John 10:9-10: "I [JESUS] am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
SHOULD WE AS BELIEVERS BE HOLY--SET APART, CONSECRATED, SANCTIFIED, PECULIAR, DIFFERENT--in the World but not of the World--LIVING SACRIFICES--COMPLETELY DEDICATED to the LORD?
Even in the dark times--with the storms, the trials, the challenges, the obstacles, the adversity, the setbacks, the hardships, the seasons of struggle and lack, the years of people talking about me, criticizing me, lying on me, deceiving others with respect to my character, my heart, and my motives, bad-mouthing and blacklisting me, so students won't take any of my classes, and misrepresenting me, calling me anything but a child of GOD, to my face and behind my back, so people will either hate me or avoid me, or those times when so-called "good" people and/or so-called believers, were trying to stab me in the back and/or get me fired year after year, while smiling in my face, playing the innocent friend or injured party, and during every battle in spiritual warfare--GOD is with me, GOD is for me, and GOD has me covered, for HE IS MY SHIELD--my refuge and my strength, a very present HELP in time of trouble, for He knows the plans He has for me, plans to prosper me and not harm me, plans to give me hope and a future, because HE ALONE KNOWS EXACTLY WHO and WHAT I AM and WHAT I AM CALLED and CREATED TO DO; and HE ALONE KNOWS that MY IDENTITY is NOT WHAT I DO but WHO and WHOSE I AM.
Even when the mountains seem high and the valleys seem low, and I'm walking in the wilderness, He gives me rivers in the desert, joy in the morning, and the hope of salvation, redemption, and deliverance, and the way of escape in JESUS, and He never lets me give up; He never lets me give in, and He always picks me up, carries me, and encourages me and strengthens me, until I can get up and stand again, fully equipped, empowered, and encouraged, in fulfilling my assignment in His grand design, according to His will and His way.
All through Scripture, GOD says, "be strong and be courageous, and do not be afraid, for I will help you; I will neither leave you nor will I forsake you. I will be with you wherever you go," and two great battle verses that GOD has put in my spirit for years are Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path," and Romans 8:28: "All things work together for good to those who love GOD, to those who are called according to His purpose." So I KNOW, I can do all things through CHRIST, who strengthens me.
Naturally, I am perfect in my imperfections, BUT I'm holy, righteous, justified, sanctified, and QUALIFIED through JESUS CHRIST. So, yes, I stumble; I fall down; I make mistakes; I get discouraged, sometimes even depressed. But I don't stay down; I don't lie down; I don't surrender or give up in defeat. I get back up; I keep fighting; I keep taking the punches, the hits and the attacks on my character, my heart, my motives, my abilities, even my qualifications, and I keep praying; I keep worshipping; I keep giving; I keep loving; I keep forgiving; I keep sowing good seed wherever GOD plants me, giving my ALL, giving my BEST; I bear the fruit of His HOLY SPIRIT, found in Galatians 5:22-23, and I expect a good harvest, 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold, not just in finances but in what matters most to GOD: HUMAN BEINGS--LOST BUT FOUND and SAVED and REDEEMED SOULS.
GOD created me to be a BIG DREAMER, maybe even a trend-setter, a visionary, a forerunner, a marketplace minister, all for HIM: GOD. So, my intention--my purpose--in this life of mine is not to roll over and play dead, not to be lukewarm and passive, not to be silent and invisible, like an Undercover Christian, and not just to live paycheck to paycheck, trying to make a living, and just make an impression, good or bad, just to get a pat on the back or a word of praise or just to please some man or woman or get some man-made reward on earth; my intention is to make an impact and make a difference, because I'm not interested in reading about history or writing about history all my life; I'm interested in being a mover, a shaker, and a history-maker--someone who leaves a lasting legacy for the next generation--one of eternal value, that leaves behind HIS imprint and HIS fingerprint--not my own and not for my glory and honor--but for HIS--GOD's.
Why do I keep doing this? Getting knocked down but getting back up, in HIS strength, in HIS wisdom, and in HIS Spirit, not my own? Why do I keep thinking like this? That I'm special, that I'm unique, that I matter, that I am valuable, a royal masterpiece? Especially in the face of trials and adversity, when others call me anything but a child of GOD, even calling me a failure according to the world's (i.e. man's) standard? Not because I'm black and not because I'm a woman; not because I see myself as a minority or because I'm trying to prove anything to anybody or because I believe the world or anybody in the world owes me something, because of my race or gender. But because with GOD all things are possible; without GOD, I can do nothing; and essentially, MY GOD--the living GOD--is EVERYTHING I NEED--always the GOD of MORE THAN ENOUGH: provision, protection, prosperity, purpose--health, wealth, deliverance, intercession, mediation, counseling, comfort, instruction, correction, grace, mercy, love, joy, hope, salvation, redemption, transformation, restoration, power, authority, dominion, and peace. So, more than any man or any woman's favor; I want the grace and favor of GOD, so I keep doing this ballroom dance--almost like the fox trot--in quick-quick-slow time, thinking this way, because I AM a child of GOD, above anything else, and GOD loved me so much, He gave all He had, including HIS SON JESUS, just to save me and redeem me and reconcile with me and adopt me into HIS FAMILY.
In HIS KINGDOM and HIS FAMILY: I'm not a minority; I'm included in the BODY of CHRIST; in HIS FAMILY, I'm not a victim; I'm a VICTOR; I'm an OVERCOMER; I'm MORE THAN A CONQUEROR through HIM WHO LOVED ME; in HIS FAMILY, I'm not a slave, not just a servant; I'm a PRINCESS, I'm ROYALTY; I'm not an orphan; I'm not a foreigner; I'm ADOPTED; I'm a daughter of the KING of kings, and I'm the BRIDE of CHRIST, and He's MY PRINCE of PEACE, my BRIDEGROOM, and I AM HIS BELOVED, for all eternity.
In HIS KINGDOM, in HIS GOVERNMENT, and in HIS FAMILY, I'm not poor and I don't need man-made governments to be my gods, taking care of me, so I won't have to work and giving me so-called "free" stuff to make my life easier, just because I feel "entitled" to free stuff, BECAUSE GOD, the KING, is MY PROVIDER, MY PROTECTOR, MY HEALER, MY COUNSELOR, MY COMFORTER, MY LORD, MY MEDIATOR, and MY SOURCE for everything I need, from wealth to health, and even Adam and Eve, the first couple on earth and the first children of GOD among mankind still had to WORK and take care of the garden of Eden, even the animals and so forth, even before they sinned and were cast out of the garden. So, GOD does not despise work at all, but He does have a problem with laziness: people who are able to work but choose not to, whether inside the home or out of it, for whatever reason.
Even after Adam and Eve sinned, they had to work, not because working was the curse though; after their fall from grace through doubt, deception, and disobedience--through sin--the ground and the earth, along with Adam and Eve, were cursed, not because GOD was mean or vengeful, but because GOD is HOLY and JUST, as well as GOOD and LOVING, so it would require more sweat, blood, toil, and labor to get the land to produce a good harvest; because everything was made harder, because Adam and Eve were spiritually dead and separated from GOD, who had previously been blessing them, providing for them, and fellowshipping with them, giving them authority and dominion on earth, which they basically forfeited and gave to the dark prince of the world, the devil, when they gave their allegiance to him, choosing him and his words over GOD and HIS WORD. But even then, GOD HAD A PLAN of SALVATION and REDEMPTION in the WORKS: ALL through JESUS, equally the Son of GOD and the Son of Man, and JESUS is still the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE today, the only DOOR and the only WAY to GOD the Father.
So, for us, it isn’t really about our choice of national borders or even open borders; it isn’t our choice for building walls or building bridges (and really, people should read the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, regarding this, instead of giving their opinions or even repeating someone else's, because they’ll soon find out that GOD the Creator, the Landowner, the Landlord, the Designer, and MASTER Architect, was the first in the book of Genesis to establish national borders, and He also was the ONE in the OT in the book of Nehemiah who called Nehemiah, a man of faith, prayer, compassion, and integrity, out of exile in a foreign country, as a cupbearer to the king of Persia (in modern-day Iran), to go back to Jerusalem, like Ezra in the book of Ezra, to rebuild and restore the earthly KINGDOM of GOD, (which would be in Jerusalem, where GOD had indicated in the OT, HE would eventually make HIS dwelling place).
And in this holy place--this city--JERSUSALEM, which had been invaded by the Babylonians, destroyed, decimated, and basically, left in ruins with broken walls and burned gates--around the same time when Ezra, also called by GOD, was rebuilding the Second Temple, GOD troubled Nehemiah and put on his heart, in his spirit to REBUILD the WALLS around JERUSALEM, with the help of a remnant of Jews left behind; and what is also interesting is that GOD, the KING of kings, in HIS HEAVENLY KINGDOM, also has at least 12 (pearly) GATES (possibly, even some walls), including around the New Jerusalem (which is to come in the end, according to the Bible). And for anybody who's against law and order, law enforcement, the military, criminal justice, national security, and border security, doesn't GOD have an army--a military force, an angelic force—mighty warriors--and a host of living beings, like the archangels, Michael and Gabriel? Doesn't GOD have border patrol, in Heaven, and on earth, like those gigantic cherubim with the flaming swords, in the book of Genesis, guarding the tree of life and preventing Adam and Eve from sneaking back into the garden of Eden, after GOD had kicked them out, after they had essentially committed high treason in being disobedient and disloyal, siding with a foreign agent--an undercover spy--the adversary--the devil in disguise as a serpent?
More so than Eve, the woman GOD had created in the beginning as Adam’s COMPANION, COUNTERPART, and HELPMATE (since, GOD had created her SUPERNATURALLY from HIM, ADAM, from a bone in Adam’s rib in his side, while he was in a deep sleep), who also had been deceived by the serpent (really satan in disguise) and had then persuaded her husband to follow suit in disobeying GOD and sinning, ADAM, the HEAD of the HOUSEHOLD, was really at fault, in terms of bringing a generational curse upon all mankind, even upon the animal kingdom and the earth, because GOD had created HIM first, among mankind, and GOD had given him, as a firstborn son and representative and ambassador and ruling prince/steward/king among mankind on earth, in person, too, A BIRTHRIGHT as the firstborn son—the right and privilege to rule and reign on earth, bringing the KINGDOM of GOD, to earth—but with that power and AUTHORITY, especially, GOD gave his son of man, ADAM, only one prime directive, law, commandment, instruction, or rule—which, was really a divine restraining order—which would ensure, among other things, that Adam, GOD’s firstborn son of man, in the book of Genesis, would really have FREEWILL and the CHOICE to either obey (worship and follow) GOD or disobey (and reject and rebel against) GOD, his heavenly FATHER, his LORD, his BOSS, and his KING. And THIS is ADAM’s divine restraining order—his DIRECTIVE and/or BOUNDARY as determined and/or commanded by GOD, which he, ADAM, as a man with freewill—FREEDOM OF CHOICE—can either choose to accept, follow, and abide by or choose to reject, rebel against, and violate—found in Genesis 2:15-17: “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”
Likewise, GOD the FATHER even gave HIS SON, JESUS, a divine restraining order—which JESUS shares with others, including the Pharisees, the so-called experts in the Law (of Moses)—most of whom were his non-believing adversaries, and His disciples, most of whom didn’t understand the meaning or significance of what JESUS was saying or doing during this time—during His ministry on earth, when the land of Israel (or Judea) was occupied by foreigners, like the Romans, and the Jewish people were taught morality and the Law (of Moses) typically at home and/or in synagogues by the rabbis and/or religious leaders; where they often gave money; performed rituals; celebrated the appointed feasts; sacrificed unblemished animals for the remission of their sins in the Temple at Jerusalem; and where they were often, in terms of their faith and what was acceptable (morally right) and what was not acceptable (morally wrong), at the mercy of the religious leaders, many of whom, like the high priest, Caiaphas, were often politically powerful and morally corrupt; and where they were ruled with iron-clad fists by the Romans—in which time, JESUS says in John 5:19-23: “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these; that you may marvel. For the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”
So, really, from Genesis to Revelation, it has been shown, time and time again, that GOD CANNOT and WILL NOT USE anyone HE cannot RESTRAIN, TRUST, and/or CONTAIN in some way, whether that be ADAM, MOSES, SAMSON, KING SAUL, KING DAVID, or GOD’s ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, JESUS, and as the RIGHTEOUS JUDGE, IT IS ALWAYS GOD, whether the FATHER or the SON, JESUS, who enforces a divine restraining order, because GOD is always RIGHT and GOD is always JUST in how He deals with the people who reject HIM, disobey HIM, challenge HIM, and rebel against, or violate HIS divine restraining orders, because only the PERSON (i.e. the JUDGE or the REPRESENTATIVE of the LAW or the COURT) that issued the restraining order, especially THE DIVINE RESTRAINING or PROTECTION ORDER, is actually and LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE for MAINTAINING and ENFORCING the principles of the restraining or protective order.
So, there is ALWAYS a DIVINE RESTRAINING ORDER/LEGALLY-PROTECTIVE PRINCIPLE in place FOR ANYBODY GOD the FATHER ENTRUSTS with DOMINION and POWER and TO WHOM GOD the FATHER decides to use, elevate, protect, promote, raise, and GIVE HIS AUTHORITY, HIS APPROVAL, HIS SEAL AND HIS GUARANTEE (in our generation, especially, through the baptism and the indwelling of the HOLY SPIRIT, until the day of redemption), especially as one of HIS leaders, ministers, sons, daughters, prophets, apostles, preachers, teachers, pastors, stewards, evangelists, missionaries, representatives, and/or ambassadors (especially, in CHRIST), under GOD’s the Father’s LORDSHIP—RULE and REIGN—even on earth. And what about in 2 Kings 6:8-23, when GOD sends an angelic armty, with horses and "chariots of fire," throughout the sky to protect the prophet Elisha and his servant, as well as the nation of Israel, from certain death and destruction, from a Syrian invasion?
One writer says, in regard to GOD's DIVINE RESTRAINING ORDER, that in the Courts of Heaven, "it is possible to see the Lord as Judge set in place a restraining or protective order that will not allow the devil a right to interfere, hurt, destroy, or touch that which belongs to Him."
So, yes, GOD does have an army; GOD does have a military force; GOD does have border (control) agents; they just aren't human; they're supernatural beings; they're spiritual beings, most often invisible (unseen), but sometimes, manifested (or seen) in plain sight, like the angels sent to rescue and save Lot and his family and destroy Sodom and Gomorah; like the archangel Gabriel (who revealed himself to Daniel, to Zacharias, to the shepherds in Bethlehem, to the Virgin Mary, (the Virgin Miriam, in Hebrew), and her husband Joseph); and like the angel(s) who ministered to JESUS, (who is really called YESHUA, in Hebrew), first in the wilderness after His temptations; then, in the garden of Gethsemane, after JESUS had prayed, over His upcoming mission--GOD's plan of salvation--HIS crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection--agonizing even to the point of sweating drops of blood.
So, here are some good questions: If GOD created everything, the heavens and the earth, and if HE established all the national borders, especially after the Great Flood, and HE is the first WALLBUILDER and MASTER ARCHITECT, are borders, walls, fences, and gates around HIS KINGDOM, HIS PROPERTY, and HIS PEOPLE, discriminatory, wrong, and/or ‘immoral’?) Should GOD get rid of HIS military, HIS law enforcement agents, HIS angelic force, HIS border patrol, HIS host of living beings? Just to please us? Just so we won't be offended?
And is it fair or just that our names HAVE to be included or registered in the Lamb’s Book of Life BEFORE we can enter the KINGDOM of GOD? Can’t we just GATE-CRASH and FORCE our way into Heaven, into the KINGDOM of GOD, since we’re GOOD people and we haven’t killed anybody or committed any serious crimes, even though we really don’t believe in GOD, and we haven’t really accepted JESUS as our LORD and SAVIOR, and we really haven’t been obeying any of GOD’s commandments? We're not sinners; we haven't done ANYTHING wrong. So, why should we repent--confess ANY sin?
Aren’t there MANY ways to GOD, anyway? How do we really know JESUS existed? that HE IS the SON of GOD? the MESSIAH? that HE is even real?And do we really have to accept JESUS as OUR LORD and SAVIOR? Do we HAVE to be the BRIDE of CHRIST? Do we really HAVE to COMMIT to ONE GOD, to JESUS, alone? Do we HAVE to be MARRIED to JESUS? Can't we just be one of His mistresses? His concubines? maybe even a GOOD friend with BENEFITS? Aren’t those Ten Commandments outdated, old-fashioned, archaic, anyway?
After all, they WERE in the OLD TESTAMENT, and we don't read the OT, because we don't believe most of those stories, anyway, like those three Hebrew boys, and that fourth man, supposedly walking around in that fiery furnace and the three boys coming out alive, or like Jonah being stuck alive in the belly of that big fish, for three days, and we’re NOT living under the LAW anymore, anyway, right? Aren’t we all about the NEW TESTAMENT, where GOD is LOVE, and we’re living in the CHURCH AGE, the TIME of GRACE, and we’re covered, and we don’t even need to repent anymore, no matter how many times we supposedly sin (‘cause that’s what some preacher said, right?). So, we can pretty much live anyway we want, doing our own thing and still make it to Heaven, all without changing how we think, what we do, what we say, or how we behave, right? ‘Cause GOD is GOOD and JESUS is LOVE, so He really wouldn’t send us to hell, if hell is really REAL, right? We’re not criminals; we’re not drug addicts; we haven’t killed anybody; we haven’t even gotten a speeding ticket; we haven’t hurt anybody, not really; we’re GOOD people; so, aren’t we entitled to spend eternity in HEAVEN? Don’t we DESERVE it?
THIS is the mindset of a lot of people, including so-called believers, in this generation, where many of us don't know the ways of GOD, the will of GOD, the WORD of GOD, the acts of GOD, the character of GOD, the nature of GOD, the SPIRIT of GOD, or the heart of GOD—mainly because often—most non-believing JEWS do not read or know what’s included in the New Testament in the Bible, especially in the nation of Israel, where JESUS is often the most well-kept secret and/or the most hated name, and many of the so-called GENTILE (non-Jewish) believers, here and abroad, including some so-called preachers, won’t even read or even address many of the prophecies in the Old Testament, when the ENTIRE BIBLE, including ALL 66 books, from Genesis to Revelation, are all ABOUT HIM—GOD—JESUS—telling HIS STORY as much as anybody else’s, after all in the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was with GOD and the WORD was GOD, according to the GOSPEL of JOHN.
A lot of non-believing Jews think JESUS is CATHOLIC--and just for the GENTILES, too--and they, like some of us, as believefs, actually think CHRIST is His last name, (which it is not, but it is really HIS TITLE, in Greek, which means MESSIAH, in Hebrew, which really means, ‘THE ANOINTED ONE’), and a lot of misinformed and/or so-called believers think of JESUS as being anemic and weak, fit for punishment, a good beating, name-calling, all-out mocking and perpetual torture, and they often equate His “humility,” “obedience to the FATHER,” and “meekness,” as signs of weakness, and He is often portrayed in movies and the media as such, meek and weak, or as a good man, a good prophet, a good teacher, and a good “rebel” with a cause, or some see Him as only a suffering Servant, who really didn’t deserve all the torture and “hell” He got on earth; even more people see Him like some cool and trendy guru, all about “free” love, like some 1960s or 1970s hippie, with a bobble head, they can put on their dashboard, with his plastic smile, long dark hair, and pale-blue eyes.
Most of us really have no clue about WHO EXACTLY JESUS IS, because a lot of people have misrepresented Him, a lot of people have STOLEN and even hi-jacked HIS IDENTITY: So, it may be hard for us in this generation or this century to recognize and accept this truth: JESUS IS MORE THAN A SUFFERING SERVANT, MORE THAN OUR SAVIOR, MORE THAN SOMEBODY’s STATUE, MORE THAN SOMEBODY’s, PAINTING, MORE THAN SOMEBODY’s MAN-MADE IMAGE; MORE THAN SOME COMEDIAN’s PUNCHLINE, MORE THAN SOME ATHEIST’s CURSE WORD; and MORE THAN SOME SO-CALLED or LUKEWARM BELIEVER’s ‘GET-OUT-OF-HELL’ or “FIRE INSURANCE” CARD; because, really and truthfully,JESUS is the SON of GOD; JESUS is the SON of MAN; JESUS is the LORD of lords; JESUS is the KING of kings; JESUS is the CHRIST—the MESSIAH—the ANOINTED ONE; JESUS is the GOOD SHEPHERD; JESUS is the LIGHT of the WORLD; JESUS is the BREAD of LIFE; JESUS is the TRUE VINE; JESUS is the BRANCH; JESUS is IMMANUEL—GOD WITH US; JESUS is YESHUA—OUR SALVATION; JESUS is the LIVING WATER; JESUS is the RESURRECTION; JESUS is the WORD (MADE FLESH); JESUS is the CHIEF CORNERSTONE; JESUS is OUR HIGH PRIEST; JESUS is the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our FAITH: JESUS is OUR MEDIATOR; JESUS is OUR ADVOCATE; JESUS is OUR HEALER; JESUS is OUR DELIVERER; JESUS is OUR REDEEMER; JESUS is the PRINCE of PEACE;JESUS is OUR LAMB; JESUS is the DOOR; JESUS is the GATE; JESUS is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE; JESUS is THE LION of the TRIBE of JUDAH; JESUS is THE ALPHA and the OMEGA—the BEGINNING and the END; JESUS is the WARRIOR KING; JESUS is the RIGHTEOUS JUDGE; JESUS is the LORD of ALL; because JESUS IS EVERYTHING, and HIS IS THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES, and according to the WORD of GOD—in the Old Testament and in the New Testament—especially in the book of Philippians—EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW and EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS that JESUS CHRIST is LORD.
But it isn't really about our choice of socialism, communism, or capitalism; it isn't really just our vote for Republican or Democratic politicians and platforms; it's really our choice about who or what we put our faith and trust in; who or what we accept as our god, fit to rule and reign over us, controlling every aspect of our lives, and which political platform both honors and aligns with the WORD and the WILL of GOD: man-made governments (socialism, communism, capitalism, man-made kingdoms) or the Government/Kingdom of GOD, with the only true and living GOD, as the LORD of lords and the KING of kings in our lives.
The same happened in the Bible, with the nation of Israel, during the time of Judges, with the prophet Samuel; GOD was not only GOD; He was the KING of the Israelites. But the Israelites grumbled, complained, and rebelled, telling Samuel that they wanted a human king, like the other nations around them had, and when Samuel, who was troubled and disheartened, relayed their request or demands to GOD; GOD told Samuel, the judge and deliverer that He had chosen for His people, that the Israelites had not rejected him, Samuel; they had rejected HIM: GOD (as their KING, their LEADER, their PROTECTOR, their PROVIDER, their WARRIOR, and their AVENGER). So, GOD gave the people what they wanted: a human king: the first, KING SAUL, then KING DAVID, then KING SOLOMON who eventually turned them over to idolatry; then KING REHOBOAM, and then the KINGDOM was DIVIDED, as part of GOD's JUDGMENT against the idolatry through KING SOLOMON's reign, and there were good and evil kings in the NORTHERN KINGDOM (Israel, with 10 tribes) and good and evil kings through the lineage of KING DAVID, in the SOUTHERN KINGDOM (Judah, with 2 tribes), until finally the people rebelled and sinned so much against GOD, that GOD judged them, having the Assyrians attack Israel, the Northern Kingdom, leading the people into exile; and later, having the Babylonians attack Judah, the Southern Kingdom, and leading the Jews from the land into exile, for more than 70 years. Later, the Jews would return to their homeland, but they would then be ruled by others, including the Greeks and the Romans, who effectively destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD, some 40 years after the Jews had rejected JESUS as the Messiah and KING of the JEWS.
For three and a half years, JESUS, (YESHUA, in Hebrew), who unlike Adam, who was created by GOD, a full-grown man likely in his 30s, entered the earth as a baby born in Bethlehem, through a virgin birth made possible through the HOLY SPIRIT, with a Jewish mother, Mary, (Miriam, in Hebrew), of the lineage of KING DAVID, and through the legal adoption of JESUS by a Jewish father, Joseph, also of the lineage of KING DAVID, so JESUS would have a legitimate and legal right as the SON of GOD AND the SON of MAN (AND the SON of DAVID) to the future throne of KING DAVID, from the TRIBE of JUDAH, and JESUS, in HIS 30s, had an ongoing ministry on earth, as equally the SON of GOD and the SON of Man, a title alluding to some OT references regarding the Messiah, the CHRIST, the Anointed One.
Later, during the time of PASSOVER, JESUS was crucified, along with two thieves, and was buried in a borrowed tomb, fulfilling many OT prophecies, including those in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53; and afterward, He descended into hell, stripped the devil, death, and the grave of power and authority over mankind and the earth; and He was resurrected by GOD; spent about forty days, in the presence of some 500 people in His immortal, resurrected body, teaching on earth about the KINGDOM of GOD; and then He ascended into Heaven, to be seated at the right hand of GOD the Father in Heaven, as our High Priest, Advocate, and Mediator.
Meanwhile, on earth, during this time, the Christians were persecuted and most of them were scattered around the world; the Jews, believers and non-believers alike, who were not tortured and/or killed, were exiled throughout the world, and the nation of Israel was no more on earth UNTIL the OLD TESTAMENT prophecies were fulfilled when the nation of Israel was reborn in ONE DAY: May 14, 1948. And anybody who has a problem with the nation of Israel existing or is preaching some replacement theology about the Church taking Israel's place in GOD's eternal plan or those who want to rant and rave about the Jewish people inhabiting the land that GOD--who IS SOVEREIGN, who IS the KING of kings and the LORD of lords and who IS the CREATOR of everything, the heavens and the earth--has promised them and given them for all time and has returned to them yet again, should really READ the BIBLE, from Genesis to Revelation and voice their complaints and OPINIONS to GOD, the LANDLORD and LANDOWNER, because the WORD of GOD and the Scriptures are ALL ABOUT GOD, ABOUT JESUS, and ALL ABOUT ISRAEL and the JEWISH PEOPLE, WHOM GOD LOVES and GOD INTENDS to SAVE and REDEEM. And there are some verses in the BIBLE, where Israel is called GOD's FIRSTBORN, where ISRAEL is CALLED the APPLE of GOD's EYE, where ISRAEL is CALLED the NATION of GOD, where JEWS and the ISRAELITES are called the PEOPLE of GOD, where JESUS is CALLED the KING of the JEWS, where JESUS chooses and commissions 12 JEWISH DISCIPLES/APOSTLES, and where GOD says the GIFTS of GOD ARE IRREVOCABLE. And even in the OT, GOD told ABRAHAM that through HIM and HIS DESCENDANTS, the nations would be BLESSED, and in the NT, JESUS told one Samaritan woman, I believe at the well: SALVATION is of the JEWS.
THROUGH JESUS, we are all new creations, and through JESUS, GOD tore down the wall of separation between JEW and GENTILE, and HE created ONE NEW MAN, in CHRIST, which is mentioned by the apostle Paul, in the book of Ephesians, I believe: JEW and GENTILE, together, as part of the BODY of CHRIST: the two primary groups of witnesses for JESUS (the SON of GOD) and GOD the FATHER (the only true, living GOD in covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
In the OT and the NT, JESUS is called THE BRANCH, the TRUE VINE, and the Israelites and Jews were called symbolically the natural OLIVE TREES and we Gentiles, as believers, were the wild branches grafted into the FAMILY TREE of GOD, and our existence in part, according to the BIBLE and the apostle Paul, is to provoke non-believing Jews to jealousy, so they'll be drawn to JESUS, the Messiah, the Savior, and be saved, redeemed, and reconciled to the ONE,TRUE, LIVING GOD; later, in the NT, in the book of Revelation, JESUS reveals the CHURCH symbolically as a lampstand, and it is quite interesting, since most preachers teach that believers will be raptured or gathered with the saints and "snatched" out of here, without going through any of the Great Tribulation, mentioned in the Bible, and also because nothing is ever wasted in the WORD of GOD, that later in the book of Revelation, the two End-time witnesses are referred to as "olive trees" AND "lampstands," which some have suggested could represent BOTH GROUPS of Witnesses in the BODY of CHRIST, working together, spreading the GOSPEL and doing great exploits, similar to those of the OT prophet Elijah and the deliverer and lawgiver, Moses during their time, in our battle against the Anti-christ: both JEWS/Israelites (olive trees) and Gentiles/the Church (the lampstands).
So, what if believers aren't raptured or snatched away, at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, escaping all this One-World Order/One-World Government and One-World Church business, the persecution and killing of believers, the mark of the beast business (which doesn't mean getting a tattoo necessarily but may mean accepting the "mark" of the beast through this corrupt, often demonic world system, which will be under the anti-christ's control, by consenting to being genetically or biologically altered, and willingly receiving a "micro-CHIP," implanted in the hand or forehead, so it will be more convenient to travel, to buy and sell and to conduct business in a new digital age, so we don't need cash or cards or have that fear of contamination or contagious diseases, passed on through human contact or touch), or having to actually stand up for JESUS, for GOD, and challenge and confront the anti-christ? Just something else to consider or likely ignore and NOT think about, right?
THUS, the people of GOD were restored as a nation and they returned to the land GOD had promised them and had given them, years--thousands of years--before for all time, because it's GOD's property and He can give it to whomever HE CHOOSES; and thus, the tick-tock of the eternal clock and the calendar pages of times, along with the flipping of pages through Genesis to Revelation, with all the seasons and signs of wonders are hastily speeding THIS GENERATION--our GENERATION--ever closer to the END TIMES and the SECOND COMING of JESUS CHRIST: This Time as The WARRIOR KING.
Isn't it interesting that this Passover season in 2020, with the world-wide spread of the coronavirus and a global "stay-at-home" or international "quarantine" mandate seemed biblical and even similar to the first Passover mentioned in the Bible in the book of Exodus, in regard to the Israelites and the tenth plague against the Egyptians, in which the death angel claimed the lives of all of the firstborn, except those who were in covenant with and protected by GOD, indicated by their agreement to "self-quarantine" or stay closed in at home, and obey GOD's command, in terms of sacrificing a lamb and covering their doorposts with the blood? Their protection and salvation then was the blood of an unblemished lamb (an animal); our protection and salvation now is also the BLOOD of the LAMB, but our LAMB is the SON of GOD: JESUS (who is the CHRIST, the Messiah, the Anointed One).
But here's the sad part: most of us, as believers, don't know and often don't learn from history, so we're still making the same mistakes, and many of us don't know our Bibles that well, and we don't know how really to discern the season or times, so we aren't ready or even prepared for JESUS, the BRIDEGROOM or the KING of kings, because more than ever, when we should be united and working together, reaping the harvest; watching and waiting, expecting JESUS' return and getting our houses in order and getting our loved ones saved, and reviving our nations, turning them to GOD and expanding HIS KINGDOM, we are DISTRACTED and DIVIDED, clueless about what's really happening in the spiritual realm; not reading our Bibles, not obeying GOD; not confessing our sins or even repenting; not praying for the salvation, protection, and wisdom of our leaders, our families, our nations; more concerned with getting our "news" and marching orders and "sound-bites" and so-called "unbiased" and "objective" "truth" about hot topics, current issues, and "newsworthy" people from the late-night entertainment shows, from agnostic and often atheistic reporters and/or celebrities, who may or may not believe in JESUS, our GOD, or who may or may not have a hidden or not-so hidden agenda or personal or political bias; or from the daily news outlets, networks, newspapers, magazines, and media, including these: NBC, CBS, CNN and FOX or from social media through Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, relying on them more than relying more so on the Bible, the WORD of GOD, or the Spirit of GOD to guide us, direct us, and instruct us in how to live, how to think, who to vote for, who to pray for, and how to apply godly and biblical principles and values in a contemporary world; more concerned about getting refund checks, stimulus checks, reparation checks, and bail-outs, than getting right with GOD, going to church, sharing the gospel, applying the WORD of GOD, walking in faith, not fear, or drawing anybody else to CHRIST 'cause we think that's just the preacher's job, not ours, when in truth, JESUS, commissioned all of HIS DISCIPLES, past and present, to GO into all nations, sharing the GOOD NEWS, the gospel, teaching them to obey HIS commands, making them HIS DISCIPLES TOO and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And these would be the signs following JESUS' disciples; they would teach, even preach, with authority and power, they would lay hands on the sick and the sick would be healed, they would cast out demons, they would raise the dead, and they would have supernatural or divine protection.
And here's the truth nobody really wants to hear: We ALL don’t go to Heaven or spend eternity in the presence of GOD just because we are all GOOD people, or because of any good deeds we have done or because of anything any priest or preacher has said or because of any money we have paid or charity we have supported, according to our standards; we only go to Heaven or spend eternity in the presence of GOD, because we are SAVED, we are REDEEMED, we are FORGIVEN, we are RECONCILED to GOD, and we are JUSTIFIED, SANCTIFIED, and MADE RIGHTEOUS and CLEAN through EVERYTHING JESUS DID and PAID FOR on the CROSS of CALVARY, through shedding HIS BLOOD, through HIS DEATH,
BURIAL, RESURRECTION, and ASCENSION, and, therefore, OUR NAMES are written in the Lamb’s BOOK of LIFE.
If our names are not registered in the BOOK of LIFE, we are not recognized as children of GOD, nor are we considered to be citizens of Heaven, so we will not be spending eternity in the presence of the LORD; we will be spending eternity in hell, then the lake of fire, and we will be separated from the presence of the LORD, GOD, forever, because it’s all a matter of the heart; it’s all a matter of choice; and it’s all a matter of free will.
Either we choose JESUS, accepting and receiving Him as our LORD and SAVIOR, we align ourselves and side with GOD, or we choose the adversary, rejecting JESUS, rejecting GOD, and spend eternity with him, the adversary, the devil, first, in hell, then in the lake of fire. THESE are the only two options, two sides, two camps, two teams, we have, as believers: JESUS (GOD) or the adversary (the devil). And we can think about it all as believers like this: The devil is PRO-CHOICE, DO WHATEVER YOU WANT RIGHT NOW: (His message: CHOOSE ME; WORSHIP ME, and your life will be a party, all about having a good time, being happy, and feeling nothing but pleasure, and you’ll be able to do anything and everything you want, whatever you think is right, for you and yours, because you don’t need any rules, any regulations, anybody telling you how to live, how to act, how to think, who to love, how to behave, or what to believe, and you don’t have to be accountable to anybody, but yourself);
JESUS (the SON of GOD) is PRO-LIFE, FOR ETERNITY (HIS message: I CHOSE YOU, because I HAVE LOVED YOU, since before the foundation of the world, and I WANT YOU to be MINE, and MINE ALONE--to ABIDE IN ME, as I ABIDE IN YOU, and as the FATHER ABIDES IN ME, and I ABIDE IN HIM, so REPENT, confessing your sins, turning away from WILLFULLY SINNING, from that carnal, flesh-centered, proud, rebellious, self-reliant, and pleasure-seeking mindset and lifestyle; ACCEPT ME as Your LORD and SAVIOR; HUMBLE YOURSELF; SUBMIT to GOD; SURRENDER to HIM; LIVE for HIM, WORSHIP HIM and BE HOLY, SANCTIFIED, PERFECT, CONSECRATED, RIGHTEOUS, a LIVING SACRIFICE—OBEYING GOD and RESISTING the devil, and doing whatever GOD wants, whatever HE commands you to do, because in the book of John, in chapter 17, JESUS says, ETERNAL LIFE is KNOWING HIM, GOD--FELLOWSHIPPING with HIM, BEING in HIS PRESENCE and HAVING a PERSONAL, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP with HIM.) And GOD says in HIS WORD that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of GOD is ETERNAL LIFE; however, the adversary says, we can do anything we want; it’s our life; it’s our body; it’s our choice, after all. But again, GOD says, in HIS WORD, from Genesis to Revelation, we must love, worship, and obey HIM, because we are not our own; we are HIS ALONE (by creation, redemption, and adoption)—PAID FOR IN FULL—by HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON: JESUS CHRIST—so it’s all HIS WAY—the HIGH-WAY—the RIGHT WAY—the ONLY WAY.
And it's not about having any RELIGION, really; it's about a RELATIONSHIP with JESUS, with GOD. So, the life we live, especially as believers, is not our own; therefore, we live unto the LORD and we die unto the LORD, and whether we live or die, we are the LORD’s. And according to John 14:6: JESUS is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, and nobody comes to the FATHER except through HIM: and this is the GIFT of LOVE, the GIFT of GRACE, the GIFT of FAITH, the GIFT of Eternal Life--that JESUS TOOK OUR PLACE, in the GREAT EXCHANGE, and HE PAID for OUR SINS, so we could be RECONCILED to GOD the FATHER, EVEN THOUGH HE--JESUS--WAS PERFECT and SINLESS. So yes, GOD is GOOD, GOD is JUST, and GOD is LOVE; He is unchanging, and JESUS is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But NONE of us will enter the KINGDOM of GOD, including Heaven, if we are not BLOOD-BOUGHT, REDEEMED, SAVED, RECONCILED, TRANSFORMED, SPIRIT-LED, and ADOPTED—part of GOD’s FAMILY and if our names are not recorded in the Lamb’s BOOK of LIFE.
And here's something we should all take into consideration and remember, because it is found in the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation: in addition to IDOLATRY, (worshipping false gods), there are generally three national/collective acts that will eventually bring upon judgment from GOD: sexual immorality, shedding of innocent blood, and anti-Semitism (cursing, going against, promoting hatred of or inciting violence in or division of the Jewish people or divisions within the land of Israel, which GOD clearly has set aside, according to the Bible, as HIS PEOPLE, HIS NATION, and HIS INHERITANCE).
Once again the question we should have as believers are these: Are we casting our votes and giving our allegiance in favor of charismatic men and women or in favor and allegiance to GOD, who more than once in the Old and the New Testaments indicates that Judgment with GOD begins in the HOUSE of GOD, which would include the CHURCH--the BODY of CHRIST--and He clearly indicates that we will have to give an account of every idle word spoken on earth and every act and work will be tested by the Righteous Judge JESUS, according to the WORD of GOD. And this might not bode well for those so-called believers who promote hatred, violence, division, lawlessness, racism, and murder publicly, in word or action, because GOD searches and knows what's really in our hearts, and those who are really HIS, and even JESUS says, a tree (which would be us generally, as believers) is known by the fruit it bears, whether it be GOOD or BAD--of GOD or of the adversary, the devil.
And here's another nugget in the WORD of GOD: Even when we do get to Heaven or even when we are with CHRIST during HIS millennial reign on earth from Jerusalem, we won't be doing NOTHING, nor will we be floating on clouds playing harps; we'll be WORSHIPPING AND WORKING, ruling and reigning with CHRIST JESUS--the KING of kings. And which believer, follower, or disciple of GOD from Genesis to Revelation was ever exempted from doing something productive and meaningful with his or her life, including work? Even the apostle Paul, a great man of GOD, worked not only in ministry but in the marketplace, because he knew back then, nothing is ever really free, and the cost of following GOD, JESUS, means we're required to give everything, just like HE--GOD--DID, and that means we are living sacrifices--set aside for GOD--and we give him our lives, our hearts, our souls, our minds, our might, our time, our treasures, and our talents.
And this is what I try to do, as much as I can, through the instruction, the guidance, and the work of the HOLY SPIRIT, because I know GOD loves me, and He wants me to trust Him with every part of my life and my being, and I know that even though I may makes mistakes and take some wrong turns in life, making some detours, GOD still has me covered, as long I submit to Him, surrendering my will for His, and my ways for His, and He will lead me where I need to be, at the right time, in the right season, at the right place. I'm supposed to be looking GOD-ward, toward JESUS; I'm supposed to be living a Cross-centered life, which is really a Christ-centric life, which means a surrendered life, SOULED-OUT, 100 percent to JESUS, GOD.
I HARDLY EVER DO what other people expect me to do, because I consider myself one of GOD's ROYAL MASTERPIECES--AN ORIGINAL CREATION--UNIQUELY ME--not a clone or carbon copy of anybody else. So, after my double stint in the hospital, where I was basically doing nothing productive or creative; after my leave of absence from work; after my mom's double stint in the hospital; during this coronavirus quarantine, and this season of Passover, Resurrection, and Pentecost, GOD HAS RESET ME and PUT my focus, my heart, and my mind back on HIM.
That's why at my ripe old age, I am actively learning and engaged deeply in the WORD of GOD, striving to apply what I learn every week in such online classes as these: 1-Faith I; 2-Prayer I; 3-Introduction to Praise and Worship; 4-Old Testament; 5-Foundation of the Christian Faith; 6-End Times and the Book of Revelation. And in a week or so, I'll be writing my first few essays for these classes, with such topics and prompts as these: 1-Write an essay explaining how you have applied what you have learned in this class, about faith, prayer, praise and worship. 2-Write an essay in which you identify with one person from the Old Testament. And ALL of my instructors EXPECT me to be a DOER and not just a HEARER of the WORD, and all of these online classes are intense, with weekly videos that are nearly 2 hours long, full of information, Bible history, and Bible verses.
In addition to taking the online classes in ministry, I'm researching for and rewriting a novel that I had originally written in 2011, called SHIELD of FAITH, about a police officer named JUSTICE SHIELD, who lost his wife tragically three weeks after their wedding to a senseless murder, who also was involved in a shooting three months later that left one mentally-ill teenager with a gun dead in a family park and another teenage bystander paralyzed and left JUSTICE on administrative leave, angry with GOD, contemplating suicide, and sleeping with a gun under his pillow until his parents, his in-laws, and his friends set him up professionally and romantically with DR. FREEDOM WOOD, a fiercely independent and spirit-filled psychologist, who secretly dreams of marriage and a family but who is still dealing with the pain, betrayal, and heartache she suffered when she was jilted at the altar and later discovered that the man she had intended to marry had shortly married someone else.
That was the original story, that I had finished but never submitted to any agent or even tried to get published, but GOD has put on my heart to revisit and rewrite this story, looking at it from an eternal, kingdom of GOD perspective, similar to what I did in my second book, THE PRIDE PROMISE (2019): This means an all-inclusive, BODY of CHRIST, multicultural cast of characters, DIFFERENT and DIVERSE but UNITED as brothers and sisters in JESUS CHRIST: So, there will be Jews and Gentiles, SOULED-OUT for JESUS; there will be believers from different races and places: Blacks (African-Americans), Whites, Hispanics, Asians, Africans, Arabs, etc, worshipping TOGETHER and sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom, outside the four walls of a church building or temple in a ministry of reconciliation in what some call Marketplace Ministry. After all, GOD is creative and most of His ministry and His miracles have taken place outside the synagogue, the temple, and the church.
GOD promotes UNITY in the Kingdom of GOD and the BODY of CHRIST; mankind alone has perfected and promoted segregation and division, like kind with like kind, different kind with different kind, according to race, gender, nation, denomination, political party, region, class, socioeconomic status, etc., even though JESUS has said in the NT that a kingdom (even a nation) divided will not stand; only the Kingdom of GOD is eternal; only the Kingdom of GOD will forever stand. So, now that I'm more mature spiritually as a believer in JESUS CHRIST, and now that I am more grounded and rooted in the WORD of GOD, led by the Spirit of GOD, having the Bible, in different translations (NKJV, KJV, NIV, NLT, NASB, TPT, etc), including the Messianic Jewish Tree of Life translation, and I read the Bible(s) as much as I can, continually doing so, not out of duty or obligation, but out of great love for the WORD of GOD and a great passion for learning more about GOD through the 66 books of HIS story, and praying fervently every day and fellowshipping with the Lord constantly, fervently seeking His presence, and I am no longer a "politically correct" Undercover Christian, who remains invisible, passive, inactive, lukewarm, and silent, especially on matters of faith, I have no problem telling anybody that my first love and my first priority is JESUS, GOD, and my salvation and identity are found in HIM: not in what I do, where I come from, any group or gender affiliation, political party or church denomination.
More than any of these, I AM a child of GOD, a follower of JESUS CHRIST, and my first allegiance will always be to GOD, who is my Creator, my heavenly Father, my LORD, my Savior, my KING, the Author and Finisher of my Faith, and last, but not least, my Righteous Judge, for in His Word, in Psalms, He says it is better to please GOD than princes/men, and in the New Testament, JESUS even warns us that it is better to fear GOD, who can destroy both body and soul than man who can only destroy the body, and He poses this question: What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?
GOD's WORD, from Genesis to Revelation, is truth, and it doesn't return unto Him void, but it accomplishes that for which it is sent, and many times in the OLD TESTAMENT, the WORD of GOD says that Righteousness and Justice are the foundation of GOD's throne, and that GOD is not the Author of chaos and confusion; hence, we have the Ten Commandments, which are instructions for how GOD wants us as believers to live, and it is all about loving GOD and loving others, which JESUS teaches us more about in the New Testament, and as JESUS SAID, repeating the WORD of GOD from the OT, we are supposed to love the LORD with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and also, we are to love others as ourselves, and finally, He didn't come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it, and as 21st century believers in JESUS, we are to be equipped, empowered, taught, and led by the HOLY SPIRIT in obeying GOD's commands, abiding by HIS WORD, and living according to His Standard. Proverbs 6:16-19 in the OT of the Bible record the 6 things that GOD hates, 7 that are an abomination to HIM: 1) a proud look, 2) a lying tongue, 3) hands that shed innocent blood, 4) a heart that devises wicked plans, 5) feet that are swift in running to evil, 6) a false witness who speaks lies, 7) and one who sows discord among brethren.
Micah 6:8 in the OT of the Bible records what is good and what the LORD requires of us: 1) to do justly, 2) to love mercy, 3) to walk humbly with our GOD.
And here are the Ten Commandments: A Quick Review of GOD's Standard for Law and Order:
1) You should have no other gods before HIM. (This is idolatry, anything you put before HIM, which is basically rejecting GOD or putting Him on the backburner. GOD is jealous, so He takes offense to false gods, whether they be objects, people, or places)
2) You should not make any graven images. (This is idolatry, too, worshipping the creation or idols (of wood, metal, stone, clay, etc) more than or before the Creator, such as animals, statues, moon, sun, trees, etc. Again, GOD is jealous, so He will not tolerate idols and He considers these things CURSED, and they often bring curses upon the people who worship them or even have them displayed in their homes, etc)
3) You should not use the Lord's name in vain (This is profaning the Lord's name, and people will be judged for disrespecting His name, which is HOLY, set above every other name)
4) Honor the Sabbath (keeping it holy) (This means resting and relaxing and devoting at least one day (traditionally Saturday, the seventh day) to the LORD and/or family)
5) You should not kill (This means murder, and GOD really hates the shedding of innocent blood, (which would include child sacrifice, past and present), which GOD mentions repeatedly in the Bible, especially in the OT, and JESUS clarified in the NT that we are not to have an eye-for-an-eye type mentality, but we are to forgive and love and pray for our enemies and let GOD who is JUST, judge the wicked/wrongdoers and be our Avenger)
6) You should not steal (This means taking somebody else's property, somebody else's possession, somebody else's husband, wife, child or children, and this includes "looting" and taking those office supplies from work as well)
7) You should not covet (This means being jealous and envious, because you are not satisfied with what you have, and you don't have what somebody else has, or you don't think that person deserves what he or she has, and you want what that other person has, for instance, money or property, or somebody else's husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend or somebody else's job, business, or lifestyle. I'm pretty sure this also means respecting other people's property, which means arson, burning, destroying, vandalizing, robbing, and targeting somebody's else's business, car, home, or property, in order to loot or for personal gain or out of anger, vengeance, and spite is on GOD's Do-not-Do LIST, especially if you are calling yourself a follower or disciple of JESUS CHRIST. He didn't even take up John and James's offer to call fire down from heaven to destroy those townsfolk who had rejected JESUS and His disciples.)
8) You should not bear false witness (This means you should not lie, try to take somebody down by talking "trash" about them, without knowing the truth, intentionally trying to discredit somebody by spreading a negative report about them that is clearly not true, or intentionally deceiving others, which is basically giving a false/untrue report or spreading "fake news".
And GOD associates lying and giving a false report, to misrepresent somebody, with the devil, who is the father of lies, and He really hates lies, to the point of saying He will not tolerate liars in His presence)
9) You shall not commit adultery (This means cheating with someone else's husband or wife, defiling the marriage bed and not respecting the sanctity of marriage, as laid out biblically by GOD)
10) Honor your father and mother (GOD is family-oriented, so He expects love, honor, unity, fellowship, obedience, and respect, even at the family level, and this is HOW He sees the family dynamics, according to the WORD of GOD: GOD the Father, JESUS the Son, Father (Man of the House, the spiritual "priest" of the household), Mother (Woman of the House, the Husband's Companion, Helpmate), Child/Children).
So, that's the overview of GOD's Standard/HIS VISION, (what most of us should have learned in Sunday school or at least in a good Christian home), and here's something else: GOD is our BOSS, our LORD, our FATHER, our CREATOR, our MASTER, our KING, and He does not tolerate lawlessness, rebellion, pride, disobedience, violence, or willful sin, whether it be found in angels, women, or men.
What happened to Lucifer? to the fallen angels? to Adam? to Eve? to Cain? to the Tower of Babel? during the Great Flood? to Sodom and Gomorrah? to Pharaoh? to the unbelieving, idolatrous Israelites in the wilderness? to Miriam? to Korah the Levite and the 250 leaders protesting and opposing Moses' authority? to Moses after he struck the rock for water in anger, disobeying GOD's command? to the Canaanites? to Balaam? to King Saul? to King David? to his son Absalom? to King Hezekiah? to the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel? to Jezebel? to Jonah? to the Babylonians? to King Herod? to Ananias? to his wife Sapphira? to Judas? to Saul on the road to Damascus?
GOD is not interested in our opinions about what He says, what He does, who He favors, who He uses, who He elects, who He exalts, who He promotes, who He saves, who He delivers, who He condemns, who He judges, who He rejects, HOW He governs or HOW He operates, in word or action; He's more interested in our heart, our soul, our mind, our submission, our humility, our repentance, our redemption, our salvation, our obedience. WHY? Because He's Sovereign, HE's GOD, and He can do whatever He wants with anything that He has created, that He is the LORD OF and that HE OWNS--which is everything, including us; hence, the events of the Great Flood and the Tower of Babel in the book of Genesis.
All throughout history, including BIBLE HISTORY, from Genesis to Revelation, there have generally been two sides, two teams, two camps, two categories, and/or two groups of people who get bold and courageous, even zealous, at times, and really rally around a cause, in word and/or action: THOSE COMING OUT for JUSTICE (upholding, promoting, and enforcing law and order, legally, with authority and power) and THOSE COMING OUT for VENGEANCE (upholding and promoting law enforcement, illegally, usually through vigilantism, where one or more people are inflicting punishment in return for an injury or offense, often, without legal authority, and usually by consent or through the participation of a self-appointed group of people).
And we can probably classify these two groups like this: The JUSTICE LEAGUE and The AVENGERS. Haven't we heard of these before? In comics? graphic novels? cartoons? movies? You mean, we can use these, too? Tie them in--creatively? to the Bible? the spirit realm? To faith? To fiction? Non-fiction? Family fiction? Christian fiction? WOW! THAT's GREAT!
So, finally, here it is: The tie-in: The comic bookstores are open again, so I can indulge in my other passion, reading Batman (Rebirth), Catwoman, and other DC Comics, including all of the Justice League superheroes, because I've always been partial to the JUSTICE LEAGUE, whether on television, with the Saturday morning or daily cartoons or in recent years, in the DC animated films, released on DVD; however, I have acquired a recent taste over the last few years for some of the Marvel superheroes, like Ironman, Captain America, Black Panther, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, mainly through my introduction to them through the Marvel superhero movies, that have spanned a decade, including, of course, those mega-movies, THE AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and THE AVENGERS: ENDGAME.
Even though I've flirted recently with MARVEL superheroes, I'm still, by nature, a DC superhero fan, and that really began back with those Superman movies, starring Christopher Reeve, that I grew up on from the late 70's and throughout the 80s; the Justice League and Superfriends cartoons from the 80s; the BATMAN: ANIMATED series, that really hooked me on Batman & Catwoman from the 90s; the BATMAN movies from the 90s, starring Michael Keaton, and, especially the one featuring Michelle Pffeifer as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, where they both flirt, dance, and share that classic line: 'Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it. But a kiss can be even deadlier, if you mean it"; and I always enjoyed the JUSTICE LEAGUE animated series that aired on television throughout the 90s, early 2000s; and, of course, all the recent DC-animated movies.
Even though I've always liked and respected Superman/Clark Kent, more so during the Christopher Reeve era; I've always liked, related to on a human level, and connected more to Batman/Bruce Wayne, more so in the cartoons, animated movies, and the comics and/or graphic novels, and I even have a book now on the psychology of Batman, written by another fan, from an academic perspective, and I've always loved, since BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, that partnership and "romantic" spark between Batman/Bruce and Catwoman/Selina, often wondering: Will they or won't they get together? Will they or won't they get married?
And this year, both Batman and Catwoman are celebrating their 80th anniversary, and since I have a fondness for these two and secretly hope they'll get married in the 21st century, I plan to incorporate them into my SHIELD of FAITH story in a creative and entertaining way; because, after all, BATMAN is known as the World's Greatest Detective, which will play well with my character, Justice Shield, who likes and admires Batman and Sherlock Holmes; and my re-imagined character, Dr. Freedom (Faith) Cross, will also admire Selina/Catwoman and will have her classic look, and she will also likely have Selina's spunk, spirit--because Selina (the Cat) from the beginning in the 1940s was created to be Batman's rival, equal, ally (at times) and potential love interest, with her trademark black hair and green eyes. And Selina was meant to be complex--a female version of Batman, neither completely evil nor completely good, and throughout most of their time together, as friends, foes--frenemies--partners and lovers, playing the Bat and the Cat since the 1940s, Batman/Bruce Wayne has been trying to get her to change and reform her ways.
Here's something interesting too: many of the creators of some of the most well-known superheros from the comics (DC and Marvel) were Jewish, like Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster (creators of Superman), Stan Lee, (co-creator of Spider-man, Black Panther) and Bob Kane, who, with co-creator, Bill Finger, saw Batman and Catwoman as rivals, equals, AND potential allies and partners (professionally and romantically). So, Bruce and Selina DID get married on Earth 2 back in the 1970s and 80s and they had a daughter named Helena, who later became the original Huntress after her mother died tragically.
Then there's my fascination with twins, like the twins in the Bible (Jacob and Esau through Isaac and Rebekah; Pharez and Zarah through Judah and Tamar) and those twins from my younger days as a reader: the Sweet Valley twins (Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield) in a young adult (YA) series (by Francine Pascal) and twin sisters (Louise and Caroline Bradshaw) in another YA book called JACOB HAVE I LOVED (by Katherine Paterson). So, every book of mine has at least one set of twins. Also, my mom is a (fraternal) twin.
And I'm more about building people up, praying for them sincerely, and encouraging them, regardless of race, affiliation, denomination, or politics, drawing them closer to JESUS, to GOD, than arguing with people, judging them, debating what’s right/what’s wrong; cursing people, hating people; and tearing them down, with my words, because I'm all about wielding words for GOOD and for GOD, because one writer and minister says, “our heavenly Father is the sovereign ruler of the greatest Kingdom in the entire universe. The Kingdom is not a congregation; it’s a real government with a king, country (heaven), military (angels), and citizens,” and “like all legitimate governments, the Kingdom of God has a judicial branch of the government of God.”
So, am I perfect? NO. Am I right all the time? NO. Am I good all the time? NO. Do I know everything? NO. Am I color blind? NO.
But I AM BLOOD-BOUGHT and CHRIST-CENTERED. So, this is the least I can do, as a believer and a child of GOD: Walk LIKE JESUS DID: IMITATING HIS Father: GOD.