Monday, February 28, 2011

FEB 28 DID YOU SAY THE "D" WORD?!!!

     Very rarely did Jesus speak and then speak again on the same subject, later on. But there are cases in the Gospels where a subject came up, that Jesus had more than one quick retort and this subject is one of those that provoked Jesus to say more than just one quick retort. If this was paraphrased in modern day venacular Jesus would have said, "you don't even want to go there!"  But...they did. "So what about this divorce thing Jesus", the Pharisees asked (paraphrased by me).  You want to talk about the "D" word, let's talk...The ONLY REASON "Moses"(not I) permitted divorce was because of the hardness of your hearts! You want to know what I say, I say "what God has joined together let man not seprate".  What's interesting in our text is that it is written, "when they were in the house again" the subject comes up AGAIN.  And AGAIN Jesus has more to say on the subject.  Jesus isn't done with this subject that obviously has vexed him and the pharissees have opened up a can of worms they should not have opened.  "I tell you what else says Jesus, "anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery!!! Now I'm done!!! So there, you wanted to know about divorce, now you have it!(paraphrased by me)  We might say, "easy there big guy....I was just asking a question".  But there are some questions you may not want to ask God unless you're ready to get a mouthful because some issues really touch on the heart of God just like some issues are real sensitive with us and people better not ask us what we think unless they are ready to get blasted, so to speak.  Divorce is a touchy subject with God and it ought to be.  There are very few things that God has ordained "to be" that he has allowed to be otherwise....AND what I find interesting is God stands behind his man, and that would be Moses. He (Jesus) says, "Moses wrote you this law"  this wasn't my doing, I"m gonna stand behind my man but I'll tell you where I stand on the issue, "I don't accept it, regardless of what Moses permitted and I'll tell you this, go ahead and divorce, Moses permitted it, but you'd better not remarry or I'm holding your feet to the fire on this; except where there has been infedelity (this we read later on) (paraphrased by me). With all that said, I would say we still need to have empathy, I did not say sympathy, but empathy for those in a difficult marriage and those considering divorce. We need to always admonish that it is not God's will, but yet empathy (not sympathy) will go a long way.  For those of us that are in marriages that divorce has never been a thought, we cannot understand what is in to be like in a relationship where hate, disdain, and bitterness has taken over and we can be quick to judge and not be at all compassionate, but God has always cautioned us to be very careful about be quick to Judge. It is not God's will, that we know, it is not what God had planned, that we know, but we and God also know it's a reality of life and I beleive our best approach to divorce would be to learn from those that have gone down that road, have empathy for them, but not sympathy, make clear it is not God's will and most important, make sure it never happens to you and I, within all our means and ability.  And for those that have you need to reconcile that with God and your spiritual headship, if you haven't already, and for those that have not divorced do everything within your means to make sure you don't divorce. Many people reading this blog may have tons of questions concerning this subject and I adivse you to seek the counsel of your Pastors.  Comments are always welcome, but questions on this matter, should always be direted towards your spiritual headship. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

FEB 26 "DO NOT _____________ (YOU FILL IN THE BLANK!)

     "Don't do this" is HALF of righteous living, the other half is DO THIS, do these things and you will be blessed.  HOWEVER today, it's about "don't do this" and the question is "why would we do these things" that God tells us not to? Simply cause....we are not righteous. Most people you meet in life are not righteous people.  When I read this "when you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvesrt. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen..."  I thought immediately of Boaz, as I'm sure you did.  Boaz gives implicit directions to his men, that this principle is followed (did they not already know about this principle, of course they did) so that poor (literally) Ruth may benefit. If you study the life of Boaz you will find a man who lived a life worth wanting to emulate.  Boaz is not a man of much fanfare, he is simply a righteous man. Boaz's life speaks for itself and obviously has caught God's attention.  Boaz, no doubt has "the goods"  It is no surprise that Boaz ends up being in the lineage of Jesus Christ. Boaz applied these Godly principles that were long forgotten or ignored by the unrighteous.  Godliness is not defined by how many prayer meetings we attend it is defined in righteous living. This is not an excuse to blow off prayer, but prayer in itself does not always depict a righteous man or woman. As we have all seen people who seem to pray allot that are not righteous in the day to day. They are mean tempered and ill towards other men. Every now and then you will come across a righteous man or women, they are the man, the woman, doing the right thing actually for the right reason, not to be seen by men but simply because they are righteous.  Another man that comes to mind that depicts this righteousness is Cornelius. He is not an "Apostle", he is just a simple man, living out his life, doing right, being right, being liberal, praying behind the scenes, giving to the poor, dealing justly with his fellow man, in short; doing the right thing for the right reasons and this man catches the eye and ear of God!  Yes, it is written in the Word of God "there is none righteous" but it is also written that Abraham committed an act the God records as "...and it was counted to him as righteousness".  Jesus said, "hunger and thirst for righteousness (and you won't ever get it?) and you SHALL BE FILLED!" Filled with what? With God's righteousness. No, these men were not filled with their own righteousness, they were filled with God's righteousness, but in the end, that made them "righteous men".  Boaz, Cornelius and David, we know were not perfect men, certainly not David, but yet these men were amazingly righteous. And it often comes down to "not doing" whether we like it or not. Most of David's righteous living came not so much in what he did, but what he DID NOT do that revealved his righteousness. "he would not strike down Saul" "he would not take an altar for free"  "he would not strike Nabal down". These truths in our text are timeless, if you want to be righteous, Do not take everything for yourself, leave something for others, the poor, Do not deceive each other, Do not defraud each other, Do not hold back wages, Do not pervert justice, Do not show favortism or partiality, Do not  slander people, Do not hate, Do not seek revenge, simply said, at the end of the day, God is simply saying, "would you just be righteous! The righteous man does not live righteously because life has afforded him too, he lives righteously because HE IS righteous, ie: filled with the righteousness of God! If you are a Cornelius or a Boaz, then a bad day doesn't change that, fatigue doesn't change that, unanswered prayer doesn't change that, mean and cruel people don't change that, a bad day at work doesn't change that, none of these external circumstances influences a Boaz, they are irrelevant to him. Your rating (concerning righteousness) before God will not be tallied by how many church services, prayer meetings, ministries you were involved  in, it will be measured by how you lived out your life, were you just, liberal, merciful and compassionate with your fellow man, this will be the standard God uses. This message is consisten from Genesis to Revelation, and if we fail here, no matter how faithful we are to church services, prayer meetings, ministries, commitees, boards, and various other functions, it does not matter, we have failed. Oswald Chambers said it best, "many a man will give himself to a religion, to a creed or to a mission, but are there any men that will give their hearts to Christ?"

Friday, February 25, 2011

FEB 25 I DID IT MY WAY!

THE song that Frank Sinatra may very well be most remembered for may just be, "I did it my way". Not so much because it was such a wonderful song (although it was pretty good) but more so due to the irony of the song and how it's meaning played out in his life.  Frank Sinatra did not leave behind a legacy anyone would want to follow in. It was certainly a life of failure, misery and destruction. He was an alcoholic, divorced, scattered children, scattered relationships and involvment with the mob.  He died a broken, miserable and lonely man, but yet today, the radio stations will still play one of Frank's greatest hits, "I did it my way".  So what does this have to do with today's reading....well we read that the children of Israel are offering sacrifices in the open fields and God commands them to stop doing this or be cut off from His people. God is telling Moses, "you tell these people they are not to make sacrifices in the open field but are to bring their sacrifices to the Lord, at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and sacrifice them there!" (paraphrased by me)  And my first thought is, "so what, who cares where they are sacrificing, as long as they are?, right?"  WRONG! God says "what do you think i instituted this for, for nothing?" (paraphrased by me)  I can't help but think of the Church when I read this; more and more Christians are blowing off the church and doing "their own thing...my way" at home.  And DON'T you dare try to challenge them on it or they will tear you apart. Would not God say the same here?  "No, you're not going to do your own thing, do you think I instituted the Church for nothing, is there not a reason a purpose?" (paraphrased by me)  "But it's imperfect", we say.  Even more imperfect than the church was the practice of the sacrifices, but yet God says, we will continue to do them and YOU will do them at the Temple, NOT just where you want.  And there are many reasons for this that we don't have time to get into, but first and foremost would be the reason God clearly defines and that reason is, left to ourselves, and our ways, we will get squirly. We will naturally start to pervert everything, doing it our way.  "Out on our own, out in the open fields is how CULTS get started, it naturally breeds and festures a perversion and twisting of the way things "ought" to be. The Antithesis of the Christian Faith is "my way".  Remember, when you are doing "your way" one thing you can be sure of..., is you're not doing it GOD'S WAY.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

FEB 22 CRY IF YOU ARE UNCLEAN

     How interesting...or perhaps uninteresting this reading on boils, leprosy and every other manner of disease. What's the point?! Well, there's a very practical application especially considering they did not have doctors back then, I'm sure the Israelites loved this instruction, it would save many lives.  Hmmmm, the saving of many lives...by separating the clean people from the unclean people, lives could be saved.  The clean people would not be infected and the unclean people could be healed. Yes this instruction from God was very practical but it was also very spiritual. Notice it was the Priest who "pronounced" if you were unclean. This was not left to the individual to determine for obvious reasons. "Prounonce" is a big word, it describes a definitive statement, it is judgemental in a sense.  So let's put all this together now, we have a God who separates the clean from the unclean, he pronounces those that are unclean and commands them to be separated from the people until they are clean, 7 days. Then (check this out!) He (God) says they are to.... cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.  From my experience, even from what I saw posted on facebook today by a supposed Christian, there will be many that God will pronounce unclean on their day of judgement. God will not allow them to determine whether they are clean, he will make a definitive pronouncement on them and they will be deemed unclean and will not be allowed to dwell with those that are clean and they will be ostrawsized from God's people for Eternity.  Notice in the N.T. reading for the day, Jesus gives the disciples authority to cast out...."impure spirits".  A spirit, just like a virous or disease is something that attaches itself to you and I thought it was interesting that the New Testament reading would mention this.  Revelations reitereates that nothing that is impure will enter God's presence. God says to all of us today, "if you are unclean, cover your face and cry out, UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN" until you are made clean. In other words be ashamed of your uncleaness and hopefully the shame will be a motivator to be made clean. Better to face shame on this side of eternity and be made clean, then to be pronounced unclean for eternity, on the other side.

Friday, February 18, 2011

FEB 18 DON'T LET THE FIRE GO OUT

     We can get very deep an analytical about all the requirements of the altar and rightly so, or we can completely ignore them, BUT there is even one that I can figure out, that speaks loud and clear and that is... "The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out."   God ignited the fire and it was up to the people to now tend to that fire and it was their responsibility to keep the fire going and NEVER to let it go out?  I wonder what would have happened if they had?  This is obviously a foreshadowing of the Holy Spirit being born in us, Jesus said, "John has come to baptize with water but I will baptize in the Holy Ghost and FIRE!  God will ignite the life of Christ in us by the Holy Spirit and we must keep the fire burning and never let it go out.  The priests were to tend to the fire daily, add wood as needed and maintain the fire. God could have made it not only that he would supernaturally ignite the fire but also that it would be self perpetuated, but HE DID NOT!  You maintain the fire daily!  This is the main purpose behind this blog and the One Year Club, it is the maintaining of the fire, the tending to the fire daily and making sure it NEVER goes out.  There have been days, weeks, months and years were my flame was flickering to nothing and I feared my flame going out and tended desperately to that flickering flame.  In Isaiah, The Lord says, "a smoldering flask I will not put out". God will never be the one guily of putting out our flame, if it goes out it is because we have not tended to it.  So what happens if it does go out? I would not want to find out...will God re-ignite it? He may or he may not.  I know people who used to have Faith in God, walk in his ways who no longer have faith nor beleive anymore. It is better to make sure you follow God's command "NEVER" to let the flame go out, rather than be negligent and hope that God re-ignites it, do you really want to play with fire like that? (No punn intended). You know when your flame is flickering down to nothing and the slightest strong breeze (trial) that blows on you will snuff it out; get to work today, add wood, burn some fat, do what you need to do to get the flame up and running once again!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

FEB 16 AS A RESULT...

     AS A RESULT, "Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places". Imagine, this man's disobedience actually put an an end to what Jesus had previously been able to do; not only that but it forced Jesus to remain outside in lonely places. I wonder what is the result of our disobedience? What have we stopped Jesus from doing? What have we hindered? Often we can get caught on the idea that God is sovereign therefore I can do whatever I want and God will make it work out.  Of course this releases me of all resposibility of having to "listen" and puts everything on God. We like this false theology....BUT read this passage, Jesus gave this man specific instructions for a reason, AS A RESULT of this man not listening, no longer could Jesus enter a city, "way to go dufus", we might say, but how often have we done the same? What will you say today, what will you do, where will you go, how will you react, even after the Holy Spirit has urged you NOT TO, that will hinder Jesus' influence in that place?  "Aghhhhh, God will find a way, it will all work out", no, that avenue will be shut, that place of influence will be done with, that door will now close, that revival will ceise. We don't have to be psychics to please God, we just have to obey him when he says, "don't do that, don't say that, please do this" that's all we have to do. "Jesus sent him away with a strong warning, see that you don't tell this to anyone..."  Jesus knew what the ramifications would be if this man did go tell everyone and Jesus knew he would not be able to reverse it either! Next time you're in a predicament that is similiar, just think..."AS A RESULT Jesus ____________________ (and you fill in the blank).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

FEB 15 SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO

     WOW, imagine having to live like this??? I'm so glad we don't have to live like this anymore....imagine having to wait on God to move.  In our text we read that "...in all the travels of the Israelites whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out-until the day if lifted".  I mean, how restrictive is that?  Well that was the Old Testament and now we are in the New Testatment and I can come and go as I please, I can go here and there and God will just follow me around like a lost puppy dog, so glad "I am free in Christ" and not under oppressive legalism of the Old Testament. Of course that was all just facetious talk...The principles of God are forever enduring.  Jesus himself reitereated in the Gospels, "do not say tomorrow I will go here and do thus....". This principle is very, very applicable to the Christian life today. Wait on God, don't move a head of God and don't lag behind either. No we don't have a cloud hanging over our lives to guide us, we have better, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. We do have the liberty to motion forward, but always remember when the Holy Spirit checks you, stop in your tracks, you have either gone a head or are going in the completely wrong direction.  The Apostle Paul writes, "we were going in one direction but the Holy Spirit forbade us and we went in another" (paraphrased by me).  In the normal on goings of life it's not so much about praying whether or not I should have Captain Crunch or Frosted Flakes for breakfast, but it is more in keeping an open heart and mental disposition towards God that when we are moving a head, lagging behind or going in a completely in a different direction that He can check us and we will halt in our tracks. Be very careful about thinking you can just get up and leave and go and do whatever you want whereever you want, if you beleive that, you have missed the principle being taught here and enforced through out the N.T.  Our life is not our own, it has been bought with a ransom and God really does have a devine plan and though we do not have to stop and pray at every decision, we must be open to his will, his place, his timing and if ever there's a conflict, that we would yield and either cancel our plans or rearrange them, even as the Apostle Paul did.  Nobody has a blue print laid out before them that maps out God's perfect will and direction; it is a matter of decision from day to day, move when God moves, wait when he does not and be sure, he will get you to that intended destination!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

FEB 11 WHERE IS WISDOM?

     For 3 days we have been reading on wisdom.  The conclusion in today's reading is..."whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death".  Wisdom here is a metaphor, but this statement is literal. Those who hate wisdom will end up dead quicker than most of us, but what about those of us that don't necessarily "hate" wisdom, but just kind of in the middle? We may end up being the most miserable. We don't love or cherish it enough for it (wisdom) to benefit us, we don't hate it enough to where we will probably die for lack of it, so we just remain in this quagmire....of ...of misery. I am currently in a a very complex situation concerning my taxes, having lived, resided, worked and been a citizen of two countries in one year makes is very difficult to file tax returns.  The complication of doing my taxes far exceeds any financial benefit to me (as I have had to hire a CPA in each country), to the point that I (not wisdom) would say, "forget it, who cares", but WISDOM cries out (as in our text) "do it right, the first time and it will save you trouble in the long run". To be honest, I have not always loved wisdom, as a matter of a fact, she (wisdom) has gotten on my nerves many times, it's just my bad nature and the rebel within. How many times have I heard the voice of wisdom and ignored her? How many times have YOU heard the voice of wisdom and ignored her?  What I like about wisdom is anyone can love Wisdom, Christian and non-Christian alike. Wisdom (like God) is no respector of persons.  Wisdom says, " I will benefit any prosper "ANYONE" that loves and cherishes me. The fact is, there are many Christians who sit in the church, sins forgiven & redeemed but still have not learned to value and cherish wisdom.  They are forgiven (thank God) but their lives are plagued with problems.  Wisdom is a complex thing in itself, as there are so many facets, Wisdom is mixed in with understanding and prudence, they come in a package, to pocess one, you must pocess them all. Wisdom is not one dimensional, you cannot say, " I have wisdom here, in this area, therefore I pocess all wisdom".  No, I would say, "you pocess wisdom in that one area".  Many successful people in our society pocess wisdom in areas of life, such as: carreer and secular decisions but don't pocess wisdom concerning their eternal future and security. They are the neighbors we hate because they seem to have it more together than we do, and truth be known, they sometimes do and this is the reason. Christians have wisdom in sight of eternity, they see and have enough wisdom to fear God, but that is only one aspect of wisdom, but for many Christians, it ends there! The have wisdom to fear God, but every other decision they make seems to be one that blows off wisdom and they make one unwise decision after another. Why did you do that? Why did you ignore that matter? Why did you say that? These are the questions that Widsom would have asked and they are the questions we ask, from the outside looking in, we think, "did they not think that this would come back to haunt them? Statistics show that many Christian marriages will end in divorce in a few years, many Christians will file Bankruptcy in a few years, many Christians will die of diabetes and other health related problems in a few years and we can only sit back and ask, "did you not think these decisions or lack of decisions would not come back to nip you in the but, harm you or even kill you?" THE POINT IS....Wisdom is not an automatic virtue that comes at salvation; salvation brings with it forgiveness of sins, deliverence and eternal life, but wisdom, just like before you were saved, still is looking for those that will cry out for her, still looking for those that will cherish her above all things and from now to eternity, the promise will ALWAYS be, "Blessed will be the man who listens to me.....but whoever fails to listen will harm himself; all who hate me loved death".  You think you will be blessed just because you're a Christian?!  Think again and look around at your brothers and sisters in Christ and you will see this is not true. Question is, do you pocess wisdom and if so in what facet, just one? The bible says if you will seek wisdom you will find her. What is wisdom crying out to you today, to do?  Will you do it? Do you love and cherish wisdom? Ignore wisdom, don't cherish her and you will live a Christian life, plagued with one problem after another (this is what proverbs means by "you will be harmed) while you watch the ungodly prosper because though they may not have wisdom to fear God, they listen to the voice of reason, wisdom, understanding and prudence on every other facet and it is sad when we watch the lives of those who don't fear God, run smoother and better lives, than those of us that do. We cannot say, " i have the wisdom to fear God" and that's all that matters, i don't care about the rest....if you live long enough, you will learn to care and you will learn to regret, hopefully sooner than later.....your disregard for....WISDOM!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

FEB 10 GOD INTERVENE QUICKLY

     We like to encourage each other by often saying, "God always answers prayer", is that true?  It's comforting, but is it true?  Jesus says, "don't you think I can call on God now and he will send twelve legions of angels.....BUT, how then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say, it must happen this way?".   Our answer to this question would be, "ughhh....Lord I didn't think all that through, all I know is this is a bad situation and I want it to end...NOW!".  And God's reply would be, "okay, but if I intervene here, things will take a different course than I had planned".  There will be times where the Father will not intervene even though we ask.  Are you going to the cross? It could possibly be and it could possibly be that every day you pray, "hey, I'm not Jesus, so why don't you go a head and send those 12 Legions of Angels, if Jesus won't take them, then I will!!!"  Unfortunately, the Father's answer will but, "BUT then how would my will be fulfilled that I am trying to bring to pass...?"  And we may say, " I don't care about that!"  BUT unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) God does care and hopefully years gone by, we will appreciate that God did not intervene.  There's nothing wrong with crying out to God in a crisis, there's nothing wrong with praying, "God let this end today!"  Nothing wrong with that, what is wrong is when we get bitter at God because he does not answer our prayer, that is what's wrong.  "If any man want to follow me, let him deny himself and pick up his cross", Jesus said. Every true Christian has their unique crucifixtion (so to speak) to go to and we are not like Jesus; we will cry out for him to intevene, not caring about the greater purpose behind our cross, BUT be prepared if he ignores your petitions and then pray, "then Father, give me the strengtH to endure through this if you're not sending the Legions of Angels, thank-you, yours truly __________ (fill in your name)".

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

FEB 9 DISAPPOINTED WITH JESUS?

     A side from Judas' satanical inspiration, many believe that alongside with that disposition was also a great disappointment Judas had with Jesus, yes Jesus, can you imagine?!!  In Judas' eyes, Jesus did not deliver as he could and should have and Judas finds himself not just grieved at what he is about to do (betray Jesus), but grieved over Jesus' failure do deliver the goods, so to speak. I love the flow of the reading today, it transpires from Judas (one of the twelve) negotiating the betrayal of Jesus right to the disciples (the other 11) asking Jesus what they can do to prepare for the Passover.  Don't miss this!  They're ALL "the disciples" the "chosen 12" and while one is off disappointed and betraying Jesus for his failure to live up to his expectations, the other 11 are marching along appreciating Jesus for ALL He is and ALL He is doing.  Is this not the same Jesus ALL 12 have had a relationship with, then why such contrasting views? It's an issue of the heart, isn't it! Judas' heart is not right. You can come to church, you can try God, ....see what "he can do for you, how God can benefit your life" but at the end of the day, if your heart is not right, you will betray Jesus. You will walk away from God accusing Him for never having lived up to your expectations.  We see people walk away from God everyday and we, the rest of the disciples, scratch our heads and ask why? And the answer is normally something along the lines of ...."God didn't do what I had expected, he wasn't all that I thought he would be or do"...and we the rest will simply scratch our heads and say..."really???" and then we will turn to Jesus and say, "what can I do to help you Lord, because you are everything you say and more". Does your view of Jesus contrast from your brothers and sisters in Christ, for the worse? If so, watch out, you're on a slippery slope to betrayal, don't be a Judas, don't betray Jesus!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

JAN 8 ABADONED IN TIME OF NEED

     This may end up being one of the greater indictments against The Church of Jesus Christ at our judgement; that we abadoned our brothers and sisters in their most dire time of need.  In our reading today, the Psalmist  eludes to a time of great anguish in his life and because of this his strength is failing; he then goes on to say concerning his friends, "I am a dread to my friends....I am forgotten by them".  Unfortunately, it is when we are not at our best that our brothers and sisters in Christ seem to get turned off by us and often abadon us when we need them the most!  Why is that? Is it because of selfish reasons, after all, who doesn't want to hang around upbeat people full of joy and victory, but are there not times that we need to also grieve with those that are grieving?! Another reason is their weakness probably turns us off, "why are you even struggling with this ....what's wrong with you!!?" Thence, we're turned off and leave them to struggle alone.  I am not talking about a brother/sister who has strayed, is unrepentant and living in sin, I'm talking about a brother/sister who is simply struggling and weak in their faith, probably missing church and putting out a lack luster performence. Do we have empathy for those consumed in anguish or do they now become a dread to us, as the Psalmist writes.  Are they forgoten by us as we move on to fellowship with our more jovial brethren, after all, who wants to be brought down? Be careful! There's often a demonic strategy here, as the brethren turn their backs on the weak because they are turned off by their weakness, the sinner(s) now come around to comfort because they are not turned off and what can happen is a re-kindled allegiance with the world can be formed in these times because we will often gravitate towards those that are there for us in our time of need, whether that be the world or the church we will gravitate towards the one(s) that show us empathy. One of the greater indictments against the church will be our lack of empathy for our struggling brothers and sisters in Christ.

Monday, February 7, 2011

FEB 5 "STUD MUFFIN"

     I've been saved since 1991 and have never really had a problem with wanton women trying to hit on and/or seduce me. HOWEVER, I've heard stories from other Christians that have often experienced this and have often thought, "odd that it never happens to me" (Thank God!!).  I've never been in a situation where I've had to run for my life and "all the better for me", I would say. Sometimes I have thought, "well, I must not be a stud muffin and that's why I don't have these problems and other men/women do. Could it be,  perhaps, that there is more to this, than meets the eye?! In our reading today (Proverbs) we get a little insight into the matter. Our text gives us two insights into the situations of approached by someone into an immoral temption, #1. That women (or men) can discern those that are open to be seduced, they can discern when a man (or woman) might be open to fowl play and they are the ones they go after. #2. We see that these situations are not just "hampcircumstance" as one might think...(we just ended up alone in the break room) but that these situations are premediated.  When a man or a woman looks at you, what do they see? Do they see a man or woman that is vulnerable, do they see a man or a woman that is looking for fowl play or when they look at you do they see a slammed door in their face? Fact is nobody wants a slammed door in their face or flat out rejection or worse an open rebuke, that could be embarrassing, especially if done in public. Men and women that are looking for someone to illicit and affair with will only go after the one they are getting the correct signals from. (Remember this) What vibes are you giving out at work, at church, or social functions or to your neighbor? If you find yourself in situations that you are constantly being "hit on" and having to resist temptation, perhaps it's not so much that you are a "stud muffin" but rather that you a simply giving out vibes that are illiciting those responses from other males or females. Is this always the case? Of course not, there's always the exception to the rule, but according to God's word, there is a discernment that is being excercised by the one that is seeking out somone to have an affair with, let them never discern, that you are one!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

FEB 2 TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY "OPT IN" or "OPT OUT"

     If you were a neutral bystander listening to the ranting rages of the unrepentant sinner, you would hear something like this, " I have a hard time beleiving in a God who just wants to send everyone to hell; poor, helpless people, loving people, just trying their best with the lot they have been given in life and yet, all this God wants to do is send them to hell".  Pretty convincing eh! You might think after that, "yeah, that is pretty harsh, what is wrong with this God anyway".  However, best advice we can ever take heed to, is to listen to both sides of the story before we make a judgement. AND here in our text today (Feb 2) Jesus (God) gives his side of the story. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a King who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. ......but they refused to come".  Wow!  That is completely different side of the story than what I've heard...what I've heard is people want to go to heaven but there is this mean and unjust God that just wants to send them to hell.  Well, there's TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY!  Which one are you going to beleive? The sinner says, "they want to go, but God won't let them". God says, " I am inviting them and they're not interested, they're refusing to come".  My experience would lead me to beleive that God's side of the story is true. But you say, "you're a Christian so obviously you will say that".  True, but "in my personnel experience" I would also say that.  Invite these same people to church, they will refuse.  Invite these same people to a prayer breakfast, paid for an all...and they will refuse.  Invite them to a bible study, with dinner included and they will refuse. Invite them to anything remotely related to God and they will refuse.  How do I know, cause I've tried all of the above! It's not that people want God and Heaven, it's just that they don't want hell.  "If Heaven and God is the only other option, than I guess....."  But the grimm reality is, the answer for the majority of the population is "no thanks, I'm not interested".  Are you interested in Heaven, in God or is it that you simply think it as a better option than the default package, ie: hell.  "I guess if it's hell or heaven, I'll take Heaven, but is there not another option, I mean, after all,  I don't want to be stuck in some long, eternal, boring church service for all eternity?"  The same people who would utter such foolishness are the same ones that judge God for being unjust and simply a God who loves sending people to hell, but the reality is, it is not that He is sending his creation there, His creation is willingly choosing to "opt out" and taking their chances on the default package. Right now is the time to "opt in" or "opt out" for your annual Health Insurance Renewal.  Many will look at the value of their insurance costs, then they will evaluate the benefits and many this year will "opt out" and say, "it's not worth the cost" I will take my chances....This is where humanity is today, they are looking at the costs vs. the benefits of Heaven (in a way a fire insurance policy for the soul) and many and I mean many, are chosing to "opt out" and take their chances.  What will you do?  Will you "opt in" this year or "opt out"?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

THE ONE YEAR CLUB: FEB 1 FAITH BY NECESSITY

THE ONE YEAR CLUB: FEB 1 FAITH BY NECESSITY

FEB 1 FAITH BY NECESSITY

     Verse 31 "And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant."   Faith by Necessity, they were forced to either believe or die.  How often in our walk with God will be be forced into situations that we would never have engineered (as long as we were in our right mind) and come to a place where either I beleive here or I die. The faith that came, came by a situation that was forced on the Israelites. Verse 31 is a longgggggg way from the beatings, the..."Moses why don't you leave us alone"....things are only getting worse, why don't you and your God leave us alone...".  Sometimes it's a long journey from..."God you're not helping to and then I saw the hand of God and put my trust and faith in him".  As a matter of a fact, it's such a long journey, sometimes people don't make it! Point is. trials don't always force faith by necessity but rather, at times, force people outside of the kingdom of God.  And we might be quick to say, "way to go God.., look what you've done, they've backslidden"; as we can often be tempted to do when going through gruelsome trials...but the question is, do you? There's a big difference between being tempted to do something and actually doing it.  I don't think anyone will ever be able to point the finger at God and say, "you're trials are the reason I backslid". Unfortunately, whether we want to admit it or not, trials are simply a means often of weeding out the tares from the wheat, the sheep from the goats. God puts us in situations where we are only left with two choices, "believe in me here or walk away". He did it to the rich man, he did it to Peter, he did it to the large crowds and he did it here in our text.  Each morning we wake in a trial, we must make a conscious decision, do I beleive God for another day or do I stop praying and walk away, faith by necessity, we either keep beleiving or we die. It is one thing to be tempted, as we are all tempted in the same manner, but it is another thing to actually do it.  Where are you today? Will you make it to Verse 31? "And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant."   or will you say, " I have no choice but to beleive or I die..."FAITH BY NECESSITY".