Who is My Brother?
It has been on my heart recently to talk a little about love. The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays can be particularly challenging for a lot of people. 1John 4:20 tells us “If someone says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar: for the one who does not love, agapao, his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” Agapao love is demonstrated by being full of good will towards, to have preference for, to wish well to, and regard the welfare of. Everyone who born again of God’s spirit is a brother or a sister.
Jesus said in Mt.12:50, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister and mother.” Jesus is my brother and hopefully yours too. A father can be a brother as well as a mother and a sister!
One may not think they actually hate someone else but the absence of love as described above is hate. Love is something that must be proved day in and day out, not something to be assumed. We must reach out to those we love and we must, in particular, love our brothers in Christ. To fail to do so makes us liars, when we say we love God.
Galatians 6:10 tells us, “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” The words I want to emphasize here are “while we have opportunity.” The day will come when that opportunity will no longer be available: they will be dead or we will be. I was fishing the other day with a 38 year old man who lost his father when he was 51…….He expressed to me how he wished he had taken more advantage of him when he was alive.
Let’s not take for granted the lives of our earthly and spiritual families this holiday season or any other and reach out to them, demonstrating the love we have for them and the love we have for God. Tomorrow may be too late.
When you least expect it You may find yourself exactly where you are supposed to be.
Here it is the end of February and my primary New Year’s resolution of promoting my new book seems to have taken a backseat to work. Since retiring from the Landlord business in Arizona some five years ago I began doing odd jobs for folks here in the beach communities of LA County. It seems my services are much needed with the skill set I acquired over the last thirty four years being a roofing contractor and a property manager. I recently made the decision to let my California real estate license expire and am looking to buy a replacement work vehicle to be able to efficiently carry more tools.
My business motto is “No Job Too Small.” My services range from changing light bulbs for elderly widows, to managing the maintenance of a 20 unit apartment building in Santa Monica, to a variety of projects for an eccentric millionaire on Venice Beach. Last year I persuaded the latter individual to partner with me in a boat which we keep in the water here in Marina Del Rey. I think he saw this as a kind of retainer for keeping me nearby, since he rarely goes on it. Yes, God it truly blessing me from areas one can only dream about.
A few weeks back I was in a local market to get a twelve pack of Rolling Rock on a Friday evening for the boat. At the head of the line was a strikingly tall, blonde female in sunglasses. I was inspired to walk up to her. When I did, I asked her if she had an extra $20. She lowered her glasses and asked me, “what for?” I then pointed to one of my books I had put on consignment with the owner, to the lower shelf of the magazine rack. She picked it up, recognizing the picture on the front cover of the Eastern Gate of the wall around Jerusalem. She told me she was one of seventeen children from an Irish Catholic family, who loved religion, but not necessarily that one. She handed the book to the cashier who then handed it back to me for signing. I walked her out of the store, thanking her for buying my book and she told me she was only in town for a few days and lived in South America.
What are the chances of something like that happening on purpose? When my wife and I pray in the morning we generally ask God to direct our steps during our coming day. We never know where we are going to be lead, but know we must always be prepared for when we get there. When God knows your heart, as mine is in marketing my book, He will help you “kill 2 birds with one stone.” The last thing I wanted to do, moving to California five years ago, was to be in a business where people depended on me. But, that is where I find myself. God’s ways are not our ways; His plans, not ours.
If you find yourself what you believe to possibly be “off course,” think again. It may not be the course you had planned but is most likely the one He did. Grow where you have been planted. The answer you may be looking for is usually right under your nose.
P.S. The Barnes & Noble in Marina Del Rey is now stocking my book. I hope they sell out soon. You can also order it from any brick and mortar bookstore or on line at http://www.fredswolfe.com.
Are You Willing to be Criticized?
Happy New Year Everyone!
We are 2 weeks into 2013. Has it taken you by storm? Do you feel more in control of things in your life than you did last year? Or do you feel like you are being swept out to sea by the wave of public opinion?
Those of us who stood for truth during the last election were bitterly demonized for our positions. We were called divisive, unpatriotic, trouble-makers, fabricators, spoil sports, poor losers, etc. Even members of our own families said such things.
As you all know life is a spiritual battle. If you did not personally experience anything like this, then I would say that you need to get in the fight and quit watching the parade of life pass you by. In Real Estate we call the silent majority “Looky Lews;” people who come to an Open House just to see it, with no interest at all in making an offer, getting involved. Are you just a “stander-by?”
I recently watched a video posted on Facebook by David Wells about the spiritual forces grinding down Americans. Throughout the video I am thinking ahead about what one person can do to rebuttal. Suggestions were given at the end of just that. One of them was “to be willing to be criticized.” Most people I know would shudder at the thought. Criticism, whether giving it or receiving it, has been completely vilified in our society. Being able to be criticized for what you believe takes integrity. Knowing what you believe to be true and truthful makes being criticized a badge of courage rather than one of disgrace.
Did you know that the biggest Critic in life is God and His Word, the Bible. All the great believers throughout the ages were severely criticized for their words and deeds. Most of them were accused of heresy, including our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The political leaders of his time were out to murder him from the get go, just because some Persian men said they were looking for him who was born to be the King of the Jews. He hadn’t even done anything to deserve death and didn’t when they finally succeeded thirty years later! Are you willing to die for what you believe? Is what you believe willing to die for?
One of my fellow-labourers in the Word, John Lynn, has done a few teachings on “Words—Words Have Meaning.” People live and die by words everyday. In order for words to have any affect on anyone, they have to be written or spoken. If you are not into writing, then you need to be into speaking. People need to know what you believe; your neighbors need to know what you stand for. What are you afraid of? Criticism, Embarrassment? Being afraid to be who you are is the worst.
We see this in the pre-resurrection Peter. He actually denied Jesus six times, but 3 will suffice. Many of the men who followed Jesus before his murder were in hiding afterwards for four days. They were scared to death. They were probably wondering what they got themselves into, why they didn’t just leave well enough alone and keep doing what they were doing before they met that troublemaker, Jesus. Now they were all in the stew. What had they done?
What they did, is what we need to do: stick our necks out for what we believe. Be willing to be criticized and if need be be willing to have our necks chopped off for doing so. The husband being the head of the wife, is just that: we stick our necks out for our wives just as Christ stuck/sticks his neck out for us. Don’t feel helpless, it is God in Christ in You. You are a majority wherever you go, whatever you do and whatever you say. If God be for us (and He is) who can be against us?
Is the U.S.A. Fundamentally Flawed?
President Obama recently stated that with his re-election America as we know it would become “fundamentally transformed.” Transformation, like most things can be good or evil. The keyword here is fundamentally.
Fundamentally, God is the giver of our inalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. It is in Him that our Founding Fathers trusted. To be advocating the fundamental transformation of our country is treasonous. There is no doubt in my mind that this is what our President is talking about. He can speak all he wants about God, because his god is Allah.
I have stated in many of my blogs as well as my book that the one true God has a name as well, YHWH; pronounced by those who are allowed to, as Yahweh. When I speak about God, I am speaking about Him. Everything the Bible says about YHWH, the Muslims convert to Allah. But, Allah is a counterfeit god.
If you saw “2016” you should remember President Obama’s comments about Zakat. Zakat is suppose to be the obligated giving of wealth by faithful Muslims to the poor. This is, I believe, one of our Presidents biggest platforms, taking from the wealthy and giving to the poorer. This is an aspect of fundamental transformation.
In America, wealth creates wealth for more to be wealthier. YHWH promises wealth and prosperity to those who apply themselves in a godly manner. Government is not suppose to be a source of equality for all, financially. Government should facilitate wealth for all by staying out of our business, not by hampering our efforts. Fundamental transformation is not what we need in America today. What we need to do is re-embrace our fundamentals.
I recently became aware that my father-in-laws brother and his wife were missing or at least unaccounted for. It has been months since anyone has heard from them, not that they spoke a lot or even saw each other except possibly once a year. The guy was always blogging about the Bible and something called the tribulation and the rapture. I enjoyed having dialogue with him on facebook, not that we agreed on anything, but he was always a good sport. I once told him that I may not believe anything he says, but I will always defend his right to say it. Has anyone else noticed any of their Bible-toting friends missing?
I heard recently that there is some guy in Europe that is miraculously healing hundreds, if not thousands of people and that he is suppose to be on some kind of world tour. Have not heard when he is suppose to come here. A friend of mine in Spain said that he even made fire come down from the sky. Not sure if this amounts to anything but it sure would be interesting to meet them. Does anyone think it is possible that these two things are in anyway related?
Until next time,