Monday, May 14, 2012

The Father

By Chet Nowlen
Once upon a time there was a man that took a young bride to share his life.  The wife bore the man sons and he is now referred to as “Father”.  One day a terrible thing happened.  The wife betrayed the “Father” as she had been seduced by another.  The betrayal broke the “Father’s heart, and separation and divorce hurt the “Father” even more.
The wife married the seducer and they became as one.  The sons followed their mother’s direction and one of the sons accepted his new step-father as if he were his natural father.  The “Father” came to visit his sons, but one of the sons ignored him as if he were not even there.  The other son honored the “Father” and gave him honor and respect.  One son could not find anything good that the “Father” had ever done for him, so he ignored him and hoped he would go away.  The other son honored his “Father” and him his time and attention.  This son gave the “Father” thanks for all he had ever done for him.
This story may sound like someone you know and it is.  The “Father” in this story is of our Heavenly Father, God.  The wife is the world and the seducer is of course Satan.  The world and the worldly system are married to Satan.  Satan is the illegal step-father to sons.  The sons are all the children born all over the world since the creation of man.
Notice the parallel of the two sons and first two sons in the Bible, Cain and Abel.  Even though Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, because of their disobedience, God still came to visit His family.  Adam taught his children to honor God, because He was their creator, by giving back to God.  Cain and Abel were the first to tithe to God.
Cain gave 10% of his crop to God as a tithe, but Cain dishonored God by holding back his best for himself.  He only gave to God from the third picking, which is the poorest quality of the harvest.  You see Cain dishonored God by only giving poor quality, whereas Abel honored God by giving Him his very best first.
The two sons represent two classes of people on the earth.  The first is the people that ignore God and hope He will go away.  The second is the people that love God and honor Him in all that they do.  They give him thanks and praise Him. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18
The greatest gift you can give you Heavenly Father is to thank Him and give Him praise for all His blessings He has given you.  Sometimes we take our earthly father’s for granted too.  One of the Ten Commandments is to “Honor your Father and Mother”.  The greatest gift you can give your parent is your respect and honor them with thanks for the many sacrifices they made for you.  Praise them for what they did right and forgive them for what they did wrong.  Take the time to praise them, with your words, as you will not always have your parents.  
If you’ve hurt or disappointed your parents don’t tell your parents to “Get over it!”  That does not heal the wound.  Tell them you are sorry for your selfishness.  Ask them to forgive you and when you do you will heal the hurt and the pain of your selfish words.  Words used the wrong way can cause damage to a person’s body and spirit.

My Resume

By Chet Nowlen
One day I was talking with my Heavenly Father like I would be if I were talking to my best friend.  I said, “There is something that I do not understand.”  He asked, “What is it you want to know.”  I said, “One day I will stand before you and you will open the books of my life and I dread the thought of all the bad things that I have thought, said and done, which I don’t even remember much less asked for forgiveness.  I dread the thought that others will hear all those things written in the book of my life.”
He said, “My son, what is written in the books of your life is not what you think. ‘Think of it this way, when you are ready to change jobs you type a nice resume with all your work history showing your experience and accomplishments.  You did not type any of your past failures or disappointments did you?”  I said, “Well no, no one would hire me if I did that!”  He said, “Well think of what is written in the books of life is your Resume listing your experiences and accomplishments which will determine the job you will have for eternity.”
I said, “Now I’m really confused.  Are you saying that when the books of my life are read my faults and failures will not be read?”  He said, “That’s true because when you, by faith, accepted the fact that my Son, Jesus, paid the price and redeemed you from the curse of death and delivered you from the penalty of sin the spirit man, the eternal you, was changed from death to life eternal.  The spirit man was saved from death but the soul (mind will and emotions) of man is still subject to the fleshly cravings of the body and is in constant battle with itself.  The soul and body of man needs to be renewed daily.  It must be trained in order for the spirit man rule the body as it did before Adam sinned.”
I said, “I think I better understand now, but how do I elevate my spirit man to rule over my mind and body.”  He said, “You cannot do that yourself.  You need to allow the power of the Holy Spirit to make those changes for you.”  I said, “How do I do that?”  He said,  ”When you accepted Jesus My Spirit came to live within your body within your spirit.  My Holy Spirit is inside you and He is constantly talking to your spirit and He speaks to your mind through thoughts, dreams, and meditating on my Words.  The problem is enemy is also speaking to your mind through thoughts, dreams, and meditation on his words.  Your job is to learn to know who is talking to you and to reject lies of the enemy.”
I asked, “Lord, by my worrying about my faults and failures and I listening to the enemy more than to you?”  He said, “Yes, the enemy’s job is to keep your focus on the wrong things in your life and therefore reduce the good things written about you in the book of your life.”
I said, “Lord, what things are written in the books of my life?”  The Lord told me about many different good things that are written in my “Resume of Life” that I was not even aware of or that He would even notice.  My heavenly eternal job is based on the good things that are written in my “Resume of Life.” 
He asked me to share with you that no one can ever be good enough to earn eternal salvation.  Jesus is the only one that was ever “Good enough” and we are only worthy of heaven because we are in Him and He is in us.  We are justified in God’s eyes only because of our relationship in Jesus.
There will come a day when we will all stand before Jesus and some will say to Him, "I have healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead."  He will say to them, "Depart from me because I never knew you . . ." My prayer is that you to know Jesus and He will say to you, "Well done, you have been faithful over a few things and I will make you ruler over many things."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

As We Forgive Our Debtors

By Chet Nowlen

In Matthew 5:42 Jesus said, "Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from do not turn away."  You do the right thing by offering a loan with interest to another believer provided you actually have the funds available to loan.  You should never lend money from that you borrowed or from another loan vehicle like a credit card.  And, secondly make sure its money that you can afford to forgive the loan, and the borrower, should the borrower not be able to repay.

We are all stewards or money managers of God's money and possessions.  He is our source and our provider of all the income we have.  We mistakenly believe its our money and our possessions because we have had to worked so hard to get what we have.  We are not owners of the money or property we manage.  We are stewards or money managers of God's money.  All the money we have is from Him and all He asks is that we pay Him His 10% tithe.  We have all been guilty of not paying him what we owe Him because we have been guilty of feeling that we cannot afford to tithe and keep up with all the bills we have to pay.

When we fail to pay our tithes we are steeling from God because we have decided to manage our money our way and not His way.  We have rebelled against God and made ourselves our own god.  I call this the Cain Mutiny because Cain rebelled against God and did not give God his first fruits of his harvest.  Cain did not give the first or the best of his crop.  Instead he gave from a later harvest which was the poorest part of the harvest.  God mentioned it to Cain and he became angry because God approved his brothers harvest and not his.  God gave him a chance to repent and ask forgiveness, but instead his anger and jealousy caused him to kill his brother Abel.

When we confess our sin of failure to pay Him His tithe (or any of our sins for that matter) and we have repented (changed our mind that is decided to go a different direction) of our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin.  God is a loving and forgiving Father and wants us also be loving and forgiving to those who owe us.  God wants us to be just like Him and to live by His examples and His words.

In the Lord's Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13 specifically verse 12, Jesus said, " And forgive us our debts (debts owed to God) as we forgive or debtors (those that owe us money and are not able to repay)[to forgive also means to give up resentment towards those that are in debt to us and not able to repay]."  After Jesus' example prayer he went on to explain the importance of forgiveness in verse 14, "For if you forgive men their trespasses your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses."

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Whoever Hears these Sayings of Mine and Does Them

by Chet Nowlen

The Bible is filled from cover the cover with a gold mine of truths that God planted in the scriptures for us to dig up from the scriptures and plant them these valuable truths in our hearts.  Jesus laid the foundation for us to build our lives upon in the Parable of the Two Builders.  The key words here are " . . .whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, . . .".

Does means to do what He said.  Jesus' Mother Mary inspired me to search the scriptures when she said, "Do whatever He tells you to do", as I mentioned in my article "What About Mary - Part 2 of 2".

I started with the Gospel of Matthew and began reading with Chapter 1 and verse 1.  As I read I was looking particularly for words whereas He told us to do something.  The interesting thing is not only did I find His "Do" words, but I also found His "Do not do" words.  Do's and Don'ts may make you think that I'm trying change Christianity into a religion.  The bad thing about religions they are all doomed to fail because no one can live a perfect life living under the burden of Do's and Don's.  Following Jesus is not a religion of Do's and Don'ts, but rather its a personal relationship and obedience to His sayings.  We are never perfect on our own as we are still live in a evil and corrupt fleshly body.  We are only perfect in Christ Jesus because in Him we are perfect in the eyes of God.

Every Do and Don't that Jesus told us are tools He gave us for effective ministry while we are here on earth.  We are not all called to be priests, pastors, or evangelists, but we are all called to preach the Gospel by the life we live and the words we speak.

I found so many scriptures in Matthew alone and I cannot list them all here but I will give you a few sample categories below.  I recommend that you start with one of the Gospels and read it from front to back and as you read write down each specific category that you find and write each scripture under that topic, i.e., here are some of the valuable nuggets of truth I found:

  • Treasure in Heaven - where your treasure is there will be your heart also for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
  • Reward in Heaven - persecuted for His sake, God Himself will reward you openly for; charitable deeds, prayer, fasting - reward according to his works, receive a hundred fold and inherit eternal life
  • Do Not and Does Not - swear, charitable deeds before men, be like them, be like the hypocrites, lay up treasures for yourselves on earth, worry, judge, hears and does not do them, worry about what you will say, fear them, think, be afraid, turn away, despise one of these little ones, doubt
  • Do - words to take action, i.e. rejoice, let your light shine, agree, love your enemies, do good, pray, seek first the kingdom of God
  • Kingdom of heaven and Kingdom of God - not everyone that says Lord, Lord will see the Kingdom of God, least, suffer violence, mysteries, like leaven, treasure in a file, like a merchant, dragnet, householder brings out treasure, seek first the . . ., poor in spirit, persecuted for righteousness sake, righteousness exceeds the Scribes and the Pharisees, become as a little child, humbles himself as a little child, like a certain king that wanted to settle accounts, remaining unmarried for the . . ., let the children come, shut up the kingdom, gospel of the kingdom is preached in all the world, Parable of the Virgins, and Parable of the Talents
  • Tribulation - Persecution - Second coming - see that you are not troubled as all these things must come to pass, beginning of sorrows, kill you and hated for Jesus' name sake, offended and betray one another, great tribulation such as has not been seen since the beginning of the world, days shortened for the elect's sake, after the tribulation, then the sign of the son of man will appear in heaven coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, faithful wise servant, evil servant, Parable of the Virgin, Parable of the Talents
  • Works - good works glorify God in heaven, they glorified the God of heaven after the works of Jesus, done a good for me, Mary did a good for for Jesus when she washed Jesus' feet with her tears and anointed His body in the expensive oil
  • Well Done - "Well done good and faithful servant"
  • Sheep and the goats - the sheep on the right and the goats on the left
  • Treasures of the heart expressed by words - every tree is known by its fruit - we are known be the fruit of our lips or the words that come out of our mouths, we will be judged for every word we day, what comes out of man's mouth defiles a man, what process out of the mouth are from the heart, confess Jesus before man, more than yes and no is from the evil one, offense to me, get behind me Satan, say to the mountain
  • Day of Judgement - Parable of the Tares, separating the sheep and the goats, the sheep will inherit the eternal Kingdom of God and God will openly reward them for their good works, the goats will be judged for what they did and did not do in their lives at the Great White Throne of Judgement
There is so much more in the Gospel of Matthew that I was not able to share in this article.  I do recommend that you do your own research and the online Bible that I use to search by word or passage is and My Well Done You Version 

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Treasures in Heaven

by Chet Nowlen

I have probably read what Jesus said about building treasures in Heaven about one hundred times or more.  But, I never thought a whole lot about how to build treasures in Heaven.  All I cared about was I knew, by faith, I was on my way to heaven.

One day as I was meditating on this phrase I felt a sense of shame and guilt come over me that made me want to cry.  I was so ashamed of myself because the thought occurred to me that I have not been obedient to Jesus as I could not imagine any treasure that are built up in heaven because of what I've done in this life.  I had never realized how selfish I really was until then.

I decided to search the scriptures in order to find out how to build up treasures in heaven.  As I began to study I found that Jesus had a lot to say about the subject.  Not only did He use the word "Treasure", but He also used the word "Reward" -  I started my study with the Gospel of Matthew reading every word and writing down every scripture I could find about "Treasures" and "Rewards".

Do not lay up your treasures on earth

Lay up treasures for yourselves in heaven

Sell what you have and give to the poor . . .

Great Is Your Reward

Do Good to Please God

Your reward is great in heaven

I normally do not recommend taking scriptures out of context therefore I recommend that you read the entire chapter of any of the versed that I mentioned above.

The more I searched the scriptures I discovered that God is a giver, a blesser if you will, The Lord will open to us His good treasure.   God Himself rewards us openly here on earth found in Matthew 6.

The more I read the more I understood the generosity of God and how He made us so that we could be like Him.  He made us to be generous just like He is.  He made us go do good works for others and when we do those good works for others we are actually giving back to Him. " As much as you did it to the least of these you did it to me .

The secret is this: the more you give unselfishly to others, and expecting nothing in return, the more treasures you have built up in heaven.  We didn't put them there, God did.  He does it for us based on what we have done for others in this life.  

Someday soon each of us will stand before Jesus and He will say to us (believers), "Well Done you good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful over a few things now I have made you to be ruler over many things.  Enter now into the joy of the Lord."

The selfishness that I've always had is slipping away.  Now I look for ways I can give and serve others with what I have.  What I have is what He has given me according to what I'm able.  See the Parable of the Talents Matthew 25:14-30.

One final thought I leave with you - Jesus said in Matthew 7 "Not everyone that says to Me, 'Lord, Lord', shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who 'does the will of my Father."  There will be people on judgement day that says to Jesus 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?  Sounds like they did some good works, right?  Why didn't Jesus welcome them into heaven?  Because their works were done for vain and selfish reasons.  Their works were to be done for their own glory, the glory of by man.  They had received their reward already.

The key to this whole lesson is found in a portion of Matthew 7:24 " . . . whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them . . ."  Whoever hears the sayings of Jesus and does them will reap his or her rewards and treasure in heaven.  By our hearing the sayings of Jesus and doing His sayings God is glorified.

No One Can Serve Two Masters

By Chet Nowlen

Jesus' statement that no servant can serve two masters is found in Matthew 6:24 and also in Luke 16:9-13.  Luke gives more detail about His teaching on this subject, but yet is confusing at first glance.  To get a full understanding of the lesson here I would recommend that you start at verse one and read through at least verse fifteen.
Jesus said, "You cannot serve God and mammon".  What is mammon?  Mammon is explained as deceitful riches, money, or possessions.  Is Jesus saying money evil?  Is Jesus saying it's sinful to be rich or to have many possessions?  No, He's not saying that at all.  As a matter of fact He teaches that God pours out windows of blessings upon His followers that tithe.
Money or possessions themselves are not evil rather it's the love or lust of money and possessions that are evil.  There are two opposing forces at work as far as who we are going to serve.  If we choose to serve God then Jesus explained that we are to seek God first and His righteousness and the other things will be added to us.  When we serve Him first He provides money and possessions for us to use as tools in being of service to others.
The opposite side of service is if we choose to serve mammon.  Mammon is actually a spiritual force this is diametrically opposed to serving God.  Mammon is a spirit of rebellion that says "I don't want to serve God first with the first fruits of my labors."  Mammon is a spirit of lust for money and things to when one has them they still feel empty and wanting more.  Their lust can never be satisfied.
Giving God your first fruits of your labor is giving the full 10% of your gross income before you send your money on anything else.  When you do this you giving to God what is already His and in doing so this allows Him to bless us with the material needs according to our ability.  Jesus explained this in the Parable of the Talents Matthew 25:14-30.  He give more to some and less to others to use for His service.  Why does He do this?  He gives us according to what we are able to work with.  You see He gave some of us more ability therefore He expects more.
Sometimes we , even believers, feel jealous because other believers have more ministry, more gifts of the spirit, more money, more earthly possessions, and believe it or not more treasures in heaven.  In the past I have not understood this myself, but after much meditation on the Parable of the Talents I am at ease because I know God gives to me that which I am able to use for His service.
Jesus never taught that we need more money.  His lessons are that we are to serve God first and He personally rewards us here on earth and treasure in heaven.  
We cannot serve two masters at the same time for we will love one and despise the other.  Which one have you chosen to serve?
The above article was copied from my BLOG