The Holy Ghost is not Only for Pentecostals


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There are things that are not our business to know; one of those things that come to mind is the return of our Lord Jesus Christ; not even Jesus himself knows of his own return, only the Father knows (Mark 13:32). Nevertheless, when it comes to the Holy Ghost, ignorance is not an option. The apostle Paul tells us in First Corinthians 12:1, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.” (NASB)

We as humans are three in one, we are body, we are soul and we are spirit. Before we are born again in spirit our spirit is sold out to idolatry. The number one function of the spirit of a human is to worship (John 4:24). Idolatry is to worship anything other than God. A human who is not born again is led by idols; there is a variety of idols, including themselves. Those who claim that they don’t believe in any religion are led by their own spirits; they become their own idols.

Through human history we can clearly say that humans always have a belief in something higher. One of the signs of the last days is that humans will be lovers of themselves (2 Timothy 3:2). That is idolatry and, when we idolized anything other than God we are led astray. First Corinthians 12:2 tells us, “You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led.” (NASB)

Idolatry has always been the main problem in human history. The root is in placing our trust outside of God. Idolatry takes us by the hand and introduces us to all the sin in the world; it is indeed the root. The devil knew this and with the Tower of Babel he organized idolatry. Pay attention to the unfinished tower that is shown in our one-dollar bills and also, pay attention to main symbol of these secret societies. Idolatry was the downfall of Israel as a nation and it is the downfall of nations all over the world.

Idolatry is simply placing our trust in something else other than God; therefor idolatry has been the downfall of ministries and Christian organizations as they take their eyes off of Jesus and place their focus on other ways and themselves. It is crucial, therefore, that the Holy Spirit be at the center of our faith. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit,

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helperwill not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousnessand judgmentconcerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.  John 16:7-14 (NASB)

            The Holy Spirit is 1) our Helper, 2) the one who convict us of sin. Without the Holy Ghost it is impossible to see ourselves as sinners; we will always justify what we do and never take ownership for our sins. We will always end up blaming somebody else and, even as we do suffer injustices, nobody is free of sin. Without the Holy Ghost we become experts in accusing others of their sin while closing our eyes to our own. Repentance for salvation will never takes place until we are convinced that we are indeed sinners, so we can add that, 3) only with the help of the Holy Ghost we can be saved from sin; for it is the Holy Ghost that gives us the ability to repent. 4) The Holy Ghost show us what is righteous, what is right, 5) the Holy Ghost show us that there will be a judgment coming, that we can’t live our lives as if there is no eternal judgment. 6) The Holy Ghost guide us into all truth. Our freedom depends on knowing the truth (John 8:32). That freedom can only be found through the Holy Ghost. 7) The Holy Ghost will show us things to come; we as Christians should not be blinded concerning the future; and 8) The Holy Spirit is here to glorify Jesus. First Corinthians 12:3 tells us, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” (NASB) Our greatest job on this earth is to glorify Jesus; think about this; we can’t glorify Jesus without the Holy Ghost.

To be continued…

Church Hurt


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I have been hearing about the imperfections of the church within days of receiving Christ as my Lord and Savior. Within local churches there is always somebody offending, somebody upset with this sister or this other brother, some disappointment or wound somewhere. People hurt people; it is a matter of time!

We are all, as Christians, encouraged to walk in the Spirit, that is, walking in love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.[1]However, often times, because we also have to deal with the nastiness of our flesh, we walk in sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy; drunkenness and orgies.[2]The Born Again experience does not mean that we are immune from walking in the nastiness of our flesh. If the right bottom is pushed, we will find out exactly what our true level of spirituality is.

There is hurt everywhere! You will be hurt in your jobs, in your community, in churches and even in your own family. Humans have been hurting other humans since the beginning of times. We will hurt other humans by the decisions we make, by the things we say and even by our body language.  We serve a mighty and good God, but we are not mighty, and we are not good either; none of us are.[3]

The Bible guarantees suffering.[4]That is why in the Christian faith forgiveness is at the center. Because suffering is a sure thing, because people will hurt us and we will hurt them; because there will be disappointments, betrayals and much pain, we must always be willing to forgive. God has given all of us the ministry of reconciliation[5]and He has made it clear that forgiveness is key for us receiving our own forgiveness. Matthew 6:14-15 tells us,

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (NASB)

I say all of these things to say that the solution to deal with church hurt in particular is not by removing God out of the equation. The solution is not to discourage the gathering of the saints. The solution is not to justify why a person should stay away or be exempt from becoming a part of a local church. I don’t want to be insensitive from whatever church hurt you have been a victim of; however, I want to remind you your biblical duty to forgive and also warn you not to let your pride get on the way of your responsibility as a believer. Hebrews 10:23-25 tells us,

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (NASB)

On these verses we are encouraged to 1) hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering. After this he takes the time to describe how to hold on to that confession by 2) reminding that God will fulfil his promises. He continues by encouraging us to 3) truly learn to love one another by intentional acts of kindness towards one another. Lastly, 4) he seals his point by establishing that these things can only be fulfilled when we share space and time together; that is, the assembly.

Church hurt is not a reason to move people away from God and the assembly; church hurt actually accelerates the need for such assembly. Is God not big enough to deal with our pain? Do we feel qualify to keep people away from God by offering man-made solutions? Anything secular is ultimately designed to keep people away from God, is an attempt not only to question our need for God, but to question his existence altogether. For the Body of Christ to rely on any secular system is an insult to God. Jesus is uniquely qualified to heal the broken; it is exactly what he came to do. In Isiah 61:1 the Bible tells us,

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners; (NASB)

 As Jesus initiates his ministry, he quoted these exact words in Luke 4:18. So why do we feel the need to keep people away from God or the assembly? Why do we attack the church so much? Why do we become the accusers of the bride? I am not arguing that we as the church MUST get better; but I assure you that we are getting better. Is God not faithful to finish the work that he has started on each one of us? None of us has arrived yet, we all have a long way to go; but that is the work of the Holy Ghost. God promise that he will finish what he started in us.[6]

In conclusion, don’t judge a product that has not been completed yet. We, as the Body of Christ, are a work in progress; all of us are. We need to give folks truth and grace; that truth and grace comes from God. That is the example of Jesus.[7]We are called, as mentioned before, to reconcile people to God not to find justifications to push them further away.

 

Key Bible verses for this article:

 

 

[1]Galatians 5:22-23

[2]Galatians 5:19-20

[3]Romans 3:10

[4]John 16:33

[5]2 Corinthians 5:11-21

[6]Philippians 1:6

[7]John 1:17

Resisting God’s Word from Within


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 Imagine for a minute you or me teaching a group of kids the game of basketball. Imagine also that in the middle of our practice the great Michael Jordan shows up to volunteer his time to teach these kids. Jordan comes in and says, “Hey guys, don’t worry, I got it from here.” Nevertheless, imagine if we tell Jordan, “I appreciate you MJ, we can use your help; may be this afternoon we can use you to teach the kids; how to do free-throws or something. For now, make yourself comfortable, we will call you if we need you.” How stupid do you think this is?

 Without knowing how stupid we sound, many brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ adopt a similar approach when it comes down to God’s Word. John 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (NASB) We can’t separate God from the Word. We are talking about God here! To place any man-made science at the same level of God or, as a substitution to God is absolutely ridiculous.

 First Corinthians 3:19 tells us, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God…” (NASB) In First Corinthian 1:25 Paul also states, “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (NASB) How dare we, as Christians, place any ideology, science, method, etc. at the same level with God? These disciplines could be useful; I don’t deny that, but they must bow down to God. God is not just a part of something, God MUST be at the center.

 Some of the excuses I hear for not teaching God’s Word is that a different approach should be followed for people who have been hurt in the church.  Can’t God not handle hurting people? Is His power that limited?People are hurt in the church for essentially three reasons: 1) Misrepresentation of God’s character and ways, 2) people’s own sin and pride and 3) the normal imperfection of humans. Humans hurt humans all the time. What is then the remedy for this, very simple, you give folks the truth. The Bible tells us, “…If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (NASB)

 There is no freedom of anything without knowing the truth. This is a good lesson for any ministry to learn. If God is not at the center, then you don’t have a ministry, what you have adopted is a form of godliness; this form of godliness rejects God’s power. At the end of the day, when God’s power is denied, you will see very little progress taking place.

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also. 2 Timothy 3:1-9 (NASB)

 Noticed in in verse 7 Paul states, “…always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” These are people with degrees, highly educated, powerful folks and well respected. Nevertheless,with all of those degrees and information they are never able to come to the full truth. It is indeed expected that the world resists God’s Word; that’s what secularism is all about, to demonstrate that God is not needed. It becomes an issue when the church allows these lies to infiltrate.

 I hear things such as, “Well Angel, the truth does not come from God only, we can find the truth everywhere, even in the secular science.” My answer to that is that they are correct, truth can be found everywhere; nevertheless, all truth comes ONLY from God, no matter who the source is. The devil hijacks some of these truths to validate his lies. The Bible tells us that God is love.[1]In First Corinthians 13:6 the Bible points out that love delights in truth. All truth originates from God. On the other hand, the devil is described as the father of all lies.[2]All lies comes from the devil.

 I conclude this article with the claims that Jesus made about himself. Those claims are truth; let Christ himself plead his case when He said, “…I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” 1 Corinthians 14:6 (NASB)

 

 

 

 

 

[1]1 John 4:7-21

[2]1 Corinthians 8:44

Grateful in the Midst of the Destruction


Isaiah 54:17 remind us that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. There are two promises here: 1) weapons will form against us. The life of a believer is not always cookies, butterflies and flowers. 2) The greater promise is that these weapons will not prosper. David also reminds us in Psalm 34 that many are the afflictions of the righteous. However, the greater promise here is that God will deliver us from all of them. As I start the beginning of a new year I must remember these words more than ever.

            The year of 2019 started with our house burning on Jan 17th. We lost many of our possessions. Our house was destroyed! That’s the weapon formed against us; that’s the affliction! However, no loss of life! That’s God’s love, that’s God’s protection, that’s God’s power to deliver and that’s God’s faithfulness. God is the God who turns things around! I have seen family members, friends, co-workers and even strangers giving my family emotional support, words of encouragement, help, clothing, cooked meals and even money. I am overwhelmed by such demonstration of love.

            A year from now we will be able to see what comes out of this. I asked that you guys pray for us, pray specifically for favor with the insurance and all the details that comes with the territory of this process.

Víctimas o Vencedores


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Para comenzar quiero establecer que nosotros como Cristianos no somos víctimas. El vernos como víctimas es una directa contradicción a las Escrituras. El no ser víctimas no significa ausencia de sufrimiento; el sufrimiento es garantizado.[1]En 2 de Timoteo 4:7-8 el Apóstol Pablo nos habló de la batalla que el peleó durante su vida como Cristiano. El Salmo 34:19 nos dice que “Muchos son los males del justo, pero de todos ellos lo librará el SEÑOR.” (Reina Valera Actualizada 2015) Entendemos que esta vida no es fácil para el Cristiano; mas el énfasis no puede ser el sufrimiento, sino el poder de Dios para echarnos adelante.

            Apocalipsis 12:11 nos dice, “Y ellos lo han vencido por causa de la sangre del Cordero y de la palabra del testimonio de ellos, porque no amaron sus vidas hasta la muerte.” (RVA 2015) Todo Cristiano tiene record de sobrevivencia. No hay necesidad de vencer si no pasamos por la batalla. No es que buscamos pelea es que la pelea viene a nosotros. Acordémonos de que el diablo viene a robar, matar y a destruir (Juan 10:10), por eso es que él es nuestro enemigo. Hermanos, esto nos es un juego, tenemos un enemigo con el cual no hay posibilidad de reconciliación y el cual carece de amor y de misericordia; él se deleita en la maldad… en las mentiras, en los robos y en los asesinatos.

            La palabra Vencedores en Apocalipsis 12:11 es la palabra Griega “Nike” que significa Victoria.[2]Los famosos zapatos “Nike” sacaron el nombre de la Biblia. Hermanos, en el 2018 quizás pasaste por un divorcio, quizás perdiste un ser querido, quizás fuiste diagnosticado con cáncer, quizás perdiste tu trabajo, quizás sufriste traición o quizás cometiste tu más grande y bochornoso error. No pierdas tu fe en Dios, arrepiéntete de tus pecados, perdona a los que te traicionaron y dale tus lágrimas a Dios. Al comenzar del año 2019, agárrate de esta promesa,  “…en todas estas cosas somos más que vencedores por medio de aquel que nos amó.”  Romanos 8:37 (RCA 2015)

[1]2 Corintios 1:3-4, 1 Pedro 5:10, Romanos 5:3-4, Romanos 8:18, Salmo 34:19 y muchos otros.

[2]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

The Seed of Socialism


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Well, it seems like the millennial generation prefers socialism over capitalism. I was thinking today, where is it that this mentality comes from? Are they aware of what is going on in Venezuela?  Are they aware of the historical failure of socialism? As I was watching dishes today, a strong taught came to my mind, the seed of socialism started at home.

            We, as responsible parents, want to give our children all they need. Many go as far as giving them all they want without even considering if they are ready to receive such. In this process, we are raising a generation where chores were not mandatory; where our children did not have to work for anything; no consequences and no discipline.

            We bought them the latest video games; so they vegetated for hours. We gave them full and unlimited access to the Internet; so now is ok to talk to strangers. And, we bought them iPhones so that they can stay connected with anybody… but us. We made sure we bought them the cool shoes and clothing that reflected exactly how they wanted to express themselves. Absolute truths are antique, a thing of the past; there is now nothing to hold us together; no respect for anything!

            The idea of earning anything is an abomination for many of these millennials. The idea of winning and loosing is unfair or… RACIST! We no longer need to work hard for ANYTHING; others MUST do it for US. Beloved, when the pride and dignity of working for your stuff is taken away, when you expect and demand others to do what you are ABLE to do yourself… THERE… is the seed of socialism.

The Gospel that Offend


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The Gospel is offensive. As a mater fact, Jesus is referred in Scripture as “…the rock of offence.” (I Peter 2:8). We live in a world where there are no absolutes, where everybody is able to be whatever they want to be regardless of the truth. We live in a world where a man can say that he is a woman and a woman can say that she is a man and if we dare to point out to what, up to a few years ago, was obvious, we will be accused of intolerant, racist, haters and the list goes on and on.

            The gospel establishes that, without Christ, we are destined to hell, that we are sinners and that we need a Saviour.  On top of that, the Gospel establishes that only Jesus has the power to save (Acts 4:11). These Biblical truths are establishing, very clearly, that something is wrong with us, that we need some serious help and, that there is only one remedy for our problem. Jesus declared in John 14:6, “…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (NIV) Today, these words are considered fighting words for sure. The world hates the message of the Gospel.

            In its simplest form the word Gospel means “good news.” This good news is in direct contrast with bad news. The bad news is that no human being in his/her own power or merit is able to enter into God’s Kingdom. The good news is that through Christ and, Christ alone, we will be able to enjoy eternal life with God. By the miracle of grace and through the power of faith given by God (Ephesians 2:8-9), we then are given the ability to repent of our sins, believe in the testimony of Christ, His birth, life, death and resurrection and be saved from hell. Our confession then, becomes the reflection of what God has already done in our hearts (Romans 10:9-10).

            The good news does not stop there; there is a promise of deliverance, there is a promise of redemption and there is a promise of restitution. The good news is that Christ’s blood did not only cleanse us from our sins and transgressions, but it is powerful enough to blot-out our iniquities and deliver us from curses. The good news is that God has a plan for us, not just a plan, but an excellent one. The good news is every promise and every blessing the Word of God has for us.

            The problem is that, in the name of not offending, we compromised. We have created this illusion that by just showing up we are ministering the gospel. That we can communicate the gospel without telling the story of the gospel; that we can create programs, ministries and, if we just give people free stuff and are nice to them, we have done out job. We avoid, at all cost, giving to people what people really need, the TRUTH. That truth may cost us persecution, that truth may cost us some friends, a job, a promotion or even our own lives, so it becomes easier to compromised. In that process we become adulterous by becoming friends of the world. In doing so, we become enemies of God (James 4:4).

            Now, let’s face it, it is vital that we maintain a good testimony before unbelievers[1]. After all, we are in this world with them[2]. Nevertheless, we are told, specifically not to partake of their wickedness[3], to get out of the secular system[4]and to not be conformed to the pattern of this world[5]. It is impossible to minister the gospel while partaking of their wickedness. Impossible! So I leave you with these words,

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15 (NIV)

 

 

 

[1]Colossians 4:5-6

[2]John17:16

[3]Ephesians 5:6-8

[4]Revelation 18:4

[5]Romans 12:2

Tainted Mirrors


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We have allowed agitators; men with selfish agendas, delinquency and greed for political power take away the validity of our cry. We are lacking the spiritual force to inspire true change. We lack intellectual clarity to give meaning to our historical tears. America is divided, everybody knows that and everybody says that! America is wounded with an infected wound.

         America needs to go beyond images and fancy rhetoric and take a deeper look at the result of things. America needs to go beyond money and find satisfaction beyond material possessions. The Scripture asks the question, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”[1]I celebrate the success in the economy, low unemployment rate and job creation; but we can’t loose our souls in the process; we can’t loose ourselves as a nation and we definitely can’t loose our faith in God.

         We, as Christians, must be anointed and equipped to articulate the Gospel, to teach God’s principles and to walk in power. God is good and the ONLY hope for mankind. We, as Christians, must expose doctrines of devils and those who are hijacking our faith in the name of a conservative ideology. Christ is Christ all by himself!!!!        Beloved, it does not start with the government or the system; it starts with us! We must get done what we have the divine ability to get done. We must love God… FIRST and, we must love us SECOND. We have allowed the historical injustices that our ancestors suffered, to bring down the value of the appraisal of our souls. We are bringing down our own value through our music, as we celebrate murdering one another, through violence and the degradation of our women and neglecting of our own children.

         Beloved, we are valuable; we are royalty and sons and daughters of the King of all kings.  CNN is not America; Fox is not America and Hollywood is not America… they are tainted mirrors of what they want us to see… open your eyes and see for yourself.

[1]Mark 8:36 (NIV)

Golf and the Way I Think


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Nothing has challenge the way I think like the game of golf. To be a successful golfer you must be optimistic and confident. That’s is not going to guaranty that you will be successful in every single shot you make; but without optimism and confident you won’t go too far in this sport.

            Dr. Bob Rotella, in his book, Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect, stated, “People by and large become what they think about themselves.” This is not an original thought; it is actually a Biblical principle. In Proverbs 23:7 the Bible tells us, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” New King James Version (NKJV). We truly are what we think. As I work on my swing, club selection, the short game and all of the aspect of golf, I must keep in mind optimism and confidence. This is not a call to endorse arrogance; but a reminder of the power of our own minds; the power of the way we think.

            I am now reading a second book by Dr. Rotella, this one is entitle, The Unstoppable Golfer: Trusting Your Mind & Short Game to Achieve Greatness. Dr. Rotella makes the point that the successful golfer is psychologically strong. He explains that even as golfers do make bad shots; they do not dwell in them. He explains by stating, “Psychological hardiness is, more than anything, a choice. You decide how you are going to think, how you are going to perceive what happens in your life. You may think this is difficult, but it is one of the things that great golfers do. They remember their good shots and their triumphs.”

            I could use brutal force in any other sport; I can get angry and react accordingly and it may help me. That kind of approach does not work in golf. I must get rid of any frustration, anger, fear, insecurity, etc. and visualize greatness at all times. If I don’t, is going to cost me greatly; my shots will be consistently be in the woods or over water. On the other hand, If I do hit my ball deep into the woods or into the water; whatever the situation may be, I must stay cool; look for a way out, recover and move on. The quicker I get those horrible shots out of my mind, the better. I argue that this is a parallel with life itself. The Bible specifically tells us what to think about, Philippians 4:8 tell us,

      Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (KJV)

            The Bible encourages us to focus our minds in very specific concepts. As you can see, there is a list in this Bible verse. Our focus should be on 1) the truth. The word True means, “…real, conformed to the nature and reality of things.”[1]I am fully aware that there are many opinions out there; that it seems like the good seems to be judged as bad and the bad seems to be judged as good. Nevertheless, we know the truth. It is that truth that makes us free (John 8:32). We should not focus on the arguments; the distortions of truth or hatred against the truth; our focus should be on truth itself. 2) We must focus on whatever things are honest. The word honest means, “…to worship, venerate. Venerable, reverend… represents not only earthly dignity, but that which is derived from a higher citizenship, a heavenly one, which is the possession of all believers.[2]We must focus on God; what could be more honest? To focus on what is truly honest is an act of worship to God; it is the highest expression of our citizenship as believers. 3) We must focus on what is just; the word Just means, “Righteous, just… that which is right, conformable to right, pertaining to right, that which is just.[3]As believers our focus should be on what is right; in doing the right thing and in trusting God as our judge. God will judge all things and he will give out proper justice. When we focus on injustices we grow frustrated and bitter.

            Paul continues with this list by encouraging us to, 4) focus on whatever is pure. The word Pure refers to what is innocent or blameless. This is indeed hard to do, as we are surrounded by wickedness all around us. However, our minds must raise above all the evil in the world and focus on what is pure and blameless. In golf we must visualize good shots; we must visualize the ball going in, in our minds, we must see ourselves playing well, etc. We should not be focusing on the hazards, the sand bunkers, the water or the woods. There is no limit in our minds; we must spend time closing our eyes and see ourselves doing well. Again that will not guaranty that you will make every shot, but you will make more and more of those. Visualizing yourself doing poorly will indeed manifest in course very, very quickly. 5) We must focus on those things that are lovely. The word lovely means, what “is dear to someone, beloved. In the NT, used of things, acceptable, pleasing.[4]The mind should focus on things that are not only pleasing, but most importantly, acceptable. Focus on the good and not on the bad. It sounds simple, but how many of us have been guilty of focusing on totally unproductive things? 6) We must also focus on those things that are of good report. The word report means, “Well–spoken of, of good report, praiseworthy, laudable.[5]Sadly, in the world we live in today, bad news sells more than good news. Negative talk has become normal amongst us. However, the apostle Paul is telling us to focus on those good things that are happening. As I said before, we should not be dwelling on our bad shots, but on the good ones. Many of us continue to focus too much on our mistake of the past and are unable to focus on the good things God has done in us and through us; we must start doing so.

            Paul also speaks of our need to focus our minds on 7) Virtue, this word means,  “…moral excellency, perfection, goodness of action.[6]With the sharp decline of morals in our society it is extremely difficult to focus on such virtue. However, that is where our minds should be. We should not be conformed to the culture and fall into the mentality that justifies evil in the name of, “everybody else is doing it.” Lastly we must focus our minds and look for what is 8) Worthy of Praise, that is, anything worthy of “Applause, commendation, praise, approbation.”[7]

            When you put this list together and take a close look at it, there is no doubt that Paul wants God’s people to be optimistic; we should be the most optimistic people on earth. Golf is a game that helps us apply these principles as we play against the course’s degree of difficulty and against ourselves. Every course is different; every course has its own challenges and beauty. My newfound love for golf is challenging the way I think because I cannot be successful in golf unless I embrace optimism. Dr. Rotella in his book Golf is not a Game of Perfect states, “The correlation between thinking well and making successful shots is not 100 percent. But the correlation between thinking badly and unsuccessful shots is much higher.” We can say the same thing about the game of life.

[1]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[2]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[3]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[4]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[5]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[6]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[7]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).