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As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. KJV Matthew 10:7 -- I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. KJV Matthew 16:19 -- Ye are come … unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, KJV Hebrews 12:22 On my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: KJV Acts 2:18 -- That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. KJV 1 Corinthians 2:5 --
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Pastor's Corner
 

5/2/04
Philippians 2:3
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

There is a lot of talk these days about having ‘esteem’, usually a lot of it is about ‘self’ esteem. We seem to be a cult society, compared to all the societal structures of the past, in this particular regard. We will do anything to make sure that people ‘respect’ us; make sure they lift us up. We don’t try to ‘earn’ that right any more; we just EXPECT it to be granted to us by virtue of the fact that we are ‘a human being’. We look into the mirror and then we turn it upon others and say, ‘see how good I am’. When they don’t agree we get crushed.

Looking into the Scriptures I see a different sort of pattern. I see that there is ONE who is worthy of the highest esteem – we call that worship. I see that there is one mandate or law that permeates the text; love your neighbor as yourself. Now that does not mean love yourself with vainglory; rather, it means love your neighbor as you would love yourself. Would you murder yourself? Then don’t do it to your neighbor. Would you destroy yourself? Then seek not the destruction of your neighbor. Would you set a snare for your own feet? Then do not cause your brother to stumble. This is the Law of Love. There is one point of esteem for all men; the body of Christ.

Yes, from the pages of the text, I do find the word ESTEEM; however, as in the passage above, it IS something granted to another, but not because that other ‘deserved’ that esteem; rather as an act of humility on the part of the one GIVING the esteem. The burden of responsibility IS placed squarely on the saints, and they are accountable to God for their surrender to His will in this matter. Humility. The spirit of Christ. The spirit of Paul. The spirit of the Godly one. The spirit of grace and truth. These are the jewels of the scriptures that people admire.

When did Paul boast? Only in teaching fools. When did Christ boast? It says he never lifted his voice in the streets. Clothed in humility. Humility is me lowering my ‘need for esteem’ to be surrendered to another who truly needs my esteem; everyone else. When we fight for our GLORY then strife and superiority prevail. When we fight for THEIR GLORY then lowliness of mind, of heart, of soul occur. Compassion pours out of us when we fight for THEIR BENEFIT, because He Who Knows will share with us the things that we should admire IN THEM, and the things that should be corrected in them because HE wants them to be esteemed even more.

The best answer to the esteem question is found in this verse: “

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2) And what if they don’t? It’s okay. God sees. Don’t forget the following chilling passages: Matt 6:2,5,16. And this blessed passage: Matt 5:12. The GOD give you your esteem. You pass it on.
 © Anthony J. Massotti Th.M., Th.M. 5/02/2004

5/9/04

Deuteronomy 30:19

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

CHOICE! What a terrifying word. A word filled with responsibility; consequence; cause and effect; success and failure; benefit and loss; cursing and blessing.  Who, in their youth, would have ever thought that DECISION was the bases of Life and Death.

When we are young we made choices of all kinds; to eat, to play, to buck authority, to pick friends, to sleep or not to sleep, to do, to go, to be. However, most of those choices carried with them very little major consequence, in the grand scheme of things. And HARDLY were they ‘life and death’ decisions. Besides, all those matters were handled by our ‘adults’ for us. It was their ‘rules’ which we were restrained by; it was their ‘wishes’ we were commanded by; it was their ‘rod’ we were chastened by if we disagreed or went against THEM. The only real consequence was PARENTAL PUNISHMENT.

There were always ‘consequences’ of our decisions, however. Pick a wrong friend, and you get in trouble. Pick a wrong loved one to date, and you got your heart broke. Pick the wrong answers on tests, and you get treated poorly by teacher and parent. Decide to not follow instructions and you might get bruised, broken, cut, or damaged. RARELY were the decisions ever ‘life and death’; and we knew it.

It was one of the reasons we downplayed our parents. We thought they were overreacting. We thought they were heavy handed. We thought they were . . . well, not as wise as us who knew better. Couldn’t they see that these were NOT life and death matters? Adults! Always so over reactive, over protective, over sensitive and over the top! We just couldn’t wait until we were out from ‘under’ THEIR decisions. We just had to ‘become our own person’. Yep, we just knew we would do better; didn’t we. And then it happened! MANY MORE DECISIONS needed to be made! And no longer were they decisions about our heart or our ego only. They were about LONG TERM AFFECTS. Then the painfulness of cursings and blessings hit. Then sowing and reaping hit. Then scary awesomeness of life and death hit. The vastness of the effects of our choices hit. And it was not pleasant. And we became troubled. And we become afraid. And we became small all of a sudden. We ran. We hid.

Ok, not all of us. There were those individuals who seemed to just ‘become adults’ over night; thick skinned, heart closed, experience warn, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps-dog-eat-dog-competitive-superior types -- miserable souls, but seemingly death defying specialists. While they worked and conquered, we wept and withdrew.

Until the day we discovered the greatest decision of them all; the Master program of decision making; the master key for all decision locks; the one decision that makes all other decisions easy. We decided to say: “YES” -- to THE ONE who makes PERFECT decisions: our new Uber-Adult, our King, our Rescuer, our Redeemer, our Friend, our Wisdom, our source of LIFE. Our weeping turned to joy!  But what about the other’s ‘joy’, if they have not made the one decision that REALLY counts?
© Anthony J. Massotti Th.M., Th.M. 5/09/2004

5/16/04
Hebrews 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus Christ, murderously impaled onto the cross-beam of a dead tree that had been a partaker of more men’s deaths than a serial killer, endured. It’s hard to imagine a man in so much pain enduring such humiliation and shame at the hands of men who were not one-one-hundredth the human being that he was. Next to criminals, a class of men he had no right being even in the same cage with, he suffered the looks of the people as they wagged their heads, wagged their tongues, and worse yet, even wagered over his clothes below. Why, that assault upon his soul should have killed him!

If we had been him (falsely accused, misunderstood, misquoted, misrepresented in a court of law, and mistakenly taken as a threat to a nation) we would have shown those rascals who had dared to oppose us a thing or two. Yes, we would have come down from that cross; even if just to get out of the pain. But he didn’t. Instead, he forgives a criminal on the left, assigns his mother’s care to the disciple below watching, prays to the Father who had brought him to this painful place, and the forgives the world (and the people in specific) for placing him in this most painful predicament.

And the Jerusalem reporter down below asks the question of his viewers, ‘Just how did he do it? Was it because he was God? Was it because he was perfect? Was it because he was drugged up?’

Jesus was a man who lived for TOMORROW no matter what the situation was for today. He had always been that way. He knew when his hour would be, and didn’t fear it. He knew what his Father wanted him to do and he would embrace it. He prophesied of his death long before it occurred and came to peace with it. But most of all, and most important of all, HE SAW FORWARD TO THE DAY WHEN DEATH WOULD LOSE IT’S STING! That’s right. He who had RAISED many a dead man KNEW about his own resurrection. He who had visited with Moses and Elijah on the mountain KNEW he would see them shortly. The Kingdom that he had been preaching about and the mansions that he had been promising his believers, he eagerly looked forward to go prepare. And the Father, his beloved Father, welcoming him in with open arms saying, “My good and faithful son, come thou in to the Joy of your Lord”, this kept his HEART safe while his TENT was destroyed by evil assault.

It was not the JOY NOW that kept him through the hard times, the busy times, the tumultuous times and all the contradiction of sinners – not to mention demons – which were arrayed against him. It was the JOY FUTURE that was his solid foundation. HE BELIEVED EVERYTHING THAT HE PREACHED, AND HE LOOKED FORWARD TO ITS FULLFILLMENT.

One day, your joy will be full too; if you follow your Shepherd, if you endure to the end, if you press for the mark, if you partake of the sufferings of Christ, if you overcome, if you let no man take YOUR crown of faith. He understands and will ‘succor’ you in it all; if you will call on HIS name.
© 5/16/04 Anthony J. Massotti Th.M., Th.M.

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Original Quote by Pastor Anthony The Moon Reflects The Sun -- Because It Can! What Do You Reflect?
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