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Bad Eyes – Good Eyes

Jesus told us, “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34 NKJV).

This really hit home recently while I was ministering in Southern California. My glasses were not sitting right on my face (I had dropped them) and after prophesying over a pastor he came up and asked if he could adjust them. His full-time job in Seattle was working with eyeglasses … he was a church planter. He had travelled many hours to be at our meetings. I so appreciated him correcting the fit of my glasses as then I could see properly out of my progressive lenses. 

My eyesight is not as poor as some people’s. But when my glasses fit properly I can read with a lot more ease and catch details that I otherwise miss. Just as people go to an eye doctor to get glasses or have surgery to give them better eyesight, we’re not stuck with our current life paradigm. We can choose a better one!

The word paradigm come from the Greek and is, in a general sense, a reference to a set pattern or way we see the world – not in terms of our physical eyes but in terms of our assumptions, beliefs, and overall perspective. It’s what we might call our mind’s eye.

This is what Jesus was referring to as He explained the eye as the lamp of the body. He was saying that the eye can be good or the eye can be bad, and the condition of our eye affects what we see or don’t see, what we experience or miss out on. If our eyes are good, it’s like turning on a lamp inside of us. We brighten up in our spirits because we’re living with a greater awareness of God’s goodness and blessings in our lives. 

The opposite is true about bad eyes; they miss seeing the good. They may or may not take in darkness, but they definitely don’t take in light. What they don’t see is not what they are incapable of seeing but typically what they are not trained to see.

In a similar way, the only thing that’s different between a negative person and a positive person is what they “see.” Two people can grow up in the same home with similar life experiences, and one will be negative about life and the other will be positive. Even though they have been surrounded by the same environment and have the same parents, what they see and the way they see it is different.

Negative people are not bad. Pessimistic people are not ignorant. In fact, oftentimes negativity is a trait of people who are highly informed in what they call reality. When passing along their perspective, they will tell you, “I’m not being negative; I’m just being real!” And they are being real in what they are aware of and educated in, which is the “life is hard” reality. They have taken pages of notes and have the data to support the fact that life is not a gravy train!

When people are deeply educated in the “life is hard” reality but undereducated in the “God is good” reality they lean towards the unfavourable possibilities versus seeing the possibilities of something good. The reason these people can get stuck in their negativity is that they have accepted that the “life is hard” reality (paradigm) cancels out the “God is good” (paradigm) reality.

I have found that anyone, even people highly aware of the “life is hard” reality, will become authentically optimistic when they educate themselves in the “God is good” reality. You don’t have to deny the realities associated with life being hard to see the realities associated with God being good!

When you look through ‘good eyes’ you see, recognize, and accept that there is a problem and life is difficult. But, you first see it as a challenge and an opportunity to see God move and do something amazing and supernatural. You rise to the challenge that the reality offers to you. You accept the negative reality as something God knew was coming and has prepared you to handle. His grace being more than sufficient. So, both ‘good eye’ and the ‘bad eye’ see the same reality … but the ‘good eye’ sees it as an amazing opportunity for God to show Himself strong in the situation and for them to learn and grow in their walk of faith as a believer. 

Reaching Your God-Given Potential – Part Three

We have been looking at the need for decent and mature friends in our individual journey of life. These are the three types of friends everyone needs to reach their God-given potential…

    • A friend to challenge you and bring out your best
    • A friend to help you find strength in God and grow in your faith
    • A friend to tell you the truth, especially when you don’t want to hear it

We have looked briefly at the friend who will challenge you and help to bring the best you to the surface and forefront. And, a friend to help you find strength in God and grow in your faith. The third type of friend that we must have is one who will tell us the truth – the whole truth, God’s truth, the truth that brings a reality check. And the more successful you become, the more you need this person in your life and, oddly, the harder they are to find.

King David discovered this the hard way. During the season when kings were suppose to be at war, David decided to stay home rather than go to battle. One night he was out on his rooftop when he saw his neighbour’s wife, Bathsheba, bathing outside her house. His selfish lusts spoke louder than his wisdom, so the king sent someone to bring the woman to him. What’s interesting is that whomever King David sent to get Bathsheba had to know that she was married to Uriah, one of David’s closest friends and one of Israel’s greatest war heroes. But since the messenger was on the king’s payroll (and he might have been afraid of losing more than just his job), the guy did exactly as he was told. He summoned the woman to the king’s palace. And if you don’t know the story well. One thing led to another, and Bathsheba ended up pregnant.

Recognizing that this could become a scandal, David tried to get control of the situation. He called he husband home, figuring Uriah would sleep with his wife and then assume the baby was his. But when Uriah refused to enjoy intimacy with his wife while his men were still on the battlefield, David changed his tactics. He issued the order to move his friend to the front line where he was sure to be killed. And he was.

Unfortunately, everyone in the king’s court was too afraid to tell David the truth. So God sent a man who cared enough to help David see the way back to the right path. The prophet Nathan met with David and told him a story that went something like this. “Once upon a time there were two men. One was very rich and the other was very poor. The rich guy had an unlimited number of sheep and wealth. The poor guy had almost nothing and only one lamb, who was almost like a pet to him and his family. When the rich man had a guest come to town, he took the poor man’s lamb and had it butchered for a meal.”

When David heard this story, he was beside himself with anger. David ranted, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity” (2 Samuel 12:5-6). Fortunately, Nathan loved David enough to tell him the truth. “Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man’” (2 Samuel 12:7). That was enough to jolt king David out of his denial and bring him to his knees in repentance before God. 

Many people around us tell us the things we want to hear, rather than helping us to see the truth. And the more successful we become, the more difficult it is to find people who have our best interests at heart. That’s one reason we must connect with people who love us enough to be blatantly honest. In other words, a true friend. 

David’s son Solomon wisely said, “An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy (Proverbs 27:5-6 NLT). 

When was the last time a friend loved you enough to give you an open rebuke? Has someone loved you enough to offer helpful correction? If not, you might be missing one or two very important relationships that could help you grow, thrive, and succeed. Everyone needs people in their lives who will candidly tell them the truth. Maybe you need to connect with someone who’s willing to show you what you need to see so you can become the person you’re suppose to be.

Winding up the three blogs…

Which kind of friend do you need most in your life right now? Someone who helps you be better? Someone who helps you draw closer to God? Or someone who tells you the truth about yourself?

Is one person’s name popping into your head right now? Someone you could consider getting to know better and sharing your need for this kind of connection? If not, ask God to provide the right person at the right time, that friend who can help you grow closer to Him and to make decisions leading you in a divine direction.

Reaching Your God-Given Potential – Part Two

We started looking at the need for decent and mature friends in our individual journey of life. These are the three types of friends everyone needs to reach their God-given potential…

      • A friend to challenge you and bring out your best
      • A friend to help you find strength in God and grow in your faith
      • A friend to tell you the truth, especially when you don’t want to hear it

We looked last time at the friend who will challenge you and help to bring the best you to the surface and forefront. Let’s look today at a friend to help you find strength in God and grow in your faith.

This second friend can help you find strength beyond yourself in the midst of temptation and weakness. Jesus as Samuel helped David see that God wanted to do more in his life than he ever imagined, a guy named Jonathan helped David find strength in God when he needed it most. David was chosen to be the next king, but God didn’t promote him to the throne immediately. God still had a lot to do before He replaced Saul with David. First, David became a war hero winning the hearts of thousands. David was so effective on the battlefield that women danced in the streets singing, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7). You can just imagine how jealous that made an already insecure king. Feeling threatened by David’s rising popularity, King Saul plotted to take his life. David was forced to flee to the mountains to hide from the raging monarch’s posse.

There, in David’s darkest moments, God sent him an unlikely friend to help him find spiritual strength. King Saul’s own son Jonathan recognized the error in his father’s ways and stood faithfully by his friend David. Here’s how Samuel describes the courageous show of support: 

“While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.”

I love that simple phrase, which describes so clearly one of the key ways Jonathan served David: he “helped him find strength in God.” There may not be a more valuable gesture one friend can make to another than pointing them toward God, encouraging them to seek His power, loving them toward God’s unending strength.

This friend is someone who will listen and care. Not always giving you the answers you are seeking for. But, there to listen and have your back as you struggle through the issues that you face in life. They are not an ‘answer man.’ They are not there as ‘Mr. Fix-it.” They are there to listen, to care, and to help you see what God is doing and where He is taking you in the situation you are facing and the current spot in the journey that you are on.  

This friend will be praying for you and with you. They will be a safe place for you to recover, refocus, and regroup. They don’t judge. They simply love, support, and encourage you.

So, who helps you find strength in God? If you don’t have anyone, it’s time for you to connect with someone who can help. God already has that person ready for you. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help., It’s a sign of wisdom.

Healing For Today

This week Ralph will be posting a new teaching on “healing” as understood under the New Covenant.

Jesus is The Healer and He continues to touch and heal people today. However, there are so many different beliefs regarding divine healing today in the Church. Many of them are not biblical.

So, there is a desperate need to go back to the basics and see what the New Testament really does say and what it teaches and promises regarding healing for the believer and the non-believer today.


This can be a very emotional topic as so many loved ones need a healing touch from God. So, we will be looking at the scriptural basis for healing today so that we know what the truth is regarding this powerful ministry.

Posting will go up this weekend. An audio copy as well as a full text of the teaching content.

Ten Things Everyone Should Know About a Christian View of Homosexuality

Introduction:

So, the other day I headed out to the bank and then to the drug store and post office to do some messages and catch up a bit on some office work.

As I entered the bank I was faced with – it was rather loud and obvious so confronted by – a huge presentation celebrating the diversity we have in Canada and focused on Pride month. 

June has been designated the month where we recognize this segment of our national population. 

June has been designated Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride month. 

June is now focused on this segment of society in most nations of the world even those that have yet to recognize “gay rights”

Then, entering the drug store there were large posters pointing to this month’s special focus and special sales, of course. 

And, again, at the post office. 

And, again, in most email specials coming into my in-box (Hollister, Abercrombie-Finch)

I am not against having a month to draw attention to all the issues within society regarding this segment of the population. 

And, I think it is good to come to know the history behind the movement and discover all the less-than-humane treatment that this group has suffered at the hands of governments and people (society) in general.

I believe, as well, that we need to take a look at how the Church has treated those who are part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community. 

We don’t have a very good track record either historically nor in the recent past. In some cases, even today they are not understood or treated in a loving manner by the Church.

Some segments of the Church have elevated this lifestyle – and the Bible does consider it behaviour that is not in line with God’s plan – to the category of major sin.

It is the sin that the Church is targeting, emphasizing, and condemning. 

However, I believe that it is simply one of many sins and that in God’s eyes all sins are equal (James 2:10). 

So, homosexuality is no worse nor better than drunkenness, divorce, gossiping, abortion, or dishonouring your parents. 

Yet, we have elevated this one specific sin to a special place and taken aim at it while ignoring many of the other sins very evident and rampant in the Church and in society.

I believe that Jesus loves sinners. And so should we. 

I believe that Jesus accepts sinners just as they are because He knows that if they begin to walk with Him that He will change them. 

I believe that we should accept them as well – unconditionally. 

I believe that Jesus forgives all sins (except blaspheming the Holy Spirit) regardless of the gravity of the sin or what the sinner is involved in. 

He loves unconditionally, He accepts us just as we are, and He forgives us totally.

That is what I call The LAF Principle. 

And, we would do well to remember that this is how God treated each one of us who call ourselves believers. 

And, that Jesus expects us to do unto others what He has done unto us. 

We are to treat others in the same manner that He has treated us.

I believe that if we were to actually do this we would embrace all sinners and simply love, accept, and forgive them.

We would not separate one sin and make it the BIG ONE for today. 

We would, as God obviously does, simply see sin as sin and love the sinner regardless of the sin.

This means we do not judge those who are in sin – recognizing the sin in our own life helps us not to judge others. 

This means we must not be critical of others and the lifestyles they choose to live. 

This means we must not reject them because Jesus died for them just as He died for us. 

This means that we, the Church, must welcome all sinners and not fall into the traditional denominational tendency of having big and little sins – mortal and venial sins. 

Sin is sin and Jesus died for the forgiveness of all sin no matter how big or small, significant or insignificant we may consider them.

This means we must stop the “us and them” mentality

We are all sinners and no matter what the sin is we are all saved by grace and faith. 

We must welcome all sinners without categorizing the sin and declaring one worse than another. 

This means we must learn how to love, accept, and forgive. And, in doing so, learn how to no longer judge, criticize, and reject. 

We are in what is called a “culture war” as society and the culture changes. 

The battleground of this culture war is homosexuality and same-sex marriage 

This battle has been going on for almost 50 years and it is a war that we, Christians believers, are losing. AND, it is mostly our fault. 

Partly, we have our approach to the issues have caused there to be two camps – we and them

Partly, we have not wrestled with the biblical understanding of sexuality and marriage

I am all for open discussion on this important aspect of life, sex, and marriage

But, to debate the issue seriously and truthfully, we must seek an honest picture of what our opponents actually believe 

Working from what we think they believe is neither helpful nor respectful.

We need to talk with them – listen to them

And, we need to have a good grasp on the truths that inform and make up the traditional, biblical Christian belief.

Let’s look briefly at the basic Christian beliefs involved in this “culture war”

  1. All humans are simultaneously sinful and loved.

All people, regardless of their story, are deeply and unconditionally loved by God, each created with profound dignity and worth, not one more than another. 

This is more than mere religious happy talk — it’s truth whether one is gay, straight, or otherwise. 

But, all people are also stricken with a terminal illness: sin. 

Everyone. 

No exceptions

And, sin is sin

Our sin demands our repentance and needs forgiveness, and God’s love and grace are where we find both. 

This is basic Christianity and the great equalizer of all people.

2. Jesus wasn’t silent on homosexuality.

Some claim Jesus never said anything about homosexuality and therefore is neutral on the topic. 

Not true. 

Jesus shows us that to understand sexuality, marriage and the sexual union, we must go back to the beginning and see how God created humanity and the purpose for creating things the way He did (See Matthew 19 and Mark 10.) 

Jesus holds up the creation story in Genesis not as a quaint Sunday school lesson, but as authoritative — reminding us that God created each of us male and female, each for the other. 

And the sexual union that God created and ordains is for husband and wife to come together in physical union, one flesh.

3. There is only one option – marriage between a male and a female

Both Jesus and all of scripture approve of no other sexual union then that between a husband and wife. 

This is the uncontested historical teaching of Judaism and Christianity, and it is not something that true Christianity is free to adjust with the times. 

Yes, concubines and multiple wives are found in the Bible, but doesn’t make them “biblical.” 

In fact, they violate the Genesis narrative Christ points us to.

4. Male and female complete God’s image on earth.

It is not just mere “traditionalism” that makes man and woman the norm for Christian marriage

When God said that it “is not good that the man be alone” (Genesis 2:18) He wasn’t lamenting that Adam didn’t have a buddy or was just lonely. 

He was saying that the male could not really know himself as male without a human “other” who equally shared his humanity but was meaningfully distinct right down to every bit of her DNA. 

The same is true for her in Adam. 

In both Jewish and Christian belief, both male and female become fully human in their correspondence and contrast with one another. 

This does not happen solely in marriage, but it does happen most profoundly and mysteriously in marriage.

5. Sex is indeed about babies.

It is a new and culturally peculiar idea that human sexuality is all about intimacy and pleasure, but not necessarily babies. 

Babies and reproduction matter. 

And sure, while not every male/female sexual engagement is toward having a baby — intimacy and pleasure matter as well

But, having babies has been the overwhelming norm and desire in nearly all marital relationships throughout time. 

It is a fact that same-sex unions will result in a human cul-de-sac. 

Heterosexual union reaches into and creates the next generation. 

To establish a sexual relationship without any interest in or openness to babies is contrary to God’s intention for such relationships.

6. Children have a right to a mother and father.

Every person ever born can track his origin to a mother and a father. 

There are no exceptions, including those artificially produced. 

This was the first command God gave to the first two humans: to come together and bring forth the coming generations of new divine image-bearers. 

Nearly all cultures in all places in the world at all historical times hold as fundamental that every child should be loved and raised by a mother and father. 

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes a mother and father as a basic right of every child.

7. Same-sex attraction is not a sin.

To be human is to have a disordered sexuality. You do. I do. Everyone does. 

We all have some manner of sexual drive that compels us to disobey God’s design for sexuality. 

But, while temptation is universal, it’s different from sin. 

Scripture tells us that Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are, but did not sin 

(Hebrews 4:15). 

Sexual sin is giving in to that desire in either mind or body. 

Faithful Christians cannot avoid temptation, but it strives to resist and master it with God’s help. 

Many are indeed same-sex attracted, but live obediently within a Christian sexual ethic. 

It can be difficult, as it is for heterosexuals who are required to live in celibacy. 

Christianity requires that we each subject our desires of the flesh and soul to our faith commitment 

And countless same-sex attracted believers do so willingly and joyfully.

8. Sexual intimacy is not a right.

Every Christian has limitations placed on his sexuality. 

For married Christians, it is exclusive to one’s spouse. 

For single, engaged, and divorced Christians, it is abstinence, no exceptions.

 Is it unfair for so many to be forced into a life that cannot know the wonder and beauty of physical intimacy just because marriage is not an option for them? 

Is it fair for a Christian to be stuck in a loveless marriage? 

Christians have long understood that fairness is not really the question. 

Sex is not a right, but a gift — and the Giver knows what is best for us.

9. Rewriting God’s rules is never an option.

One of the marks of a Christian is his or her desire to be obedient to Christ’s teaching. 

Certainly most of us would like to rewrite the scriptures to make life easier. 

I would change where Christ says that lust is the same as doing the deed…that lusting in the heart is the same as jumping into bed with a person

Christianity is a demanding faith. 

The scriptures define and change us, not the other way around. 

A biblical sexual ethic does not, indeed cannot, change with the times.

10. People are more than their sexuality.

To identify people by their sexuality is to reduce people to their sexuality. 

Every individual is so much more. 

A person’s inherent and undeniable value is rooted in his membership in humanity, not his specific sexual orientation

And standing up for a person’s rights based on their sexual preferences, desires, relationships, and behaviours – is simply not right because people are more than their sexuality

So, the Christian faith has a view of sex and sexuality based on God’s Word and the main points are:

1. All humans are simultaneously sinful and loved

2. Jesus wasn’t silent on homosexuality.

3. There is only one option – marriage between a male and a female

4. Male and female complete God’s image on earth.

5. Sex is indeed about babies.

6. Children have a right to a mother and father.

7. Same-sex attraction is not a sin.

8. Sexual intimacy is not a right.

9. Rewriting God’s rules is never an option.

10. People are more than their sexuality.

Revelations Not Resolutions

We are approaching the start of a new year….

It seems to me that time is moving more quickly than it ever has before

Or, that I am simply moving a little slower than I use to

Maybe it is that time sure does fly when you are having fun…

But then life is not always a lot of fun

As believers, when we look at the start of a new year we should have inside of us a renewed sense of hope Read more

Jesus Was Not a Good Christian

Posted by William Lewis on Sunday, December 9, 2018

Ralph’s teaching begins at the 50 min mark if you would like to move it forward.