Dante and Lance discuss Matthew 7 and judgmental attitudes. Dante and Lance also discuss racism and how dehumanizing thoughts and language can lead people to do unimaginable things.
Lance and Dante talk about how to maintain civility and be the salt and light on social media and when discussing highly charged topics.
Dante and Lance discuss a NY Times article where the author tries to imply that being a good dad means you're taking on the role of a mother. Gender Roles and Biblical Roles.
Dante and Lance join the discussion on "toxic masculinity" and how it differs from God's design for biblical manhood.
Dante and Lance discuss breaking down walls and how Christians should respond with grace and truth on social media.
As Lance reflects back on his years as a parent, he shares two areas that he would probably make different decisions about today.
A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim
Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892
A sight in camp in the daybreak gray and dim,
As from my tent I emerge so early sleepless,
As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the path near by the hospital tent,
Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought out there untended lying,
Over each the blanket spread, ample brownish woolen blanket,
Gray and heavy blanket, folding, covering all.
Curious I halt and silent stand,
Then with light fingers I from the face of the nearest the first just lift the blanket;
Who are you elderly man so gaunt and grim, with well-gray’d hair, and flesh all sunken about the eyes?
Who are you my dear comrade?
Then to the second I step—and who are you my child and darling?
Who are you sweet boy with cheeks yet blooming?
Then to the third—a face nor child nor old, very calm, as of beautiful yellow-white ivory;
Young man I think I know you—I think this face is the face of the Christ himself,
Dead and divine and brother of all, and here again he lies.
Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night
Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892
Vigil strange I kept on the field one night;
When you my son and my comrade dropt at my side that day,
One look I but gave which your dear eyes return’d with a look I shall never forget,
One touch of your hand to mine O boy, reach’d up as you lay on the ground,
Then onward I sped in the battle, the even-contested battle,
Till late in the night reliev’d to the place at last again I made my way,
Found you in death so cold dear comrade, found your body son of responding kisses, (never again on earth responding,)
Bared your face in the starlight, curious the scene, cool blew the moderate night-wind,
Long there and then in vigil I stood, dimly around me the battle-field spreading,
Vigil wondrous and vigil sweet there in the fragrant silent night,
But not a tear fell, not even a long-drawn sigh, long, long I gazed,
Then on the earth partially reclining sat by your side leaning my chin in my hands,
Passing sweet hours, immortal and mystic hours with you dearest comrade—not a tear, not a word,
Vigil of silence, love and death, vigil for you my son and my soldier,
As onward silently stars aloft, eastward new ones upward stole,
Vigil final for you brave boy, (I could not save you, swift was your death,
I faithfully loved you and cared for you living, I think we shall surely meet again,)
Till at latest lingering of the night, indeed just as the dawn appear’d,
My comrade I wrapt in his blanket, envelop’d well his form,
Folded the blanket well, tucking it carefully over head and carefully under feet,
And there and then and bathed by the rising sun, my son in his grave, in his rude-dug grave I deposited,
Ending my vigil strange with that, vigil of night and battle-field dim,
Vigil for boy of responding kisses, (never again on earth responding,)
Vigil for comrade swiftly slain, vigil I never forget, how as day brighten’d,
I rose from the chill ground and folded my soldier well in his blanket,
And buried him where he fell
Lance and Dante talk about why being an overprotective parent has negative consequences on our children and their development. Studies show that over coddling our children can have emotional, behavioral, and even cognitive repercussions.
See Our Original Post from 2009 - https://www.legacydad.com/blogs/overprotective-parents-underdeveloped-children-part-1
Live from Doctrine and Devotion 2018 - Lance and Dante talk about Biblical masculinity
and reflections on keynotes from Joe Thorn and Doug Logan, Jr. #docanddevo2018
What religious group do you think is the fastest growing religion in America?
Evangelical Christians? Nope. Muslims? No again. Catholics? No.
Lance and Dante talk about who the "nones" are and how the church can engage them.
Dante talks with Lance about attributes of combat leadership and leading decisively. The difference between leadership and management and why most programs teach management but call it leadership.
Dante and Lance's son talk about growing up with a Legacy Dad and realizing that faith was real along with living out our faith and being an example to others. Fruit if the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 13
Lance's son talks about missionary training with Unusual Soldiers and Caleb Bislow, author of Dangerous, and why fulfilling the Great Commission is not always easy. Check out Unusual Soldiers at http://www.unusualsoldiers.com/
Lance and his wife discuss barriers to a healthy marriage based on Biblical principles and their 21 years of marriage, counseling, and the tools they have used and taught to others. Early in their marriage, Lance and his wife almost divorced but successfully turned the marriage around using these insights.
1 Corinthians 13:11English Standard Version (ESV)11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
In the next few posts we will unpack what it means to move from boyhood to manhood (moving from Milk to Meat).
If this verse makes you ponder, convicts you, or challenges you to take your life, your walk with God to the next level, then pray! Ask God to reveal things in you that need to move from boyhood to manhood.
Philippians 4:11-14New International Version (NIV) 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.
1 Timothy 6:6-12New International Version (NIV) 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Final Charge to Timothy 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Here is my list of the top 10 Secrets to life:
- Whose is it anyways? Matthew 22:21New International Version (NIV) 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” If you are rational at all, then ask yourself who made the heavens and the earth and who created who? God and only God. All things are vanity if we do not put this into perspective. Therefore, if you acknowledge the Authority in your life as God then you submit to His Word (The Bible) and then you know that everything belongs to Him. So now what am I supposed to do if I accept and subject myself to this authority?
- What side of the Ledger am I on? - If we were to draw a line down a piece of paper and on the left side write down all the things that will be burned away at Judgement (the things we did out of selfism and pride and lust and for no other authority than our self or the god of this world (small "g") and on the right side the things that truly were done for God, meaning that when the intentions are burned away these were pure and done out of the Glory of His name and for His Kingdom. Please note that I am not referring to a "works-based faith" here, rather, I am talking about our call as disciples about what we are supposed to be doing once we receive this gift of Salvation. Refer to what I am discussing here as our call to stewardship of the three "T's" in our life: Time, Talent and Treasure. What we do with these and how we live with this is our call to discipleship.
- Have I learned the Secret to life in my lifetime? Whether I am well fed or hungry, rich or poor, no matter my station in life am I content with what God has given me. This is not to say that I do not want to achieve more, grow more, learn more. Rather, it is saying that I am being faithful with what God has given me so far and that wherever He takes me in this world, whatever He gives me and how he desires me to live - It is all for His Kingdom, His Glory and His Honor that I do what I do today. Dear Lord, help me to die to myself each day, hour, minute and second of each day and find your will and ways in all that I do.
- What's holding me back? This may be a tough question to ask ourselves each day, but let's be honest and ask, "Are you seeking God's will each and everyday in your life? Your lips and words may say so, but then your actions and deeds tell a different story. If we are honest with this and want to find contentment, that is, the Secret to Life, then honestly ask yourself if you are in His word (the Bible) every day. Is the Bible the authority in your life? Are you submitting and obeying to His Word daily? If you truly are seeking biblical contentment than less is more. Less of me and more of God each day in my life is more not less. The World says less God and more self, but God's word says die to the old self and put on the new self (Read Colossians 3).
- What Fruit is my life bearing? Galatians 5:13-24New International Version (NIV) Life by the Spirit 13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Let's be honest and on the back of the ledger that we have drawn from above put a line down the middle of the paper and on the left side write the Fruit of the Sinful Nature (Read Galatians 5) and on the Right Side write down the Fruit of the Spirit listed above. Check what fruit in your life by placing honestly each on both sides of the paper. Give up and repent of the sinful nature and thank the Lord for the Fruit of the Spirit. Ask for Him to reveal the sinful nature stuff that needs to be put do death and to lead you into His fruit and to help guide your into His Path.
2 Corinthians 13:5-7 New International Version (NIV) 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.
What's holding you back? What does biblical contentment (the Secret to Life) look like in your life?
About two months ago, my wife and I and her best friend took my son to Chicago and I met them for the Musical Hamilton. Contrary to the controversial politics and inappropriate treatment of the Vice President (VP Mike Pence) who also came to visit this production, I enjoyed the story of Alexander Hamilton and the talented cast that performed it. Speaking of which, to all actors and entertainers, when I pay for a venue of which is a tendered contract between your boss and me, the consumer, I am paying you for the right to be entertained. I am not asking for nor am I paying for your political view nor am I asking for your opinion on political matters. If that were the case, then you would be running for elected office and if I believed in you, as a candidate, then I would use my God-given right to vote for you in hopes that you would be elected to represent WE THE PEOPLE.
Sorry, as I digress.
Anyway, back to the musical Hamilton. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and story line along the way. It was fun to discuss with my son during intermission and afterwards about how accurate and what was missing from the story of Alexander Hamilton. There was a part of his life that gave an excellent teaching moment between my son and I and the choices that we make so early in life could actually cost us everything that we want later. It was great to be able to talk about values that we share on Legacydads.
There is so much more that I could share in regards to that conversation between my son and I, but I suppose that I will wait for another post or perhaps a podcast with Lance.
Near to the end of the performance and loss of their son, Phillip Hamilton, they sing a song called, It's Quite Uptown:
It's Quiet Uptown [ANGELICA] There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
[ANGELICA/ENSEMBLE] The Hamiltons move uptown And learn to live with the unimaginable
[HAMILTON] I spend hours in the garden I walk alone to the store And it’s quiet uptown I never liked the quiet before I take the children to church on SundayA sign of the cross at the doorAnd I prayThat never used to happen before
[ANGELICA AND WOMEN] If you see him in the street, walking by Himself, talking to himself, have pity
[HAMILTON] Philip, you would like it uptown It’s quiet uptown
[ANGELICA AND WOMEN] He is working through the unimaginable
[ALL MEN (EXCEPT HAMILTON)] His hair has gone grey. He passes every day They say he walks the length of the city
[HAMILTON] You knock me out, I fall apart
[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] Can you imagine?
[HAMILTON] Look at where we are Look at where we started I know I don’t deserve you, Eliza But hear me out. That would be enough
If I could spare his life If I could trade his life for mine He’d be standing here right now And you would smile, and that would be enough I don’t pretend to know The challenges we’re facing I know there’s no replacing what we’ve lost And you need time But I’m not afraid I know who I married Just let me stay here by your side That would be enough
[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] If you see him in the street, walking by her Side, talking by her side, have pity
[HAMILTON] Eliza, do you like it uptown? It’s quiet uptown
[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] He is trying to do the unimaginable See them walking in the park, long after dark Taking in the sights of the city
[HAMILTON] Look around, look around, Eliza
[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] They are trying to do the unimaginable
[ANGELICA] There are moments that the words don’t reachThere is a grace too powerful to name We push away what we can never understand We push away the unimaginable They are standing in the garden Alexander by Eliza’s side She takes his hand
[ELIZA] It’s quiet uptown
[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] Forgiveness. Can you imagine?Forgiveness. Can you imagine? If you see him in the street, walking by her Side, talking by her side, have pity They are going through the unimaginable
Certainly there are both sides of the argument toward this man and his journey, but no one can deny his past and where he started and the key role he had in the framework of this great Country. Looking at this song there are three parts that I want to focus on about "knowing their fruit" (from Galatians 5):
- "I take the children to church on Sunday, A sign of the cross at the door, And I pray, That never used to happen before" - I love this song and cannot get it out of my head as you can ask my wife and kids how much I play this song over the past two months. Alexander Hamilton certainly did a lot of things wrong, of which one thing likely cost him the presidency. He would have been a contender if not a victor if he didn't have a stain. I think if we are honest and look back at our lives, we would not always be proud or we would definitely have told our younger self to avoid or go different directions.
- "There are moments that the words don’t reach, There is a grace too powerful to name" - if you are a critical thinker, like myself, then put on your biblical lenses in this statement and think about where this Amazing Grace comes from. Think about a transforming power that can take something dead and make it alive again. Think about a God who gave His only Son to save you and I - that is a God that I want to know and serve and love.
- "Forgiveness. Can you imagine? Forgiveness. Can you imagine?" - After an inappropriate affair that cost his political career and almost cost his marriage, the loss of a son and his wife almost leaving him (or it would seem) Eliza, Hamilton's wife, forgives him. This part of the song is so powerful and it clasps at your heart because when you hear it, it is amazing in that he and his wife buried their son who was killed in a dual and besides that alone, all the infractions of his past cost him so much more. But along the way (of this song) you could see how even a "dead marriage" can come alive in through the power of the Holy Spirit by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
All things are possible with God.
So the question that I have for you in this matter, is where are you right now? Does your past define you? Is the past so overwhelming that you cannot look toward your future? Who is Jesus Christ in your life? Do you know him as Savior? If not, why not? Read Romans 10. Read the Gospel of Mark and come to know this Lord like we do. If you do know him, but are unable to let go of the past, then I have to ask you - is God enough? Is the death and resurrection of Jesus enough? Do you need more than his crucifixion and resurrection?
Let go, let God. Repent! Turn toward God and draw near to him and he will draw near to you!!!
Revelation 3 To the Church in Laodicea 14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Dear Men of Faith,
As you read this Scripture and think about God's call in your life, let me ask you these questions:
- If you are married, and your relationship with Jesus directly correlated with the healthiness of your marriage, how would your marriage look?
- If you are dating, and your relationship with Jesus directly correlated with the healthiness of your significant other, how would your relationship be?
- If you were to take an hones look at your life and examine it would you be hot (on fire for God), cold (completely backslidden and/or not saved) or would you be lukewarm (vomit in God's mouth)?
- How do I get unstuck?
Scripture on being Lukewarm or Stuck in the middle:
- 1 John 2:15-16 ESV Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.
- Matthew 12:30 ESV Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
- Matthew 5:13 ESV “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
- James 3:10-12 ESV From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
- 2 Timothy 4:3 ESV For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
- 1 John 3:10 ESV By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
- 1 Peter 3:15 ESV But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
- 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 ESV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
- Matthew 16:26 ESV For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
- Matthew 12:33-37 ESV “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
- 2 Timothy 3:4 ESV Treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
- Revelation 3:16 ESV So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
- 2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
- 1 Timothy 4:1 ESV Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,
Seasons change and life impacts us all in so many different ways. Christmas time, for instance, can bring some joy (thinking of family and loved ones and times together) and for others can cause pain and hurt (loss of loved ones or broken relationships). It could be depression, it could be bitterness, it could be health or it just could be that I am more satisfied (or likely unsatisfied) about the state of being that you/I are currently am in versus taking the steps necessary to draw near to God and see what His will in my life.
That last statement actually gets to the core of where I am trying to go with this: Are you going to get off the throne of your life, or your lukewarmness and place God where He needs to be in each of our lives - on the throne room of our hearts!
Is God the God of our entire life or just the parts that we want to "let go of?"
Symptoms of the Kingdom of Self:
- Self-reliant - is when you find yourself saying things like: "Why should I ask anyone else to help, if you want this done right, then I will do it myself." "I do not need anybody else" "I am happier by myself" "Who needs love". You depend solely upon yourself and no one other nor other thing.
- Self-governing - you have no authority in your life. You may "cherry" pick a few bible versus that create your self rule and authority but that is where the line stops. To admit that the Triune God is your sole authority would be admitting that you are no longer in control and there are simply too many things in your life that you do not want under anyone else's authority besides yourself.
- Self-promoting - look up the word "narcissist" and determine if you are prescribed in any or all part of this definition. You would rather promote yourself in any and every situation over others if that seems to be the best course of action. In environments where you are just a mere citizen and not being promoted you tend to move away from these social settings and find something more appealing to your self-promoting desires.
- Self-rightheous - this is where you are more concerned in looking for the flaws (and sins) of others rather than looking inwardly and examining your own life and own moral and social failures (sin) and acknowledge that God should be the authority over you.
- Self-focus - everything that the person does, wants to do or strives to do is wrapped around themselves. They are more inward focused on the power of self rather than God's Kingdom and His Son, Jesus Christ.
- Self-pleasure - this is where said individual values themselves and their own pleasure over everything else and everyone else around them. They give little feeling or regard to others before they self gratify each other.
Scripture on avoiding the Kingdom of Self
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.
Proverbs 25:16 Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it.
Daniel 1:8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.
Scripture on The Kingdom of God
- Psalm 103:19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.
- Matthew 24:14 "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
- Acts 28:31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.
- Luke 13:18-19 So He was saying, "What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? "It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and THE BIRDS OF THE AIR NESTED IN ITS BRANCHES."
- Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
- John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
- Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
- Matthew 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
- Matthew 6:31-33 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
- Matthew 7:13-14 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
- Matthew 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.
- Matthew 13, seven parables of the Kingdom of God
- Matthew 18:23-35 the parable of the unmerciful servant
- Matthew 19:13-14 Little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
- Matthew 19:16-26 the conversation between a rich young man and Jesus
- Matthew 21:28-32 the parable of the two sons
- Mark 4:30-32 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
- Mark 9:35-37 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
- Luke 17:20-21 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
- John 3:3-7 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
- John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
When we look at the Kingdom of Self, we have to be honest and look at the ways of the World and their gospel of selfism, that is, putting everything else before God. In other words, this would be called Idolatry. Do you know what the Bible says about Idols? If we are serious about denying self and putting the Kingdom of God in our scope, putting the Kingdom of God first in everything and anything that we do.
We need to strive to Kingdom Living in which that no longer promotes self, but gives glory and honor and all praise to the King of Kings and to the Lord of Lords. We need to take an honest self examination and see what your life is showing? We need to take an honest time to seek God first, to pray, to fast, to ask for him to reveal in you His desire and to reveal your selfism and ask Him to expose that to you so you can repent.
Be honest, be true and be accountable to the Word of God.
Whether we want to believe it or not, evil does exist without the presence of light. With Light (God's truth) darkness cannot survive. Words cannot explain the tragedies that we are forced to witness over and over and over again on media and news outlets that have no filter and give no hope because evil goes unchallenged. Whether we want to admit it or not, there is evil in the world. To witness the brutality of unanswered evil, that is, evil that goes unchallenged and continues to lead those who are ignorant to God's love and do not understand His way of the truth will all have to give an account. Woe to those teachers that preach hate, envy, discord and disunity. For those teachers and instructors who promote terrorism and violence and hate - they will all have to give an account:
- 1 Thessalonians 5:22New International Version (NIV) 22 reject every kind of evil.
- John 3:20New International Version (NIV) 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
- Romans 12:21New International Version (NIV) 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
- Ephesians 6:12-16New International Version (NIV) 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
- John 8:44bNew International Version (NIV) 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Romans 14:11 states, "It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'" Whether we understand this Judgement or do not, does not mean that it will not happen. God's word says that it does. And it clearly states that the law of Moses will condemn those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.
Woe to those who shed blood of the innocent and who persecute the innocent. Woe to those who oppose God's will. Woe to those who do not know the Lord as Savior. "The essence of evil is to lose the taste of God" or "to prefer anything more than God" - quote by John Piper.
There is a hope, there is a love and there is a faith that transcends all evil:
Romans 8New International Version (NIV)
Life Through the Spirit 8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Present Suffering and Future Glory 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
More Than Conquerors 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j] 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our hearts and prayers go out to those who are mourning the loss of loved ones due to these evil acts.