of Turin.
Darrick and Kay
Most think about love during the month of February because of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a day of taking your spouse or significant other out for dinner, showering them with chocolates, flowers, and words… and than the day is done and we go back to our lives.
This isn’t the love God talked about in 1 John 4:9:
“”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The whole basis of the Bible is love. In that book God gave us where we started, our family history, wise words of advice, and even what’s to come. It’s a living will written for His children, including our inheritance. He gave us one main rule: love.
“And he said to him, “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 first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.””
The Ten Commandments are based on love. The first half are how to love God, and the second half how to love His children; our brothers and sisters in Christ.
If you step back and think as if you were a child again in your parents house, aren’t these the same basic rules? Respect your parents, and be nice to your brothers and sisters.
If a father asked their child to do something, for love, fear, and respect of the father the child would do it. If the child chose to rebel, there would likely be a consequence. This is the same way we should look at God the Father and His rules He gave us. The rebellion is called sin, and the consequence is death.
What child hasn’t by accident broken something, lost something, or just made a big mistake and had no way to cover the cost to fix it? When we all die someday we will stand in front of Our Father, creator of everything, and will need to confess every single sin down to the smallest misdemeanor. Luckily, we have an “older brother”- Jesus- who seen our mistake, took the consequence, and paid the fine. He traded His innocent, sinless life to cover our sins. Think of it this way, you and your brother are out playing ball. Your brother warns you not to aim towards the building windows in case you get a home run hit, but you do it anyways. The glass breaks and there’s no way your pennies and nickels in that little piggy bank at home will cover that mistake. What will dad think?! Your mind is going crazy, but your big brother, who just started his first job, used his first paycheck to pay for the broken window. He didn’t have to, but because he loved you, he gave everything he had- that is love.
If your brother or sister are in trouble and need your help, isn’t it your responsibility to help them if you can? There are times when you can’t, so you can tell the Father in prayer and ask His help. But remember, if you CAN help them and choose to just pray for them instead that is not the love God intended for us. Father warns us to treat others as we would want to be treated. If we can be there for them, listen, be a friend, make them a meal, visit, make a gift. Praying is important, and we should do that too, but God created us for action and doing. After all, it would have been a totally different story if big brother had ran to tell dad about the broken window because he wanted to save his money for something for himself instead of helping his brother?
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
1 John 4:20
So what does that mean for us? How do we show love to the Father and the Son? How do we grow closer to Him? Again, let’s go back to relating to a child. A young child who looks up to his father may try to dress up like him, or try to read books his dad likes, or pretend to do work like dad with toys. That is not unlike us. Dressing up is like us trying to put on the character of God and His ways. We read the Bible to try to learn what Father teaches us: to do what Jesus did- lead people to God. Just as we watch a young child stumble over the big clothes, try to read a book beyond our comprehension, and play with tools we struggle to understand He smiles with love knowing that we are trying. God does not expect perfection from His children. He knows we will stumble and struggle, but He appreciates our perseverance and admiration towards Him in our trying to be like Him.
Many people think love is surface level- words, simple actions/gifts for those closest to us. But it’s not. Love is so much deeper. An example is Jesus didnt go around saying “I love you! I love you! Love you too!” and kept to helping His own family. He showed love with actions all over- he healed people, encouraged them, corrected them, he banished demons, and taught important lessons. He encouraged children to come learn from him, made the blind see, the lame walk, fed the hungry, and raised the dead. Ultimately He loved us so much He died for us. Even after death He loved us (a lot of Christians don’t even know this) but he left us a secret message in a simple gesture that says he is coming back for us. THAT is love.
“and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.” John 20:7
When Jesus rose from the dead he folded his face cloth (napkin) before he left The tomb to let us know He IS coming back to get us!
To believe the way our Father wants isn’t just any old simple belief: it’s a childlike belief. A whole hearted, convinced, innocent, strong conviction that you KNOW your Father is watching over you, loves you, and is holding His promise to come for you again.
Many want to think if they say the words “I believe in Jesus” that they are good and saved forever. But Jesus says in the parable of the ten virgins to the five last virgins who came late “But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’” (Matthew 25:12 )
Jesus wants relationship, God wants your love, the Holy Spirit wants your trust. Three in one, all are needed. If one is missing than the whole thing breaks down.
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:20
no trust=no relationship or love.
no love=no relationship or trust.
No relationship= no love or trust.
Its simple. Love your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as you would want yourself to be loved.
Darrick and Kay
“So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?””
John 7:16-19 ESV
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”
Mark 12:30 ESV
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37 ESV
“This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.””
Matthew 22:38-40 ESV
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV
“You shall therefore obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today.””
Deuteronomy 27:10 ESV
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”
John 15:10 ESV
“Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.”
Psalms 119:127 ESV
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
1 John 5:3 ESV
“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.”
1 John 3:23 ESV
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:8 ESV
“”And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,”
Deuteronomy 10:12 ESV
“So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.”
Deuteronomy 8:6 ESV
“”You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.”
Leviticus 19:17 ESV
“Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.””
1 Kings 8:61 ESV
“Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.”
Amos 5:15 ESV
“You have declared today that the Lord is your God, and that you will walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments and his rules, and will obey his voice.”
Deuteronomy 26:17 ESV
“”But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.”
Deuteronomy 28:15 ESV
“But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.”
2 Kings 10:31 ESV
“He (King Amon) abandoned the Lord, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the Lord.”
2 Kings 21:22 ESV
“For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.”
Micah 4:5 ESV
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!”
Psalms 119:1 ESV
“For many are called, but few are chosen.””
Matthew 22:14 ESV
“”Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”
Matthew 7:13 ESV
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Matthew 7:14 ESV
“and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Matthew 10:22 ESV
“”And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”
Luke 12:8-9 ESV
“Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
Luke 12:43-48 ESV
God Bless you, and your walk,
Darrick and Kay
Quoted from the Brant Hansen page on Facebook. I found this article very insightful!
Mangers are odd little things. They’re feeding troughs, of course. In ancient Israel, they were made of stone.
They’re not super-comfortable, but you know what? In a pinch, they can be kind of protective.
That’s why experts -priests who lived near Bethlehem, near a hill known for raising sacrificial lambs- would put lambs in them.
Not all the lambs; just the ones they thought were without blemish and suitable for the blood sacrifices that took place twice a day. Sacrifices to cover sin.
These were the lambs Bethlehem was famous for. There was a hill there with a tower, “Migdal Eder”, and the flocks nearby were the ones that yielded lambs for sacrifice.
The priests wanted to keep the lambs without bumps and bruises. So they’d wrap them up tightly. They’d swaddle them, wrapping them in cloths, like precious and terribly fragile bottles of wine.
And they’d lay them in a manger.
“Manger” is only mentioned in one account of Jesus’ birth. (It’s in Luke.) And it makes sense. There’s really only a small group of people who would understand it’s significance. And they are the very ones who hear the words:
“You will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”
Shepherds! The shepherds of the sacrificial flock.
They knew what the cloths and the manger meant.
“This will be a sign to you,” the angel said. And it was. It wouldn’t have been a sign to many. But to them? Most definitely. And this sign was staggering.
The long-expected King wasn’t headed to a palace. No, this was going to be different.
He was going to be sacrificed.
They knew where the Messiah was born… but they also knew where He was headed.
“Peace on earth
and mercy mild
God and sinners, reconciled.”
I found this article to be amazing- I never knew that piece of history!
Darrick and Kay