Tuesday, May 31, 2011

MAY 31 NEVER SAY DIE

     "With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit".   Notice our text does not say "and then he died". Why? Because He didn't. It's perfectly written, This is the view we need to have. Nobody dies, this is not a faux-pas, it is specifically written like this because it is the right way. We will never die, your co-worker will never die, you neighbor will not die, your mother, father, brother, sister,....will never die. Nobody DIES!  And it is important that this sinks in. All we do is "give up our spirit". Our spirit then returns to God and from there is either accepted into Heaven, waiting for God's Kingdom to be established on earth or it is sent to hell awaiting to be sentenced and thrown into the Lake of Fire. Nobody dies. We all will live forever! If only we simply ceased to exist like an animal, then for some of us, that might not be so bad, for those of us with hope of being united with family & Jesus in Heaven, that would be quite depressing.  Cemeteries are a farce.  They are consuming millions of dollars from it's citizens to house absolutely nothing. Every month, every year that space is being paid for to house absolutely nothing. There is nothing in that grave but dirt, worms and maggots but yet we pay thousands to house nothing.  Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes writes, "...and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it." And what Solomon wrote here fits in perfect harmony with John, who writes, and gave up his spirit".  The Psalmist also writes in harmony with these scriptures in Psalm 139, " 7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.".
NEVER SAY DIE, because we will never die.  Though we will find the words death and die in scripture, it is always referring to a physical death ONLY. 
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment"  Here in this text the word "die" is used, but what is there to judge if all is dead? Again, the reference here is to a physical death, the soul, the spirit, whatever you want to call it, lives forever and ever and ever. If you are hoping and yearning to die because you think it will end all your present turmoil and problems in life, you are either naive or mistakenly ignorant of the grim reality that death is not the end, you are simply passing from one life (the temporal) to another (the eternal) and there you may find peace in the arms of Jesus or there you find the greatest horror you could ever have imagined.  Do not ever seek death as a means of escape, seek Jesus. Jesus is your means of escape. Let us not look at people anymore as if they die or just expire, let us be sober about this and look at people as eternal souls because that's what we are really looking at and speaking with everyday, eternal souls wrapped in a temporal body, never say die!

Friday, May 27, 2011

MAY 27 UNSHAKEN!

     DAVID is unshaken in his faith, he has always been unshaken in his faith.  When running for his life from Saul, he was unshaken in his faith, and encouraged himself in the Lord at Ziklag. When faced with a grueling miserable tortuous death, facing Goliath, he was unshaken in his faith and here, suffering in the consequences of his sin, after much fasting and contending to the mercies of God to spare the life of his son, he yet, once again, even when his son dies, is unshaken in his faith. What does David do when he finds out his son dies; that he has just fasted for; our text today says, "he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house....and ate".  You may say, "well what else was he supposed to do?"  Well, certainly not go worship the God who ignored his prayer! Instead he could be angry at God, begin to waiver in his faith and wonder..."is God real, maybe this is all just a joke, maybe there is no God and if there is a God; then he is unjust and cruel to let a little, innocent boy die!"  There are many paths David could have taken, but David is unwavering and unshaken in his faith no matter what life throws at him, no matter what sins David commits, he always finds himself back at the feet of God.  David cries out to God to spare his son, he has all the confidence that God hears him, he is not sure if he is going to change God's mind, but he sure is going to petition God's good nature, as if he were dealing with anybody else.
     What you see in David is a man who truly knows Jehovah is real. David understands that Yahweh
is personnel God and that He hears the prayers of his people.  And even more so, David respects the fact, that in the end God has the final say and is just in whatever that is. David doesn't question if God is real just because his son died. David has long resolved the issue of whether or not God is real. Have you decided once and for all that God is real, that God is just and all his ways are blameless? Can you worship God in unanswered prayer, can you worship God in losses, can you worship God when you don't get your way? I remember being deployed, while serving in The United States Marine Corps; we were out at sea, just 50 miles off the shores of Somalia on the USS Pelileau; and on that ship we had a thriving little church of 25 or so men. In one particular study I asked the question, "what circumstance or event in life, should God forbid it ever happen, do you think would deter you away from your faith in God?".  I did not ask for a verbal response, but just for each person to deal with that in their heart and commit to say, "Lord, no mater what circumstance may come my way in life, I do resolve today to be unshaken in my faith".  A few days after, one of the Marines in the bible study, Sergio Cammacho,  was notified, on ship, that his 4 month old son, that was born just a few weeks before we deployed, had suffocated in his sleep.  He cried and wept before me and I did not know what to do. So I said, "God is still God, God is still good, though we don't understand his ways and there is certainly no benefit at this point to turn from him, we need him more now than ever, He is still worthy to be praised and so we set a time for the following night to meet together and worship God. To my surprise, Sergio, who had lost his son, showed up and we began to just lift up our arms and voices to God and began to praise and worship our Lord. I remember pausing for a moment to look at the Sergio, who hours ago had just lost his son; and what an amazing sight it was to see, this man, just a day after losing his only son, sitting there, with his hands lifted to his God, worshipping and praising him, "WOW!", I thought, "this is amazing! and I myself was greatly encouraged by this man's unshakable faith in the midst of great suffering. This Marine's story and King David's story will always remind me of each other. Two men, with resolute faith, loss of a son, find themselves worshipping God and then eating and unshaken in their faith. This is no indication that David nor the Marine did not love their son in anyway, it is simply a stance, a posture in life, that God is good, God is just and he is worthy to be praised and worshipped in all circumstances and events of life and when we respond in this manner, God is able to bring a supernatural healing of the heart and is able to recompense his children beyond our wildest dreams, of any loss suffered, if we don't lose faith.  We know in our story that after David's son dies, the Great King Solomon is born to David.  What kind of faith do you have? Is there any circumstances of life, that God forbid, they happen that would throw you in a tumble of disarray and unbelief or have you resolved once and for all, that God is real no matter what life indicates, and that God is good no matter what life throws at us.  Job said, "though he slay me, yet will I praise him, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed by your name!"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MAY 26 A BIG BLEMISH ON DAVID'S LIFE

     WE cannot speak enough about David. David is "the real deal".  He is not a Jew trying to practice his religion, he truly is a man of God and has a genuine relationship with Jehovah. "Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God's kindness?"  And David is not just trying to sound good! He really does want to show God's kindness. God's kindness, shown through God's people will go a whole lot further in our witness than preaching fire, hell and brimstone. Mephibosheth is mentioned to David. He is a disabled man and has now become associated with the rift raft of society. He is a nobody, forgotten by all the "somebody's"  David brings him into his household, restores everything to him that belonged to his grandfather Saul and then adds this,  "And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table"Not only am I bringing you into my Palace, but you will eat at my table, you will be part of us, we will not only engage you economically, but socially you will become a part of our lives too. That David would bring in rift raft and then ask that rift raft to dine with him, at the King's table is more Christlike than any of us will ever dream of being. This is exactly what Jesus does with us, he calls the rift raft of the world, washes and cleans them up and them asks them to dine with him at his table, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
     There is no doubt that David is "a man after God's own heart", but David, for all his kindness, all his love, empathy and compassion, for all the good David wants to do for God, he has but one great weakness....WOMEN.  He has multiple wives, all beautiful and he gets to have sex with everyone of them, whenever he wants, there is no saying "no" to the King.  I'm sure there was something distinctly unique about each of his wives that attracted him sexually to them. He did not have to deal with their PMS, he did not have to try to cater to them, they were kept in a room in the palace and he simply summoned them when he felt the urge. David had certainly, in every aspect...made provision for his flesh. He's live every man's dream. He has multiple beautiful woman to sleep with and has no ties to these women other than to make sure they're fed and well kept and that he has his staff to do for him. These women make no demands on him, they are simply there to satisfy David's sexual appetite. Think about this....this is a supposed "man of God"!  However, what David fails to realize is lust for beautiful women has an insatiable appetite.  In other words, you cannot satisfy it. It is not as with hunger, that can be satisfied , for a time, by a good meal. Lust only grows more ravenous as we cater to it. The more we feed it, the more it wants. Lust must be starved to death in order to die (though it never truly does die). While David is sincerely a genuine man of God, as many are that are reading this blog, he must fight a very ungodly side to his life.  Unfortunately God has put in man, a passion in him, that is aroused by sight.  Women are the Achilles heel of all or most, ...men.  If we were not so driven by our sight and lust for women, we would never pursue them, we would be quite content amongst ourselves, ie: men.  There's nothing more that a man yearns for than a "get-a-way" week-end with just men. Women, by nature, drive men crazy, if it were not for their beauty and man's lust for that beauty, woman, for the most part, would be dismissed by man. 
     I worked on the flight line for years serving in the Marine Corps, Air Wing.  We had several vehicles needed on a flight line, to get the job done, that of course needed engines. However, for the safety of all, each vehicle had installed in it a governor on the engine.  This limited the speed of the vehicle, no matter how much we wanted to speed, we could not. We did not have to worry about self control, the governor took care of that for us.  How I wish God had put a governor in us with this arousal by sight, passion for woman and lust for beauty. Why did God not build in a Governor in man?  The reason this blog started with David's Godliness is for men to understand that even one of the Godliest men that ever lived, struggled in this area. David had multiple wives (and this was not to show them God's kindness, but to satisfy his lust) and yet still is caught lusting after yet another beauty, even though he has a harem of beautiful women he could choose from to sleep with at any given moment. Why didn't God put a governor in men to prevent us for causing accidents and deaths with this lust and passion?  Just yesterday I heard of another man that is being removed from ministry because of this related issue. A marriage near destroyed, children hurt and a church left in disappointment and disarray because their head Shepherd himself has succumb to this.  How hurt Joab and Israel must have been to have know that David had succumb to this.  Joab but this we do know
     How important it is that we guard our relationship with our wife. How important it is that we keep a healthy, active, sexual relationship with our wives. Paul, the apostle admonishes us to "not deprive one another of sex"  WHY?..., cause it's mean? NO, he says, "so we don't fall into temptation".
The wife that we have and the holy spirit are the BEST means of any  governor that a man has and when man allows his relationship with God to slip and allows his relationship with his wife to slip, he has left himself wide open for temptation, with very little ability to resist or reign in that passion.
Another powerful governor is "the eyes" the eyes are the gateway to the heart. Job said, "I have made a covenant with my eyes not to lust after another woman".
     If you are struggling in this area (and you are if you are a man) and don't want to fall (and I hope you don't) pursue the safe guards/governors God has given; pursue God and pursue your wife, be fulfilled spiritually by the one and sexually by the other and you will do well. If you let these relationships slip then it is just a matter of time before you fall. David is our example of Godliness and he is our example of the frailty and vulnerability that man has to lust, even if he is "a man after God's own heart".  Last words from the Apostle Paul, "if any man thinks he stands; let him take heed, lest he fall!"  The irony is, those that think they are above this will probably fall and those that fear it because they see their own weakness and vulnerability... probably will not!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

MAY 25 IMPERFECT LEADERS

     Are you being lead by an imperfect led? If you are, then welcome to the rest of The Church of Jesus Christ; for we are all being led by an imperfect leader.  The heart of a leader is what matters, not his perfect tract recording in decision making.  David asks his spiritual leader/advisor what he thinks about his desire to build God a house to dwell in.  Samuel responds, "whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you".  The problem is that most of us rely to much upon our leaders and not enough on God. Are relationship with our leader is much stronger than our relationship with God and this is a ticking bomb waiting to explode. On the other hand, others are "super spiritual" and they believe all they need is a relationship with God and they have no relationship with their leadership. They avoid spiritual leadership and refuse to give them any recognition, "he puts his pants on in the morning the same way I do" is often the mantra of these pseudo spiritual disciples. You'll notice in verse 18, our text says, "Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said...."  David has the right balance between headship and Lordship because he is not "super spiritual" he is simply a true man of God. He understands the place of spiritual headship in his life and he also understands the place of God in his life. The two work in conjunction with each other.  A man who has great relationship with headship but no or very little relationship with God is a recipe for disaster. The man who has a TRUE relationship with God WILL have a good relationship with his headship. A man who believes he is in love with Jesus but avoids and disregards headship is a deluded man who God will never be able to use to his full extent and desired purpose for that man.
     What is admirable about this particular leader (Samuel) is his ability to admit to the one he is supposed to be leading, that "he was wrong".  How many leaders would rather hope and pray that things somehow just work out, rather than return and apologize or return and admit that they were wrong, gave bad advice and retract what they have spoken.  I don't know what went through Samuel's mind, but if he is like the rest of us, I'm sure it went something like this..., "how stupid I am going to look going to David now and telling him he can't build God's house after I so confidently told him it would be okay. How can I do this? David will look at me now and not know what to believe? Perhaps David will lose confidence in me as his spiritual advisor and headship, how then will I lead him, it's better I don't say anything, God somehow will stop him and I can save face; otherwise David will think I don't hear from God and I am just making it up as I go"
     I'm sure these were some of the thoughts that passed through Samuel's mind, but yet he put them aside, humbled himself and went back to David. The best harmony in any relationship between disciple and leader is one where the disciple is humble enough to seek his leader's advice and one where the leader is humble enough to admit when he is wrong and most important, it is one where both are seeking God behind the scenes and each has their own relationship with God and ultimately relies on God to be the ultimate decider and director of a man's destiny and purposes on this earth.
  Proverbs 19  21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand."   This is our hope and our promise and this is exactly what happens in our text. David has many plans in his heart, but ultimately it is God's will that comes to pass and there's no grievance between these two men (leader and disciple). If you're having problems getting anywhere spiritually it could be that your relationship in either of these two areas is to top heaving in one and to light in the other. Relationship with God = relationship with headship & relationship with headship = relationship with God, humility as the preface and trust in God as the base = destiny, purpose & harmony.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

MAY 24 A NEW COMMAND

     JESUS is going to be leaving his disciples, I'm sure that brought allot of thoughts to his mind about what was best to address with his disciples.  In Jesus' absence, what would need to be addressed? With this going through his mind, this is what Jesus comes up with. " a new command I am giving you, "love one another" by this men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another".  What would be one of the major concerns in Jesus' absence, according to Jesus, that these men would bicker, fight and devour one another without him there to be the peacemaker.  Pastor's spend half their time trying to convince congregations members not to kill each other.  Paul writes in his epistles, "stop devouring one another". No doubt, Jesus' foremost concern, concerning his leaving the disciples is that He will no longer be around to be the peace maker. Who will keep these men from ripping each other apart....hmmm....hey guys, listen, A NEW COMMAND  I give you, LOVE ONE ANOTHER, okay? What is the response of the disciples? "Lord, where are you going?"  Nobody says, "yes, Lord, you're right, we need to love each other".  Jesus has just said, " A NEW COMMAND....."  and not one word is recorded in scripture as to any response from either of the twelve men that are sitting with him, concerning Jesus' new command. It goes right over their heard. I wonder if Jesus thought, "excuse me, did anybody hear what I just said, A NEW COMMAND, does anybody have any response, anybody here wondering why I gave you A NEW COMMAND?".  "Yeah, yeah...we know Lord, we know, love each other, love your neighbor as .....we know Lord".   BUT you don't know, that's why this is being brought up, you DON'T KNOW.   LOVE is sorely lacking 'till this day amongst the brethren.  We either despise one another because of our differences or we despise one another because we see each other as competitors.  We will befriend the young lambs, but ignore the older sheep.  LOVE ONE ANOTHER....yeah, yeah, I know, i know....Lord where are you going, that's what really concerns me.  JESUS I LOVE, it's people I can't stand, it's his sheep that get on my nerves.  Peter you love me? Than.....FEED MY SHEEP. (That will come later when Jesus re-appears to them after his resurrection.) We put much emphasis on "winning souls" and little emphasis on loving them. Could it be that we find it easier to preach to someone, fill out a convert card than to love and nurture them on their journey and walk with God. MANY want to catch fish, but few want to clean them up once they're caught. I once went fishing with my wife, she liked to catch the fish, just didn't want to mess with them after they were caught. How accurately this describes the Church today. What's ironic about all this is the bible clearly tells us that we CAN DOD NOTHING to save a soul, but we can do everything to LOVE.  Jesus didn't tell Peter to "save souls"...what did Jesus tell Peter???.... "Feed my sheep, care for my sheep".  A NEW COMMAND I GIVE YOU, LOVE ONE ANOTHER, BY THIS MEN WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES.  When we put this into practice, then we will see the scripture fulfilled, "and those that were being saved were added to the church daily."

Monday, May 23, 2011

MAY 23 TO MUCH DRAMA!

     This is a sad story (in the O.T.) about two leaders who do not have their heads screwed on straight. It leads to the senseless death of many; and if that's not bad enough, the drama continues years after this horrible incident. Years later when Abner decides to come over to David's camp, Joab is incensed and plots to murder Abner, to revenge the death of his brother, who was killed by Abner, in self defense....to much drama! Take note, when there is to much drama amongst God's people, this is a clear sign of a lack of relationship with God. David is the only one who mourns the death of this innocent man.  He makes sure to let everyone know he had nothing to do with this vengeful killing of Abner, by Joab and his men.  David has to live a life by which he is surrounded by other Israelites, all Jews by birth but yet none, or very few of the men around him have a relationship with God.  They all know the sacraments, sacrifices and rituals that a Jew must live by, but they do not have a relationship with God, as David does. We walk and function in Christian circles, as David was surrounded by nothing but Israelites so are most of surrounded by Christians, but sometimes we too may find ourselves surrounded by others who have the sacraments down, but no relationship. We are amazed at the bitterness, unforgiveness and vengeful spirit that exists in the circles we walk. It can be discouraging to see men with leadership status act in such barbaric ways, but it's reality. The important lesson we can learn from David is he never got so discouraged that he lowered his standards to theirs and succumbed to their ungodly ways. We know that David does fall pretty low with Bathsheba years later, but after a course of a year repents and gets back on track. Joab never repents and continues on his course of revenge, bitterness and ungodliness dies an ugly death.  We can become so discouraged with Christians today that we actually turn away from the church and Christians all together, but is that really God's will? The closer we come to Jesus' second coming, the closer the church will resemble the world, the more heretics we will find in the church and the bible tells us that "the hearts of many will wax cold".   Yes, their are many apostates in the church, but the Church is still God's plan and means for the equipping of the Saints and the Evangelizing of the World and we must never allow ourselves to be discouraged by the the tares the God allows to grow within wheat, one day God will come back and he will separate the two, until then, hold on to true standards, keep your convictions and maintain, above all else, your connection to the True Vine.

Friday, May 20, 2011

MAY 20 FLIP FLOPPING

     I just finished remarking in my mind, about how spiritual and in tune David is with God until I begin to read the next paragraph and then I'm forced to take it back. One thing that cannot be overemphasized about David is how truly righteous he is and what an awesome man of God he is.  That being said, he, like us, seems to flip flop back n forth between two opinions. In this paragraph he is on a roll, 9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the LORD lives,” he said, “the LORD himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish."  David is right on the money here, not just on his convictions but also on his hunch about Saul's future. Saul will perish in battle, by the hand of the Lord. His convictions are right on, he's premonitions are right on, He's right on, he's in tune with God until...the next paragraph.... 1 But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines.  David himself just said that he doesn't have to lay a hand on Saul, that God would take care of Saul and now already he has flip flopped on that and is planning to flee, to the land of the Philistines (of all places) to save his life from Saul. First God is going to take care of him and Saul and now David is going to have to take care of himself. From great faith and confidence, to fear and instability all in the course of a few verses. It is so evident here because the scriptures are so close to each other it's easy for us to see the contradictions and David's faith and convictions.  He flip flops as you and I do.  We are stirred when we see and hear of our spouses, brethren and friends speaking great faith but we are just as quickly irritated when we see them, the next day, flip flop and not carry out any of the convictions and faith they spoke of the day, week or month before. It's one thing to flip flop in our minds, but it's another thing to actually give in to it.  David actually does go to the land of the Philistines. No only does he flip flop in his mind, but he doesn't counter it with faith, he gives in to it and changes his course.  Jesus told Peter, "pray, because the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" our flesh will always challenge us (sometimes the very next morning) the moment we want to step out in faith. Common reason and rational thinking will always snuff out faith, if we let it. We cannot try to intermingle faith and pragmatism, they are diametrically opposed to one another.  The moment God stirs you to faith and you say, "now let us sit down and think about this and use reason" that is the moment you are done. We cannot try to justify, with reason, to our families, co-workers, principals and employers, why we do what we do for God. There is no reason, practically speaking, there is no "explaining". In the natural sense, it is ludicrous. This is why Paul says, "when the Lord spoke to me, I did not confer with flesh and blood" in other words Paul says, "this is a spiritual thing" and if I try to confer with human beings about this, they will not concur with me and may very well talk me out of this. I am going to have to separate what is natural from what is spiritual. If I know that it is God than there is nothing to confer or discuss, if we are not sure, than there is plenty to confer and discuss, especially with headship and those that are mature in the faith (in the multitude of counselors there is safety).  Are you flip flopping in your faith? Is it because you are not sure or is it because you are letting your flesh and natural reason get the best of you?  Pray that you have the spiritual strength to follow through on what God stirs you to do for him in Faith and don't allow common sense and reason to get the best of you. Don't be a FLIP FLOPPER.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

MAY 19 IRRECONCILABLE RELATIONSHIPS

     WE have two instances of relationships gone bad in just one reading. The first part we read about David and Saul and in the latter half we read about David and Abigail. David has the perfect scenario he needs to convince Saul that he is not malicious; and at first it works, Saul calms down but eventually that "proof" is forgotten, it has no lasting effect and the relationship between David and Saul quickly deteriorates back to what it was. Trying to prove we are not "bad' and vindicate ourselves to those whose view of us has been tainted and/or even poisoned, is often a useless exercise. The cleverest argument, the most convincing evidence will have no lasting effect because the real issue is "their heart". When one individual in a relationship does not have a right heart, nothing can be resolved; however the opposite is also true, that when both individuals have a right heart, the worse circumstances can be reconciled.  Anything can be resolved by two people with right hearts; while nothing can be resolved by two people when one or both is dealing with a bad heart.  The difference is perfectly clear between David and Saul and David and Abigail. David is furious with Nabal, and rightly so and is going to annihilate Nabal and his hold household, including Abigail. How different it is though between David and Abigail. Here you have two individuals, both with right hearts and they are able to talk this over and listen to reason. The issue is never how bad the violation, the issue is always how bad "the heart".  I've seen couples recover from moral infidelity while other couples cannot recover over a simple lie that has been told. The issue is "the heart". Are you spending countless hours and energy trying to rectify a relationship that no matter how much you pray and try, it is to no avail? Perhaps you are dealing with someone that is not so much been violated or unjustly treated, but rather with someone who simply does not have a right heart anymore. The issue is no longer the violation (though they may have been one) the issue now is "their heart".  I have had messy situations that I knew would turn out okay because I knew the people I was dealing with were mature Christians with good hearts.  I have also had other situations that were not so flammable, but yet was not as confident things would work out, and they didn't.  Trying to justify and reconcile relationships with people that don't have a right heart is futile; our job is to reach out and try, then leave the rest with God and most importantly, to guard our own hearts and make sure we don't get bitter towards them or allow our hearts to become tainted too.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

MAY 17 WHEN THINGS WERE SIMPLE

     Our reading today says,  "Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most."  I would imagine David wept the most.  David's life used to be simple. He had a family, he had a job that he loved, he had peace and quiet times out in the field, with God and his sheep, he was quite content sitting out in the fields, writing Psalms to God and watching over that flock that he had been assigned to by his Father.  Life was simple, life was carefree, life was good! David had no aspirations for anything else, but yet God did (look out David!)  This poor, little shepherd boy gets called out of this simple, carefree living into a life of turmoil, hurt & disappointments. He is now very much removed and detached from his family, he is married to a woman who does not at all share his values or his love for God and now he is alone and on the run for his life and I'm sure David thought, "how I long for when things were simple, why God did you not just leave me where I was?".  David has to leave that town, go to another town and turn into a liar, then he must leave that town, go into another town and act like a madman. How degrading this must have been to David to have to act in such a manner. Unfortunately, nobody that has ever given themselves to a life of leisure has ever lived a life worth any mention. Book, movies, mini-series, etc...etc...have all been written about the great King David, not the David that liked to frolic in the fields with his Poetry and Sheep, but the David who was THRUST into greatness by God. Thrust in to a very difficult life, anything but a life of simplicity; yet he accomplished great things and became an ICON of a MAN.
     When things were simple..., oh, remember them days, but what were you accomplishing? Let me answer that for you...NOTHING!  Do you long for the days when things were so simple, but yet God is thrusting you into adversity and great challenges, challenges that if He does not help you with, will consume you? If so, then Thank Him, Thank God today, thank him tomorrow that He will not allow you to waste your life, the one life you have been given on earth, to live for Him. Most people are just living to die, they go to work, sleep, eat, go to work, and are simply wasting away. We need God to thrust us out of our comfort zones, we need God to thrust us out of our simple lives that we have designed. Why do we need him to thrust us out of these scenarios? Because if he did not, we would not and we would end up living insignificant, mediocre existences and He knows that when we would stand before him and give an account for our lives AS CHRISTIANS we would regret that we wasted away opportunity and lived such an unfruitful and uneventful life FOR HIM. Jesus said, "He who saves his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake shall find it". We will only find the true meaning of life when we allow God to take us out of our simple lives that we have put together and allow him to thrust us into raging waters, that is when we will truly experience Divine and sustaining Grace.  In those times you will weep, as David did, you will long for the days of simplicity, but know that one day when you stand before God and give an account of your life, you will not have to be ashamed nor suffer any regret....But David wept the most....

Monday, May 16, 2011

MAY 16 DO YOU KNOW HIM?

     Can you imagine telling the Son of God (Jesus) He has a demon spirit? Can anyone really be that blind and can I say....STUPID!  They have the audacity to tell Jesus they know God and that he has demon spirits.  What's sad is when you're this blind not only can you not recognize God, you can't recognize the devil either.  They condemn Jesus, God in the flesh and they barter and trade with Judas, whom Satan had entered.
     So what is Jesus' response? Jesus tells them, "my Father, whom you claim is your God" .....then Jesus goes on to tell them, "you don't know him, I know him, but you don't".
     Ever had someone try to tell you they know someone, that you personally know and you can tell that they are lieing through their teeth. How do you know....because you know that person too well. Jesus knows The Father and he beyond a shadow of a doubt knows that these men do not know God. Jesus knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that these men, who claim The Father "as their God" are clueless and full of lies".  Jesus is not afraid to call them on it.  Why are we so afraid to call people on their false presumptions about God. Why do we allow people to talk about God as if they know him, when they aint got a clue!  We are so afraid to Judge, we allow people to get off with shear deception and hypocrisy. It does them know good to allow them to continue in a deluded state and it does us no good to walk away feeling like a coward. People think they can get away with saying the know God (when they don't) for the same reason they think they can get-a-way with it when speaking of a person....and that reason is....they don't realize somebody actually knows that person. Who actually knows God anyway, who can contradict me?  When the twin towers collapsed on 911 a news station asked the great evangelist, Billy Graham,  "in times like this how do you know God is real, do you wonder if God really exists?"  Billy Graham answered, "no I don't". The news reported responded, "how can you be so sure?"  Billy Graham responded, "because I spoke with him this morning!".  This probably seemed like a trite answer to the news reporter, but it is not. The in-crowds, them movers and shakers, the rich and famous do not know God and it is how for them to understand someone who says they do.  It is a concept they cannot conceive in their minds, so they dismiss it. "You're crazy", they will say or in Jesus case, "you have a demon spirit. So the question that begs to be answered is, "can mankind truly know God the Father, is it possible for man to really have a relationship with God?" Religion is safe, it allows you to have some kind of relative connection with God. It is tolerable to society, it has man as it's root and it can be understood, but when we remove religion, by-pass and claim to actually have a relationship with God and not some religion you will always stand out, you will always seem a little off track and you will convince very few of your position.  Will you, will we stand alongside Jesus, and at the risk of sounding crazy, at the risk of people saying derogatory things about you, will you risk a social death and say, " I KNOW GOD, I SPOKE WITH HIM THIS MORNING?" Will we challenge those that claim to know God or will we keep silent and let people perish in their delusion?

Friday, May 13, 2011

MAY 13 DO YOU REALLY WANT THE TRUTH?

     This is amazing….or maybe not so amazing.  These men are making critical decisions about Jesus (their Savior) based on wrong assumptions and un-researched here say.  Had they cared to do their research, had they cared to “seek the truth” they would have found out that Jesus was not from Galilee, he was actually from Bethlehem.  Verse 41, “Still others asked, “how can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem”.  Are you kidding me?!!!  Jesus is of the line of David, Jesus is from Bethlehem, he is everything they’re looking for but they are making serious judgments against Jesus based off of information they have heard, but have not researched for themselves to see if it is true.  Jesus is just standing there listening to these men, you think He would have cried out, “hey, I am from the line of David, and I wasn’t born in Galilee, I was just raised there, I’m from Bethlehem” .  Jesus messed up here, had he simply spoken up and explained to them they would have believed in him.  So why didn’t Jesus speak up? Because it would not have made a difference; otherwise, obviously He would have spoken up. Isn’t this why Jesus came, “to seek and save the lost”.  The bible speaks about “not casting your pearls to the swine”, in other words, don’t bother pouring your heart out and waste countless hours trying to explain Jesus to those that don’t really care what you tell them or how brilliantly you explain things.  This group “chose” to believe lies and rumours rather than seek the truth.  They weren’t interested in the truth at all.  We think if we just explain this or that, that that’s all they need and that’s why they’re not believing; only to find out after all our effort, exposing lies, making truth clear people walk away after all that and say….”aghhhh, I still don’t believe”. We just want to strangle them, after all that, you told me you couldn’t believe because of this question and I have completely answered that question and now you say you still don’t believe” and we walk away frustrated.  Jesus was not going to allow these men to frustrate him, he knew better than the issue was not really that they had misinformation about him.  The issue was not that they had bad information the issue is that they had bad hearts and were not interested in the truth.  We should pour our hearts out to those that are earnestly seeking the truth, but we should not give the time of day to those that are totally closed and are not seriously wanting to know the truth and it is up to us, through our relationship with the Holy Spirit, to be able to discern between the two.  Many today chose to believe lies about Jesus for the simple reason that it so convenient for them to believe lies, rather than seek the truth, because then they would have to repent. So they had behind “I just don’t know”, “I’m so confused”, some people say Jesus never rose from the dead, some people say…” they will list all the lies and rumours but will not make the slightest effort to find the truth; and those that do make they effort and are open will find the truth and will be saved.   A perfect example of this is outlined in an excellent book that was written by a devout atheist who “earnestly” set out to find the truth; and at the end of it all he was converted. His name is Lee Strobal and he wrote “The Case for Christ”.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

MAY 12 ENTITLEMENT MINDSET

     I have to admit, I read this story about Saul and think to myself, "I would have done the same thing". I don't know what else to say, maybe you're different. Let's read Saul's excuse,  When I saw that the men were scattering and that you did not come at the set time and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, I thought, "now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal and I have not sought the Lord's favor. so I felt compelled to offer the burnt offerings"  I say, "Amen brother".   # 1 Samuel is late, # 2 the men are scattering # 3 the Philistines are assembling...there's allot of pressure mounting here and the only thing that is stopping them is not being able to do the sacrifice and move on to attack...and where is Samuel? He made what we call today, "an executive decision". So what is the deal here?  The only thing I can derive from this is that God makes no exception "to the rules".  Hard times, pressure moments never gives allowance to deviate from standards. Perhaps this understanding would do well in all of life. None of this men involved in The Enron scams did what they did because they had nothing better to do, neither did any of these men deviate from standards when times were good. When Kenneth Lay, CEO of Enron found himself in a crisis situation, he, like Saul felt justified in deviating from what he was allowed to do as a CEO.  He felt justified even as Saul did. He felt that though rules are rules, in this particular case, there was going to have to be an exception.  THE POINT.....the point perhaps we should learn is that there is NEVER an exception. Right is right and wrong is wrong and the means never justify the ends otherwise everything becomes shades of grey, there is no black or white, there is no right and wrong, everything is then based on moral relativity, situational ethics. There's no black and white right and wrong it just depends upon the situation at hand.  Well, this doesn't go over well with God. Look at the mess it caused at Enron and look at the mess it caused with Saul. We also get more insight into this later on that Pride is also part of the issue here. Never in Saul's younger, more humble days would he have even thought of offering Priestly Sacrifices, but here, where he is older, entitlement and pride kicks in. In his younger years he would have just dealt with the situation or cried out to God to help him, but he would not have dared violate the laws and then try to justify it. Had Saul refused to do this and cried out to God, don't you know Samuel would have showed up. It's no coincidence that Samuel shows up right after Saul gives in and does the Priestly Sacrifice. The Entitlement mindset has gotten more leaders into trouble than anything else, both inside and outside the church. The mindset that because I do all that I do for these people (whether corporation or church) I deserve ____________ ( you fill in the blank).  What we can learn from this story today is that no matter how high the waters rise, no matter how deep we sink in the mud, we must never think that breaking the rules is the answer; rather than crying out to God and waiting on him. "But what if I drown waiting....?" Then you do....but more than likely, though it may get awful close, God will not let you drown or go under. But even at worse, better to go down to the grave or be overcome by your circumstances and be right with God, than violate God's laws and principles and have to answer to him later.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

MAY 11 SEE GOD, WE KNOW BETTER!

     THERE is always going to be those moments that we say secretly to ourselves, " I knew this was right" even though we felt premonitions by God that it was not. This will be a short lived victory for Israel. At this point, Israel is on a high for sure. They asked and begged for a King against the counsel of Samuel and God and eventually God let them have what they wanted, even though He, in his omniscience knew it would not be good for them.  Yes, Israel is on a emotional high right now.  They wanted a King, God a king and not through their King they have just conquered Jabesh Gilead who was threatening to destroy Israel.   News gets back to Saul that Gilead is threatening them, he becomes outraged, rallies the armies together and they have a decisive victory over Gilead. So excited and emotional are the people that they "reaffirm the Kingship" verse 14, there is a great celebration, the people are jubilant and long forgotten are the words of God, that this wanting and setting up a King will not be good.  "There they sacrificed fellowship offerings (don't know who they're sacrificing to, the God they just dissed?) before the Lord and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration".
         Not to sound redundant, but let me say again,....there is always going to be those moments that we say secretly to ourselves, " I knew this was right" even though we felt premonitions by God or received Godly counsel that it was not.  Don't think because you disobey the Lord or Godly counsel that all hell is going to break loose right away. You may have short lived victories at first and it may seem that somehow disobeying worked out FOR THE BEST, but time is often a great vindicator of The Almighty God. "See God, we know better" of course you will never say those words, but you think them and your life is evidence of it.  "Don't be unequally yoked with unbelievers" what do we do....we go out and marry a sinner, force them to come out to church with us and say "see God, we know better" and it may seem to be working out at first and we secretly say to ourselves "aha, I disobeyed, I put God's word to the test, it's just a bluff, this is working out" but wait....time is a vindicator of The Almighty God.  We say, " I hear the preacher threaten us, according to God's word, every week-end, that if we don't read our bibles and pray we will not do well and may backslide, ha! It's a bluff, I don't do any of those and I am doing better than some that do".  Wait, time is often a vindicator of the Almighty God. THE POINT: Be very careful about allowing short lived victories to reinforce our disobedience and rebellious heart towards God. They will be short lived and the consequences to pay WILL NOT be short lived. DON'T be deceived, God will not be mocked, we will reap what we sow in accordance to God's word. You will never be able to point the finger at God and say, "see, I didn't do what you said and it has worked out anyway, in your face!" Oh I know we don't say this verbally, but He hears it echo in our hearts. What do you want, that God's still small voice is saying NOOOOOOOOOO?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MAY 10 HE DROVE THEM AWAY!

     Many of us remember Jesus' repelling words in John 6:66 (notice the number) that drove the crowds away, "unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood...and from that point many turned away and followed him no more".  We remember that, but what we don't realize is before He said that he pre-empted it all with the text we read today. In our text today, Jesus is laying down some facts before He is about to "seemingly" drive the crowd away. Jesus says (verse 26) "you're not here for me, you're just hear for a free hand out, you're hear for the food, the hand out". (paraphrased by me of course).  Then he goes on to say, "whoever God draws to me I WILL NEVER drive away (verse 37) but then he turns around and drives this crowd away after just saying he would not. Actually he says specifically " 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me" WE would have said, "fine sermon Jesus, your crazy sermon just drove thousands away!"  But right before Jesus drives them away with his "eat my flesh and drink my blood" He makes clear that he will not lose any that God has drawn to him AND that he will not drive them away either. We know that after the "eat my flesh" sermon thousands have been driven away and only a handful remain, Peter is one of them. He asks Peter, "will you leave me too?" and Peter's response, "where and to whom would we go, for you have the words of eternal life".  Peter heard the same words, same sermon that all the others heard, but yet he was not driven away, true to Jesus' words, I will not drive them away that God has drawn to me.  Read this text today all the way thru John 6:66 and then re-read again. There is a whole mouthful being said here that is really worth catching. Question is....do you catch it, do you see it? What is Jesus doing here, what is he saying, what has he done and what was his objective?  Once you understand this you will understand much more about church dynamics and the Kingdom of God that is being established here on earth!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

MAY 6 LUCK & FORTUNE I THINK NOT

     There are certain people that you meet that you just know will not remain in the lowly state where they are, at least not for much longer. Have you met them? It could be a server in a Restaurant, it could be a servant in your church, it could be a new employee, whomever and wherever is irrelevant, the point is, YOU KNOW they will not remain in that state. God is going to raise them up, it is inevitable and it is just a matter of time. As low as Ruth is (and she is low/rock bottom) you know upon meeting her that she will not remain there long.  Boaz is not in the position he is in either by luck or fortune, Boaz is also in the position of authority and prosperity because of who he is. I have met these people and so have you, there is an undeniable Grace upon their lives (that we almost envy) that you would have to be blind to miss.  Ruth no matter how lowly a place she has come to will not remain there. Her meeting with Boaz, her willingness to go out and labor in the heat for her mother in law, her modesty and humility is all going to sweep her to a higher level. This attitude, this disposition cannot be faked!  You either have it or you don't.  I have seen people and lowly places and not scene any signs that they are on their way up, while I have seen others in lowly places that I couldn't help but walk away, smiling inside, knowing that they were going to quickly rise up out of that lowly state.  What is there to say about Ruth & Boaz that is bad? These are the people we love to hate, but God loves to love.  Where do people like Ruth and Boaz come from? Are they just naturally prone to be the way the are? Is it something they worked at? Do they have their own demons that they must conquer and put down to be the people they are or does it just come naturally to them? Why are some folks just awful Christians and others such wonderful Christians? Why are some Christians the type you can't be around enough and other Christians are the type you can't stand to be around?  What separates the Ruth & Boaz's from "the others"?  These are amazing, righteous and Godly individuals that God divinely brings together to make an amazing couple!  THE POINT, being low or lowly in life is not the end all. God is not concerned with where you start in life or where you currently are right now. You could be in the most lowly of places and be on top by this time next year. It all depends on who you are? Are you a Ruth, a Boaz, they be sure God will quickly elevate you. Often I wonder why people are kept low for so long and it always comes back to me one way or another of the true character (behind the scenes) of that individual that I have been pitying. We must always trust in the Goodness of God and realize that people are often where they are at for a reason. Boaz is where he is at because he is a good righteous man. He is not faking it, he is not jockeying for position or a man pleaser, he simply is a good, honest and righteous man of God. And it is not surprise that he is where he is at. And it is not surprise that Ruth eventually finds herself on top and over all those that once looked down at her and on top of those she once served.  My answer to my question is I believe these two individuals worked at their character. I do not believe that they were just naturally predisposed towards being such righteous and Godly people, it would be unscriptual. Not much is written of their private lives with God, but you must know that there was a very grand private life behind the scenes. For what is done in private will be revealed in the open, for good or for bad. I believe even Ruth and Boaz had to fight their flesh, fight temptation, laziness, lust and every other temptation of humanity just as much as we do.  You don't have to manipulate your way to the top or prosperity, all you have to do is genuinely love God and have a Christian life that is just as righteous in "private life" as it is in "public life" and God will exalt you in due season. The longer I serve God the more it is coming to my attention that people I once thought were Godly woman and men of God are actually living like devils behind the scenes. They are ill tempered, verbal abusers, gossipers, immoral, unclean and the list goes on. Their private life has never matched up with their public life.  Some of them are now divorced, some have fallen into perversion, some are backslidden and some are still in the church. Just know this....LUCK, CHANCE & GOOD FORTUNE have nothing to do with where we find ourselves in life, it has to do with our private life and who we really are on the inside and who and what God sees when he looks inside our hearts. Does he see a Ruth, does he see a Boaz? if he does, then God will exalt you in due season, beyond a shadow of a doubt, he will, just keep doing right and being right!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

     I prefer to write blogs that relate to the masses; rather than the few. However, today is an exception just like our text.  Jesus is playing (to use a sporting terminology) at a level that the disciples cannot relate to. Professional athletes, and even within the professionals, there are the elite, that function at a completely different level. There are many Christians in the world, but how many of those Christians can relate to what Jesus is speaking of.  Have you ever been so enthralled by what God was doing in and through you, that the last thing on your mind was food. It's not that you had eaten either, eventually you will come down and be starving and replenish yourself, but at that time, you are not hungry in the least. The disciples cannot understand why Jesus isn't starving, and he might have been, had he not just experienced a surge of God running through his veins as he witnessed to this woman in such a supernatural way, he appetite has been vanquished by the Spirit of God running through him. Jesus says,  "34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God".  Jesus is not trying to come off as super spiritual, it's just a simply stated fact, one that at this point in their lives, the disciples cannot relate to, can you? Have you ever been here, where nothing is more fulfilling, more exciting than having God work in and through your life. It snuffs out every other fleshly appetite at that moment. I've been involved in some witnesses where I felt this, all hunger vanquished, nothing else mattered as I could feel God ministering through me and in me, but out of the corner of my eye I could see my brothers in Christ checking their watches and looking irritated because we were already late for a lunch engagement at a Restaurant. In their minds, it was, "finish up already and let's go eat!" And quite frankly I must be honest, I've been on both sides of the story.  Jesus says, "I have a food you know nothing about".  And I would say many fall into this place. Our mindset is, "Christianity is the right way to live, it's a good way to raise our children, it's a better/quality life and heaven is not bad either" but very few ever tap into this food that Jesus is speaking of. If they labour, it's out of good conscience, it they do helps ministry, it's because it's the "right thing to do" but never do they cross the threshold and get to the point of realizing that we can enter into a domain with God where now we are not only doing what we do because "it's the right thing to do" (thought that's not bad in itself) but we are doing what we do because it feeds us, nourishes us, brings us to life like nothing else in this world can. I have a food you know not of. I have worked with people and have had disciples that have followed me and followed my example but never crossed into this threshold. It was always about, "let's do our good deed for God and go home and sleep well knowing we've done our deeds/works for God" never understanding that we can't enter beyond that realm. As I said earlier, there are athletes that play at a completely differently level than even those playing along side them. And there are Christians that are function with other Christians right along side them but they are functioning on a completely different level, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” bold statement to make, but true regardless!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

MAY 4 NO ANSWERS ONLY QUESTIONS

     This story that we read today in the book of Judges prompts many questions in our minds. Had the Levite decided to stay just one more night (as the step father was trying to persuade him) would his wife have been spared of this brutal raping? Had the Levite stopped in the first city to rest (as was suggested by his servant) perhaps his wife have not been murdered. These little, seemingly, insignificant decisions perhaps are not so insignificant.  Are lives, yes are affected by the BIG decisions we make, but they are just as much, if not more, directed and affected by the countless seemingly, insignificant decisions we make every day, on a whim. There was many instances in this story that this man could have just as easily chose differently and the question that bares asking is..."would it have made a difference in the final outcome?"
     How about the war? The Levite convinces Israel to go to War against the Benjamites to avenge this murder and God allows them to take thousands of casualties and 2 failed attempts until finally succeeding in defeating the Benjamites. Why does God allow this? Why not a victory on the 1st attempt, why have thousands of innocent men killed trying to defend the honour of a woman that was senselessly raped and murdered. Why not have instant defeat, with no lives being killed? Why was she allowed to be raped and murdered in the 1st place? We know God is not asleep on this because he has given them direction in the defeat of the Benjamites.
     This story probably best illustrates the average Christian's life.  So many seemingly insignificant decisions we make everyday and in the end all we can ask is, "God why did you allow to make those choices knowing the end result would be this, why didn't you stop me?"  Why didn't God have the Levite stay one more night, he had already stayed 4 nights. Why didn't God have him stop in the first city? Why does God not intervene when I am making decisions that will cost me and hurt me?  We will probably not get an answer to that and you'll notice the Levite never asks God why either. It's not always easy serving God and keeping faith in him, but the reality is we must. We must go forward not fully understanding God and his ways and methods. God will show up eventually, as he did in the victory over the Benjamites, but the questions will always remain, answers to THE WHY's, we will probably never get on this side of eternity and we must continue to walk with God with many questions unanswered, are you willing to do that, if so, you will do well, if not, you may walk away from God one day and that will be a decision that you will regret, your children and family will suffer from and certainly will be an unfortunate, the day you die and must stand before the God that you lost faith in. God is good and we must bank in his character, no matter what life throws at us, we must never waiver in our minds, that God is good, His ways are just and one day, he will set everything thing straight and he will be vindicated in all He did.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

MAY 3 NO RELATIONSHIPS

     Whether this is a cleverly crafted strategy of the Enemy of our souls or not, is irrelevant, though....I wonder! Regardless, the outcome (easy prey and defeat) is more of what we need to focus on.  "There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else."  There are numerous Christians sitting in numerous churches all over the world that are in this situation right now and it's just a matter of time before they are taken out. They have no relationship with anyone else and they too will have no one to rescue them when they need help.  One of the greatest joys, outside of Jesus himself, that we received when we became Christians was the Fellowship of the Brethren.  In the book of Acts we read,  42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals, and to prayer.
     How did we get here? How did we get to a place where we have no relationships with anyone? How did we get to a place where fellowship, sharing meals is no longer part of our Christian lives?  Could it be we are being cleverly and cautiously set up, by the Enemy, for a big fall?  And when we fall, who will be there to pick us up, who will be there for us when we are struggling, who will be there for us when we are faced with the disaster that could be up the road? The answer is....NOBODY.  Nobody will be there to defend us.  This group of people living in Laish had succumb to this mindset, "don't need nobody, we will be fine by ourselves, I won't bother nobody and nobody will bother me".
     What happened to entertaining people in our homes? What happened to desiring fellowship, forming close relationships and linking hearts with our brothers and sisters in Christ?  What happened to taking interest in one another, sitting down by a good meal and sharing stories, testimonies and getting to know each other?  What happened.......?
     Whether we are being craftily set up by the enemy of our soul or this is just part of becoming an older saint, the end result will be the same. We will have nobody to help us in our time of need; which will only solidify our reasoning for leaving the church (these people don't care).  I believe many have allowed the enemy to rip them off of one of the greatest blessing of being a Christian, the enemy has  convinced some that it is a waste of time, effort & money because nobody reciprocates; so therefore why should I?!  That is a bad mindset. It is the same as saying, "why should I forgive them, they haven't forgiven...why should I love them, they don't love me".  The question to ask is, "are we better off for having cast off fellowshipping and sharing of meals together? Has this brought more joy and satisfaction to us in our Christianity, or less?! Entertaining in our homes is a ministry in itself and we do not determine whether or not we will be faithful in a ministry on how much we are appreciated or how much people reciprocate.  I believe there is a call for Christians to go back and re-visit what kept them and gave them the most joy as an early Christian, and they will find, that other than Christ, one of the greatest blessings was Fellowshipping in each others homes, entertaining and sharing meals together. Remember.... "There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else." 

Monday, May 2, 2011

MAY 2 DUMB AND DUMBER

     I have a harder time believing this story than I do the story of Jonah, 3 days in the belly of the whale. Is this story really true? If you take your time and read it and try to digest (mentally) this story, it seems unbelievable that Samson would give Delilah the secret of his strength after 3 collaborated murder attempts by this woman. However, I am going to stand on God's Word that every story in the bible is true unless said or written otherwise. I can say, that I have noticed that people who play church and play with God's word often do become very mentally unstable. I have seen people do much better who just make a decision that they don't want to serve God rather than live a life of duplicity.  I believe that God gives these kind people over to a reprobate and warped mind.  A sure way to lose your mind is to sit in a Full Gospel Church every Sunday, nod your head, say "Amen" and then live a life that contradicts everything you know. A sure way to lose your mind is to talk the talk but not walk the walk. A sure way to lose your mind is to quote scripture and live immorally.  Samson never makes a decision to just be a heathen. He prays to God one day and goes in to sleep with a prostitute the next. He prays to God one day and gets drunk and hold wild parties the next. He does not want to totally reject God but he also does not want to totally surrender to God either.  The best thing Joshua ever did was challenge his people, "chose you this day whom you want to serve".  Jesus also did the same.  The most miserable people in the earth are those with one foot in the church and one foot in the World.  This is why Jesus said he will spit those out that are neither hot nor cold. If you're going to be a Christian, than be one, if you're going to be a sinner, that be one, but don't try to do both and profane God's name. Don't try to quote scripture when you're not living right. Don't go to church and pretend to be a Christian when you are corrupt and unclean.  It is important for us to know that Samson is not an isolated incident of a man who lost his mind playing games with God. I can give you names and testimonies of many that have lost their minds playing games with God.  Samson is a man who never bridled/harnessed his flesh.  He was a man who knew God in every way, he was not an atheist by any means. Samson fully believed in God, in his goodness and in God's power. Samson's issue was not unbelief or questions about God, Samson's issue was he refused to reign in his flesh. Samson refused to walk away from God and just be a heathen. He wanted to be able to have the benefits of knowing God, yet live like a pagan and the end result is Samson became Dumber and Dumber to the point of his own death.  You will die a miserable death just like Samson if you are living this kind of life.  If you want the world then go for it, throw yourself into it and eat it all up for what it's worth.  History and the past few decades is filled with testimonies of men who prayed with God one day and found themselves in the bed of a harlot the next and then showed up to church on Sunday,ie Ted Haggard...how could a man be doing drugs & sleeping with a male prostitute one day; and put himself behind the pulpit of a  nationally syndicated program and not believe he would be caught? It's to hard to believe, isn't it, just a hard to believe as Samson's story, but they are both true! The same way Samson somehow believed he would not be caught.....if you play this game with God, He will give you over to a depraved and warped mind.  All your sense and reasoning will be lost and eventually the pillars will come crashing down on you.