I HAVE AN ETERNITY AHEAD OF ME Chapter Three CONFLICT: FUNCTIONING IN THE MIND OF CHRIST Like 0 Twitter Mishael T Follow March 4, 2017, 10:55 p.m. in Religion Views: 557 Like us on facebook I HAVE AN ETERNITY AHEAD OF ME Chapter Three CONFLICT: FUNCTIONING IN THE MIND OF CHRIST FLESH vs. FLESH Can you win an argument, try to resolve a situation or a conflict, functioning in the flesh (self), with someone who is also acting in the flesh? Have you really won? What has been the price of victory? What is the prize? Who does it belong to and benefit? Have you won a soul for the Kingdom? Have you glorified God? If this is the way you choose to resolve disputes, are you living abundantly, STANDING, as Christ directed us to do, until His return? IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT Here I am staring conflict in the face. The person in front of me or on the phone is thinking, " You can't be right, because, that would mean that there is something wrong with me." Perhaps, the conflict began with a demeaning tone of voice, an accusation, an offensive action, or a misunderstanding or misconstrued statement. How do I respond? Right now, I'm at the point of irritation and agitation, but my pride is rising up within me. I have a choice to make. In order to please myself, I can give in to aggravation, anxiety and Satan's lie that I must respond and act expediently, be defensive and try to prove I'm right, smarter, or superior in some way, or humble myself and allow God to reign over my life, continuing to live abundantly, appreciating my eternal life. Before I act, I must surrender my will and die to self to live under the mind of Christ. I am not ALONE. I am part of One, therefore, I shouldn't act on just my behalf. If I am to CONQUER this world, then, I must realize that I, I repeat, "I" am nothing without and can do nothing without God. I am no longer OF this world. I am an Ambassador of Christ. I should love Him as He loves me. Therefore, my words and actions should and must reflect He who I represent. I am speaking to God's creation. One whose body, soul and spirit He cares for, also. If I truly love Him, I will OBEY Him. If I love my neighbor as myself, I will speak in LOVE! My greatest power lies not in myself, but within the Kingdom I am a part of. Therefore, I must pray for God's Will to be done, not my will. I am the VESSEL to usher in the Kingdom to this time, place, and space on Earth and into the hearts of others. Therefore, my heart, first, must be fixed on the Kingdom of Heaven. Living eternally and having everlasting life means to understand WHAT LIFE BECOMES IN REBIRTH! It is not merely an EXISTENCE or cells able to replicate and sustain an unexplained consciousness. The SOURCE of Life which once existed outside of the realm of our being, now dwells within us. Our spirit must be aware of that source to maintain our existence, for God said in: Genesis 6:3 King James Version (KJV) 3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. The spirit knows that the flesh is weak and its days are numbered. So, the flesh cannot be the creator and force that sustains life. The FLESH IS NOT THE SOURCE OF LIFE, but a VESSEL to replenish the earth and maintain it. We are SPIRITUAL BEINGS, originating from God and a Heavenly home, given a SOUL and a body to inhabit that we may be fruitful and bring God's Kingdom to earth. My life is not just about me. This conflict that I'm facing is not just about me! It is an opportunity. Yes, it is an opportunity! I can seize it for the Kingdom and grow in the process; for the Kingdom ALWAYS produces INCREASE! When I know who I am, when I know my roots, I am empowered to react as a citizen of the Kingdom, by the Will of God. I am empowered to extend myself and the Kingdom of God! I am empowered to bring the Kingdom of God to earth! Too, often we only relate the Word of God to times of crises to bring peace and goodwill, but, it is in small or awkward times of adversity and conflict that we can be most useful and productive. It is time to be FRUITFUL, binding and loosing! Matthew 18:18 King James Version (KJV) 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Those of us who consider ourselves to be Believers or Christians, must REALLY know who we ARE. But, do we? If so, then what is going on in the world? What is going on in our lives? Do we pray for God's Kingdom to come and His Will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven, or, are we still in SELF? Can we meet CONFLICT in SELF? CAN WE RESIST AND PERSIST IN SELF? If we are to bring CHANGE to circumstances, situations and events upon Earth, can we do it in self? Alone, do we have any power or AUTHORITY? It is something to think about the next time we are facing conflict. GOT JESUS? In my previous book, "YOU CAN'T CHANGE ME: Unraveling the Lie," we explored many of the wrong pathways the heart can take. Now, if we have truly decided to accept Jesus into our hearts and be Disciples and Followers, it is time not only to look at how to put the heart on the right path to Jesus, but to keep it abiding (living) in Christ Jesus. We must ask ourselves, how do I recognize the True Light from the counterfeit? Do I know the voice and presence of God within me and others? How do I recognize God's hand and favor? To begin with, our heart must be CHANGED, meaning, the treasures in our heart cannot be of the world, or, we will see, hear, feel, touch and taste with the eyes, ears, hands, mouth and nose of the world. What do we treasure in our heart? Is Jesus truly the center of our joy, bringing us into the guidance, discerning power and favor of God's Holy Spirit? Does your Father know YOU, because you are covered in the blood of Jesus and following in His footsteps? God CHOOSES us and because we are His sheep we know His voice, because we are FAMILIAR with the shepherd. This is not to say that God doesn't speak to whom He pleases. It is to appreciate the privilege we have as His chosen sheep, whose hearts follow Him. By this privilege, we come to know His character, love, chastisement and guidance through the studying of the Scriptures, through the teachings of His Holy Spirit, by following His Son; listening and obeying our Father; and patterning our lives to adhere to His Will and Way. We can follow obediently and faithfully behind the other sheep, simply because we recognize His voice. It is a voice that keeps us safe from harm and guides us to green pastures, if we obey. Like a child nurtured by parents, we are nurtured by God's Love and Word and through love and obedience, soon come to recognize His voice and the work of His Hands, so that we do not go astray. This is why it is important to train up a child, early on, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, so that they only follow the Master's voice, learning to walk by faith and not by sight. PRAYING FOR GOD'S WILL AND KINGDOM ON EARTH Yes, I could meet conflict by myself, however, I must always live in my abundant and eternal life. I am born again! I am not ALONE! Christ and God's Holy Spirit LIVE within me, waiting to share this experience with me in love and victory. The battle is not mine, but the Lord's! I need only to acknowledge His presence within me and recognize who I am in Christ to realize that this is an opportunity to shine the Light, be an example, glorify and please God and respond in love and kindness, treating others as I desire to be treated. In the midst of turmoil, as darkness closes in upon me, whispering ill-will and thoughts of evil in my ear, my soul cries out, "Hallelujah", as I cast my anchor to grip the ROCK. I am One with the Rock, built upon a True Foundation. Whether or not people are protesters in the streets for immigration and civil rights or in conflict with friends, family, strangers or foes, choices must be made on how to respond to conflict. In order to conquer the world, Believers must be consciously aware of who they are and who they represent, questioning and seeking answers. How did Jesus meet conflict? How can I help to open my brother's eyes? Empower me Holy Spirit! Teach me how to RESIST AND PERSIST, manifesting the POWER OF GOD! COMMUNICATION: But, what if they just won't listen? In order to help people see righteousness, we must know if there is a DESIRE for righteousness within their heart. You could be in the right place, but, asking the wrong questions. We need to dig down deep inside of ourselves and others to examine hearts. Do hearts need to be CHANGED? Are we fighting the WRONG battle? Should we be fighting or planting? What are our motives? Rebellion against government? Love for our neighbors? Giving people choices, rights, freedom and freewill? This is what you have done, but, perhaps, this is what you could do, or could do better? We must ask questions to define, clarify and verify. How do we change hearts?-- By cultivating relationships with others and shining the Light of our Lord and Saviour, Yeshuah, Christ Jesus. We become that example that lives the Word of God and not just talks it. We empower others to make holy and righteous decisions based upon a heart connected to God. It would be wonderful if people made decisions based on what God would have them do, but not everyone has been born again and died to the flesh. What would God have you do often becomes the most evasive and disputed question, when both parties believe God is on their side. Then, the answer lies in identifying who God is to each party, defining His character, then identifying His common Will revealed to them both. Thereupon, will they see righteousness and an agreement can be made that binds them by the Will of God and not by the will of man. This is a highly sensitive matter that can become volatile if not handled properly and given time to evolve. Based on the model of relationship building, it works best, first, with individuals, who may or may not be accountable to larger groups. Instilling these values into the younger generation helps to create respect for cultural diversity, alleviate the strains of globalization, and helps to stabilize racially divided and polarized communities, helping them to find commonality, ongoing mutual cooperation, respect and dialogue. As Jesus taught His Disciples, He showed us that Relationships and Communication are key, when it comes to conflict; and within that relationship must be a desire for holiness. --Holiness that keeps us humble. Matthew 18:1-4 King James Version (KJV) 18 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. --Holiness that contains unconditional love. John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. --Holiness that desires to serve others. Matthew 20: 25-27 King James Version (KJV) 25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: --Holiness that teaches us forgiveness of others. Matthew 6:15 King James Version (KJV) 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 18King James Version (KJV) 21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore, our Father, commanded us to, ..."Be ye holy; for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16 King James Version (KJV) Without that HOLINESS, there is a break down in relationships and communication leading to: isolation distrust suspicion disenfranchisement rumors, gossip and hearsay spying animosity hostility violence war When you are tossed and driven, to and fro, in a world filled with chaos and people who do not know how to resist and persist, who will you rely upon? Who will you call upon? Who will you run to? Who will keep you from being sucked up into the whirlwind to become part of the rubbish and destruction and the aftermath of the storm? Who or what will keep you from LOSING IT, going berserk, having no hope or misplacing your faith? Can we place FAITH in worldly governments, allowing it to corrupt our morals and values, or remove our faith in God? Or, should we instead be seeking ACCOUNTABILITY of governments to their people? Let us not be misled by conflict within the world. Conflict can create extreme confusion. Your heart can become so confused, hurt and torn, that rational and godly decisions are difficult to make. Decisions of the heart may isolate us or cause us to be shunned or ridiculed by others. Can you love people of different races, cultures, ethnicity, religions, political beliefs, etc.? Can you still love your unfaithful spouse? Can you still love and support your wayward child or friend? Is the love within you strong enough to ENDURE hurt, pain, criticism, pride, shame, guilt, distrust and the ongoing pressure and uncertainty around you? Yes, the love within you should be strong enough to endure, for it should be the love of GOD. Wherefore, it cannot be about any kind of love for your husband, wife, family or friends. Only one kind of love can be strong enough to endure. It must come from He Who Endures forever and ever. It MUST be God's love within you, which comes from your FAITH and BELIEF in God being REAL. Does your faith have SUBSTANCE? Does it come from your HEART--your SPIRIT? One cannot use the term 'strong enough,' without acknowledging that strength to endure comes from God! Without God, one cannot have strength or endure. Therefore, in order to resist and persist in holiness and righteousness, through the mind of Christ, your BELIEF and your FAITH must be REAL, CONCRETE, EVIDENT; not only in your word, but in your ACTIONS. Can you CLING TO THE ROCK, throughout the storm, holding fast because of your undeniable FAITH in God's ability to keep you and that which is the essence of you within...for ETERNITY? This determines my quality of abundant life, within this conflict I am faced with here and now, and if I will enjoy abundant life without the frequent chaos and conflict of the world trying to sink my ship, and drown me in the depths of darkness. SACRIFICE: Can You Drink From the Same Cup? There are times when we are confronted with conflict, when we must decide if the situation requires sacrifice or forgiving others, for they know not what they do. Thus, we may become conflicted. Our cross may become heavier to carry. The road may become harder to traverse, unevenly paved with rocks and stones, or pitted with holes, too narrow to carry the load easily, winding and climbing up hills, then plummeting down along side of dangerously steep gorges. On the way, we may be met with even less welcomed adversity. Enemies may stone us, shout and hurl accusations against us, spit upon us and curse our name. Are we ready and willing to sacrifice for the Kingdom of God or are we filled with an illusion of abundance and eternity in paradise, catering to our whims and desires? Oh, this may paint a glib picture of our eternity, but it is a reality we must be prepared to constantly live in if we truly desire to follow Jesus and bear our cross. The adversary sets a trap for us at every corner, hoping we will be unaware. To confront adversity and conflict, as Ambassadors of the Kingdom, we must speak boldly in Truth or ask ourselves: Are we following Jesus only in our imagination; Are we serving and praising God only with our lips; Can we drink from the same cup as Jesus; or, do we intend to follow, carrying our cross, pretending to not know where the road ends? Where did the "Way of Grief", the Via Dolorosa end in Jerusalem for the condemned Messiah? Have we truly died with Him and become reborn to eternal life? Then, we are no longer OF the world! Christ has DEFINED us! There are too many believing themselves to be Believers who are in an identity crisis, not knowing who they are and what it is to BELIEVE! When the cross gets heavy and we're forced to carry it down an impetuous rocky road, where we are jeered and scorned, can we drink from the same cup? We know where the road ended for Christ, who was without sin and blameless! So, when conflict arises, the question still remains in that quick moment, "What will you do?" If need be, can we drink from the same cup of our Lord, and Saviour, Yeshuah? Can we humble ourselves? Can we bear the cross? Can we accept the fate of the cross and die to ourselves for the sake of our brothers and sisters? Oh, we know that Jesus has already paid it all, making the ultimate sacrifice of His life for our sins. Still, to save a soul from death, will you die to yourself and LIVE IN CHRIST under a NEW MIND...the mind of Christ? Will you let HIM take control? Will you allow God to speak through you to help someone know the holiness and righteousness, goodness and love of their Heavenly Father? Peter was always eager to show his loyalty to Jesus and prove how much he loved Him. But, when they arrested Jesus and the time came to drink from the same cup, Peter wasn't ready. He denied knowing Jesus three times. Do we do any less, when we fail to sacrifice self for our brother? Like Peter, we are putting the importance of who we want to be in the world, before who we should be in Christ. Still, Jesus went on, alone, to meet conflict, humbly, because of His love for us. Jesus accepted the sacrifice of His life to give us a New Life, free of sin, abundant and eternal. PREDATORS We have a choice to die daily and function in the Mind of Christ, in that we will be fruitful and a blessing to others. Each day is a REALITY CHECK, an opportunity to look into our life and the way in which we love, who we CHOOSE to love and serve, reevaluating our faith and asking, "Am I choosing to live abundantly and eternally, or, have I settled for the superficial? Is my love based on CONDITIONS? Do people in my life have to HAVE SOMETHING or DO SOMETHING or BE SOMEBODY, for MY benefit to deserve or be worthy of my love, attention and respect? Have I been made perfect in love? If I seek people out who meet certain qualifications solely for my benefit, then, I am a predator. Whereas, most people desire to form HEALTHY, SPIRITUAL relationships, there remains a population of unhealthy people exploiting or taking advantage of others, who thrive off of unhealthy, predatory behavior that feeds off of darkness, pride and selfishness. They are incapable of truly loving others because they neither know what love is, nor do they wish to, because they are lovers of themselves. There are people who are directly or indirectly misled by worldly values, who engage in predatory behavior or become favorable prey for predators because they lack a real spiritual foundation in God. They are plagued by the disappointment, disillusionment and heartbreak of unsuccessful relationships entangled in conflict. Predators are constantly engaged in some type of conflict, which follows after and attaches itself to predatory behavior (i.e., bullies, womanizers, rapists, thieves, etc.). They will lie, cheat, demean others and resort to various ill-means and numerous sins to get and keep what they want. They are blinded by Satan and have come to accept their behavior as normal and/or necessary. Within the animal kingdom, within every ecosystem, there is a natural, innate hierarchy of the species according to predators and prey. We are faced with similar circumstances within the social hierarchy of man, which can be attributed more to the spiritual heart of man than the human genome. Outside of cannibalism, instead of considering human prey as an edible food source, human predators prey upon others to: avoid having to obtain their own means of survival through sustenance and assets; to exert their power, status or authority over others; and to feed their ego (pride). They usually aren't open to any reasoning or compromise, that interferes with their primary objective to victimize or achieve some type of satisfaction or gain from their victim(s). They may see the other person as benefiting from their relationship because they are the better or more worthy person. I have often been concerned for my teenage grandson, who at the age of fourteen had reached six feet tall and now at the age of fifteen has surpassed that, adding to it a body with a muscular build. Typical of that age, is the tendency for young boys to challenge one another in order to exhibit their male prowess, to engage in fearlessness and establish status within their peer group. My grandson is very strong and tactically capable of defending himself amongst his peers, but he also has a huge heart, to say that he is very compassionate and kindhearted. I have sometimes had concern for his ability to safely handle his peers, when facing hostile situations and to be prepared to properly confront predators. Even more disconcerting, is the risk of police involvement and the stigma attached to being a Black male. One day, he arrived at my home and told me he had just been stopped on the street and confronted by a group of boys he knew were out and about trying to create trouble. In the past, he had been challenged by boys testing him to join their gang, so of course, I was horrified by this news. However, this young man looks at me confidently and consolingly and tells me, "Don't worry grandma, I've got it." Somehow, I knew I had to accept this, if he was to become a man. My mind turns to King David, when he was a shepherd boy, whose kind and loving heart played upon his harp and sang praises to God. Yet, if a predator came near his sheep, he was ready to strike in an instant with his sling shot. It was his heart and love for God that gave him the courage to fight Goliath. He went on to be a mighty warrior in King Saul's army and a god-fearing king, who had the favor of God. Just as David, tried to convince Saul and his men that he was capable of handling Goliath, now, I know that I must accept that my grandson has "got it," because, God gave him that heart, just as He gave David his. As long as he keeps loving and obeying God, I know, he'll have God's favor. Training up a child in the way in which they should go begins with leading their heart to holiness and righteousness, whereby, they learn to resist and persist, but, there are times when holiness and righteousness must be manifested in arms in order not to yield to darkness. A fearless heart like David's had to be trained to fear God. As I look upon my grandson, towering over me, about to become a man, I know, that is why God has given him to me. Within the Mind of Christ is the the fear and reverence for God. As we walk the straight and narrow path, following our Lord, we do not fear man, but our fear of losing sight and favor of God, keeps us listening and obeying our Father's voice. A NEW APPETITE Perhaps, the best way that I know to describe what takes place when the heart lets go of the world and accepts Christ, creating a renewed mind or soul, is to relate it to acquiring a new APPETITE; a new appetite, which leads us to hunger for holiness and ONLY God, who is Holy can satisfy that craving inside of us. We can only acquire that holiness by dying to self and surrendering to the the Mind of Christ. Since we have drank from the Fountain of Living Water, we thirst no more in the world for life. As we accept Him, we drink from The Well That Shall Never Run Dry. Through Christ, we taste and see the goodness of the Lord and no other can compare to OUR FATHER and the Perfect Love that He has and gives unto us. Christ requested us to break bread and drink wine together in remembrance of Him. It is not so much a sentimental gesture as it is an empowering reminder of the APPETITE for Christ, so that we continue to "Taste and See the GOODNESS of the Lord"; an acquired taste and a discriminating pallet, which recognizes Holiness, reminding us of the Holiness that should be within us and upon us and is indeed within us as we remember to abide in Christ. Even more does it remind us that it was Christ's desire to sacrifice His body and shed His blood, giving it freely to save us. So, must we sacrifice and surrender ourselves freely to the Will and Way of God. Therein, do we conquer death and this world, free and free indeed to live out our lives in abundance, ...eternally. Conflicts will arise within our lives, more often unexpectedly, than expected. Yet, in that critical moment from decision to action, one must have an APPETITE, a HUNGER FOR HOLINESS and a desire for righteousness, compelling us to SURRENDER our will and submit to the MIND OF CHRIST! As God's soldiers, we must be prepared for whatever form of battle God has chosen for us to fight, RESISTING AND PERSISTING, PREPARING THE WAY, SHOWING THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS, GAINING COURAGE, STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE FOR BATTLE FROM GOD, knowing that He is with us, as He was with David. Yet, to maintain His favor, let us remain obedient to His Will and Way. Let us not forget our real adversary and the god in whose name we fight, remembering the battle cry of David, claiming that no weapon formed against us can harm us because of our God, who is with us (1 Samuel 17:45 KJV) Yahweh has renewed our minds and set us upon the path of The Truth, The Way and Life, so that whatever comes our way, we can continue to be fruitful, resting in the Mind of Christ and His Holy Spirit. Hence, we can say, "It is Well With My Soul." With love, Your servant, and soldier, united with the One Mishael 1 Samuel 17:45 King James Version (KJV) 45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. Isaiah 54:17 King James Version (KJV) 17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SELF REFLECTION: A Look in the Mirror Once again, when we look at Jesus' parables, He is challenging us to examine where our heart lies. Closely examining your heart, answer the questions below. DISCUSS your answers with a mature Believer who can guide you in your spiritual relationship with Jesus and our Father, and/or have group discussions to learn from those who have different experiences and perspectives. QUESTIONS: Write down your questions and discuss them with a mature Believer or submit them to this blog. FLESH VS. FLESH How often do you argue and fight flesh with flesh? What is usually the result of your approach to conflict? Have you been reborn? Has your mind been renewed? How do you know? Are you aware of the Mind of Christ? Do understand what it means to STAND until Jesus returns? IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT Do you try to stop and think about who you are in Christ before you react to conflict? Do you acknowledge the presence of Christ and God's Holy Spirit within you before facing conflict? When in conflict, do you lash out at the other person because you take it very personally and see them as being the adversary? Do you find it hard to humble yourself? Do you feel you must immediately defend yourself, instead of waiting and talking to God? Do feel that you are alone? Do you see yourself as a spiritual being and a vessel? GOT JESUS? Do you feel that you have accepted Jesus into your heart? When do you abide or rest in Jesus? How do you feel when you are resting in Jesus? Do you think differently? Are you at peace? Are you resting in Jesus when you run ahead of Him and try to solve problems in the flesh? Are you picking and choosing the parts of your life that you are willing to surrender to God? Do you feel that you can recognize the True Light from the counterfeit? Can you recognize the Master's voice? PRAYING FOR GOD'S WILL AND KINGDOM ON EARTH When faced with conflict, do you pray? What do you usually pray for? Do you pray for God's Will to be done on earth and in your life as it is in Heaven? COMMUNICATION: But, what if they just won't listen? Are you a good communicator? Why or why not? Do you try to form relationships with people to understand them better? Why or why not? Are your relationships suffering because they lack holiness? Have you been made perfect in love to love unconditionally through Christ? Do you desire to serve others? Are you satisfied with just serving others? Do you get more satisfaction by being in charge? Is it necessary for you to feel important or to have influence and status? Do feel that you live in holiness? Why or Why not? What makes you holy? SACRIFICE: Can You Drink From the Same Cup? Do you understand the sacrifices you must make as a Believer? Are you willing to sacrifice to lead others to follow Christ and be drawn to God? PREDATORS Have you been the victim of a predator? Do you consider yourself to be a predator? Why or why not? Do you try to have healthy relationships, giving and not just taking from the other party? Is it important for your friends, acquaintances, family or the people you respect or associate with to have money, material wealth, status, employment, independence, fame, good looks, or problems with identity and values? A NEW APPETITE What do you treasure or desire in your heart? Are there worldly or carnal things that you desire or treasure? Do these things influence how you respond or react to the pressures around you? Do you hunger for holiness? How do you fulfill your desires? How do the things that you treasure affect your life? Do you feel that God is your all-in-all and only He can fulfill all that you desire and need? Is it easy for you to forgive others? Why or why not? Do you want others to forgive you? Why or why not? Do you want God to forgive you? Why or why not? Is there more power in forgiving than in holding a grudge and giving your power to someone else? Why or why not? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REFERENCED SCRIPTURE Genesis 6 King James Version (KJV) 6 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. 17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. 18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. 22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1 Samuel 17King James Version (KJV) 17 Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. 3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. 4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. 6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. 7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him. 8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. 9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. 10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. 11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid. 12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul. 13 And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul. 15 But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem. 16 And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days. 17 And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp of thy brethren; 18 And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge. 19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20 And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle. 21 For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. 22 And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren. 23 And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. 24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. 25 And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel. 26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? 27 And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him. 28 And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. 29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? 30 And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner. 31 And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him. 32 And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. 33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. 34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 37 David said moreover, TheLord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee. 38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. 39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. 40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. 41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. 42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. 43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. 45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands. 48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. 52 And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. 53 And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent. 55 And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell. 56 And the king said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling is. 57 And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58 And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Matthew 18 King James Version (KJV) 18 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. 6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! 8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. 10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. 11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. 15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. 21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. 23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Matthew 20 King James Version (KJV) 20 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. 17 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, 18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, 19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again. 20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. 24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. 29 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. 30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. 31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. 32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? 33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. 34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him. 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