Friday, October 31, 2014

OCTOBER 31 "HAPPY HALLOWEEN......WHAT'S SCARIER T...

OCTOBER 31 "HAPPY HALLOWEEN......WHAT'S SCARIER T...:      I have always wondered about people who claim a peacefulness about dieing. It is not that I don't believe the accounts/stories I ha...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

OCTOBER 30 "DO YOU LOVE ANGELS?"

Do you love Angels?  Apparently, you're not the only one! The writer of Hebrews takes a whole chapter to dismantle, for the Gospel's sake, the worship of Angels. As one man famously quoted, "the more things change they more they remain the same." Here we are, a couple of thousand years later, still having to deal with this issue, of worshiping Angels, in the church.  We love Angels, they're beautiful (not sure how we know this?), they have wings, they fly and best of all, they don't judge. God, he's the boss, the mean guy! Angels, just help and do good. People who have a love affair with Angels, often are not that knowledgeable
of the Bible. Angels may be beautiful and only there to help, but if you read Revelations, they judge (by God's decree) and kill worse than any villain in Hollywood. The Catholics like to worship Mary and Saints, Christians like to worship Angels. Each religion has their own demi-gods that they set up for themselves, rather than go to God himself. Jesus himself is the mediator between God and man, not Mary, not Saints, and not Angels. "I don't feel comfortable going to Jesus, why can't I just go through Mary, Angels or......".  The question is, "why don't you feel comfortable going through Jesus? Why do we avoid authority?  Why do we avoid the boss at work, the principle at school, the Pastor at the front door on Sundays?" Normally there is a reason.  Santa Clause is a distraction from Jesus on his birth. Easter Bunny is a distraction from Jesus on his Victorious Resurrection and Angels are another distraction from a relationship with the Savior Himself. We used to have a woman that would come out to church we her Angel lapel. She never came out to church without it and always had stories of Angels for us and the little kids. She would get the kids to kiss her Angel lapel. She would also talk to me about Angels and I would politely listen and try, like the author in Hebrews, to play down her worship of Angels and point her towards Jesus. I was never quite successful in that endeavor. I wonder if the author in Hebrews had more success? I once lost my wallet and the person I was with suggested we pray to Saint Antony to help us find it. I asked, "could we also pray to Jesus himself to help us find it, after all, He is God, I think He could probably do a decent job too".  The answer was, "well, of course you can, but He may be busy with other stuff, why trouble  Him for the small stuff, just pray to Saint Antony, don't' be difficult!"  Why trouble Jesus with the small stuff? Well # 1, because He told us to and # 2 because nowhere in the Bible does it mention praying to Saint Antony for lost artifacts. Once again, people who are often distracted by religious decoys are often people who are ignorant of The Word of God. In short, our scripture today is simply telling us to "stop worshiping Angels and putting them in a place of preeminence above our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Not just Angels, but Mary, Saints, Santa, Easter Bunny and whatever else we are lured into to draw us away from the one that the Holy Spirit is trying to lure us to, each and every day and that is Jesus, a name above all names, our mediator, our lawyer, our defender, a friend that sticks closer than a brother, a father to the fatherless, a comforter to the widow, the healer of the broken heart, HE IS the one we should go to, there is no other and if there was, there would still be no better, than Jesus, to go to in our time of need, affliction, distress and/or comfort. "Come to me, all you that are heavy burdened down"  Come to me, Jesus says, not a decoy, not an idol, not a lessor god, false god or Mary, Saint or Angel, but COME TO ME!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

OCTOBER 29 "DO YOU WANT TO KNOW THE FUTURE?"

The scripture in Lamentations today makes me think of how ironic it is, that we so desperately want to know our future, but then again, we give no thought to our future, it's a complete contradiction of who we are. And this is who we are, as people, we constantly contradict ourselves. We say "this is what I want" but then turn around and do actions that our in complete contrast to what we said the previous day.....that we wanted. She defiled herself with immorality and gave no thought to her future. Now she lies in the gutter with no one to lift her out.  She gave NO THOUGHT to her future. All we think about is our future, but this text says, "she gave no thought to her future", so which is it? Do we think about our future or do we not think about our future. It's both! All we think about is our future "in our thoughts" but we never think about the future "in our decisions", our decisions, contradict our thoughts. If we our so concerned about our future that we are willing to go to some fortune teller and pay for our future then why don't we make better decisions? We are now living in the future, of decisions we made 1,2,3 or 5 years ago. We are now in that future living out those decisions. Now she lies in the gutter with no one to lift her out.  No doubt she is not happy at this point in her life, but she is living in the future, she is living out, suffering, from bad decisions, way back when, when she gave no thought of the future. Okay, we don't want to dwell in the past, we can't change decisions we made years ago, but we can, today, start thinking about the future. If I make this decision today, how will that work out a year from now? If we are so concerned with our future, why not today start making decisions that will benefit us, or at least, not hurt us, a year from now?!


Monday, October 27, 2014

OCTOBER 27 "SELF CONTROL HAS TO BE A DIRTY WORD"

OCTOBER 27 "SELF CONTROL HAS TO BE A DIRTY WORD":      Paul in our text is breaking down Christian and ethical behaviour in 3 categories.  He's breaking it down for Men, Women & Chil...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

OCTOBER 26 "SCREAM "CULT..CULT....AND BACKSLIDING ...

OCTOBER 26 "SCREAM "CULT..CULT....AND BACKSLIDING ...: IS it coincidence that the two biggest reads in this blog had the words, "Cult & Backsliding" in their title? Most market tren...

Friday, October 24, 2014

OCTOBER 24 "ARE YOU A FOOL?"

I was reading Proverbs today with a little trepidation. Thinking, "I hope I'm not a fool?".  What a negative discourse this is. If the first four books of the New Testament are called "The Gospels" ie: Good News, what would we call Proverbs 26?  As you are reading through this proverb, you don't get the sense that there is much hope for a fool. It's sad because I know a few fools and so do you! Not only does it pretty accurately describe a fool, it also describes or alludes as to how we may try to work with a fool and you know what, I have tried them all and true to this proverb, the results have been as stated in the scripture. Let's look at the idea of "honoring a fool". Verse 8 deals with that. You may ask "who would honor a fool?", I have!  And obviously others have too; otherwise it would not be addressed in our text. I honored a fool in hopes that in honoring them, it would encourage them to change and just like it says, it came right back to hit me in the face! I have trusted a fool with responsibility, I have tried to trust work to a fool and it has always back fired. It's interesting that a whole proverb on "a fool" takes on the subject of laziness too. As if the author is now going to pick on somebody else. However, the author is not picking on somebody else, the fool and the lazy person are one and the same! And as I keep reading, now a few more people come to mind and I am even more discouraged. For some, they are reading this proverb and thinking of a son, a daughter, a parent, a brother, a husband, a wife, a friend.....people will all love so much, but they are "fools" and as we read Proverbs 26, all we can think about is them and how tragic it is. A foolish toddler affects nobody else but himself, but a foolish adult affects all those around him. We are the ones being called, we are the ones having to show up at the police station, we are the ones having to bail him or her out, we are the ones having to go pick up their children, we are the ones having to make room for them in our homes, we are the ones having to lend or should I say, give them our money, our car our time and to what ends? It never seems to payoff. If we invest in a fool, we get a fools return on our investment. Proverbs 26 is clear, there is no hope for a fool. Of course this proverb doesn't talk about the hope of change through Salvation in Jesus Christ, but then again, the New Testament adds to this, "that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is foolishness to them that are perishing". And so yes, let me add to your discouragement, to say that the fool is also a perishing soul. That's probably the saddest part. The fool lives a miserable life here on earth, often hates God or gets to a place where he dismisses God all together (the fool says in his heart this is no God) and then when he/she dies, they perish into everlasting judgement, to make matters worse. Maybe you are reading this today, by some miracle and you are that fool! Well there is "good news" that as long as you're still breathing, there's hope for you to change! "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation".  If you are reading this today and you realize you once "used to be" that fool, but by the Grace of God, by a miracle you changed....I wouldn't let a day go by, that you don't thank God for that. Don't EVER take it for granted that you are not a fool, keep in your mind and heart the idea, next time you see the fool, "there go I; except for and by.......the Grace of God!"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

OCTOBER 23 "TOO EARLY FOR PRAISE, PLEASE..."

Wow, I wish I felt like that in the morning!  Somebody has had way too much Java this morning. "It is good to give thanks to the lordto sing praises to the Most High.It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, a harp, and the melody of a lyre. You thrill me, lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done."  Somebody got off to a good start this morning, was it you? We're waking up tired, very tired. We're thinking about that dead end job we have to go to everyday, wishing we would win the lottery so we could quit, oh but we don't play the lottery, great, then we'll never get out of there. We still don't know how the rent is going to get paid next month, who's gonna be able to fix the car, how our daughter is going to get out of this crazy relationship, how we are going to deal with my husband's layoff and I open my bible and read about this man who seems to have so much joy and victory in his life. He seems to have so much joy and contentment in his relationship with God. What is wrong with me? Maybe I need another cup of coffee, oh never mind, I'm gonna be late for work.....Through out the day I will thnk about what I read this morning and wonder, "am I missing something? Why is my walk with God nothing compared to what I read this morning. I am not in any way thinking of turning from my Faith or my Church. I love my Church and I am glad I"m a Christian, but this morning, to be honest, I just can't relate to this man's abounding joy and thrill to be a Christian and thrilled with what God is doing". I don't know if this is in the bible to encourage me or discourage me? And at night.....I am so tired I can barely remember to take off my shoes before I hit the sack. Last thing I'm gonna do is sit there and ponder on God's faithfulness, it is all I can do to utter a quick "thank-you Lord for getting me through this day" and then it's lights out! Maybe if I didn't work so hard, maybe if I didn't have to run the kids all over the place, pay bills, go to meetings, school events, work events and now our church just announced a week long revival, oh yippie yay! That means more laundry piling up, more late nights, getting the kids to bed late or staying up trying to get homework finished and falling that much further behind. Were Christians meant not to work and just sit at home all day, be well rested and meditate on the things of God and how good he is? I don't think so because His Word says, "if a man will not work then let him not eat".  So I must work, juggle life and still some how, masterfully figure out how to find time & energy to be as in love and appreciative of my Savior as the writer of our Psalm today. Is it possible, really?!  When these words were penned had God ever thought of the life the 21st Century Christian would be living? Wednesday night I sat in church with one eye open and one eye closed, and then switched to the other eye, hoping the preacher would not notice if I had at least one eye open.  Sunday night services our becoming more of a chore as I think of all I need to get done before Monday and how much more, I'd rather be sitting at home, in my pajamas with my feet up on the couch. Am I evil, am I not saved? I don't think so, I don't feel evil, I think I'm saved. I agree with everything that I read today and I would say, "yes and amen" God is good and great is His unfailing love, I just don't know if it would be that early in the morning or that late at night, but somewhere in between the madness of life, I must find time to reflect on my God and how good He is, and yes, there is definitely no evil in him!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

OCTOBER 21 "HOW 'BOUT A LITTLE RESPECT!"

This is only proof to me, for what I've often thought was the case; and that is, often we don’t offer the same common courtesies to one another, that we often offer to those whom we are not even that close with.  Why is that? Is it because we take each other for granted? What Paul is saying almost doesn't make sense, “if the masters are believers that is no excuse for being disrespectful….they should would “all the harder” because their masters are believers” I definitely would agree with that. How about you? Why is it that sometimes are poorest performance is what we do for one another or what we do for the church. Often someone has to come in behind the previous person and re-do what that person did because it was done with such a poor effort. We are short with each other, rude and inconsiderate. Paul notices this, he realizes that sometimes the fact that we are dealing with another Christian will not bring the best out of us, but the worse. If we were dealing with a sinner or somebody “outside the church” we would do our best to make sure we behaved, kept a smile on our face and made sure we behaved the way we know we should be, as a Christian, lest that person call us out. However when we are simply around family, when we are just around the same people we see every Sunday, we tend to just be lax and unrestrained in our behavior. This catches Paul’s eyes and he says it should be the opposite. If anything, when we are dealing with each other, as fellow believers we should be even more respectful towards one another, we should try even harder to please one another, not less! Basically what Paul is saying, “is things are totally backwards here!”  We treat people of the world better than we treat those in our own house; both our house at home and the house of God. One son told his father, “dad I wish I was a sinner”.  His father answered, “son, why in the world would you say something like that!”  His son replied, “because you’ll do anything for a sinner, but not for me!”  And how true that is! The bible clearly states that we, “of the House of God” ought to give each other preferential treatment. Yes we need to be there for the world, but even before that, we need to be there for each other, above all else. People miss the days when they first came in to the church because that’s when they felt loved. People say the only time anyone ever calls is when they stop coming to church and then it’s too late. The truth is, we do take each other for granted and we do often treat the ones closest to us, the worse. Paul warns us, God is warning us, “don’t’ think you can just “be you”, let you guard down and disrespect someone, just because they are a Christian. Paul says, if anything, you should be even more respectful and make that much more of an effort, because they are a fellow believer.

Monday, October 20, 2014

OCTOBER 20 "JEREMIAH THE TRICKSTER!!"

We know Jeremiah as The Prophet, but we don’t know Jeremiah, as The Trickster! Jeremiah is entering into some under cover work here, for God. Jeremiah is being used by God to try to trick this good folks into drinking some wine. These believers really have something solid working in their lives that we would be wise to envy and want for ourselves and our families. This is my personnel opinion, but who cares about my personnel opinion. What’s even more note worthy, is that this is God’s opinion too! Can you imagine yourself sitting in the presence of the great prophet Jeremiah and he says, “come now, sit and have a cup of wine”.  Unless Jeremiah is acting very odd or suspicious, I would think, “this must be okay” after all, Jeremiah is a man of God if there ever was. If Jeremiah says, it’s okay, let’s drink up!! These people, the Recabites have an amazing ability to not allow themselves to be influenced by others, no matter how much clout or status, those people have or in this case, this individual. A wife or husband falls because their spouse falls, congregation members fall because their pastor falls, children stray when their parents become lukewarm or turn against their faith. In each of these situations, someone fell; someone stumbled because of the influence of another. It is tragic when someone falls because someone they looked up to fell or influenced them to  stumble. Even Jesus brings this up in the Gospels, “woe unto those that cause one of these little ones to stumble, for it would be better for them if they hung a millstone around their necks….” We should not take lightly being a stumbling block to anybody. And while we must be cautious not to be a stumbling block we must also make sure that we don’t allow anybody, no matter who they are, what reputation they have, to be a stumbling block for us. This is what God praises and commends about the Recabites. God understands the influence and name that Jeremiah has, but yet, even under Jeremiah, these people, respectfully decline. And how does God respond to that? “This is what the lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me.The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me. Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, “Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you would not listen to me or obey me. God is contrasting how one group is not only not being told by God what to do, obeys, even with the influence of Jeremiah, they don’t compromise; and yet the other group who is constantly being told by God, what to do,  still won’t obey? This contrast of Christians still exists today. There are those that will receive endless counsel, direction and words spoken to them over and over again, yet still do not obey and then you have other Christians, that don’t constantly receive words, have had numerous Godly examples in their life fall and disappoint them, yet they go on to obey God, nonetheless. I believe God sees this and applauds them, praises them as much as He did the family of the Recabites. Every one of us has the opportunity to be the Recabites. If you are a parent, you have the opportunity to set this kind of example for your children. A Christian family that is not swayed by public opinion, is not swayed by who’s falling, who’s compromising and who’s not, but that you as a parent would display to your children an obedience and faithfulness to God that is unwavering.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

OCTOBER 18 "DOES GOD HAVE A SICK SENSE OF HUMOR?"

OCTOBER 18 "DOES GOD HAVE A SICK SENSE OF HUMOR?":      WE read in the Book of Psalms quite a depressing passage, written by a man who really seems to be struggling in his Faith, depressed an...

Friday, October 17, 2014

OCTOBER 17 "DON'T THROW IN THE TOWEL YET"

"Don't throw in the towel yet" ....This idiom comes from the world of boxing, when a boxer's manager or coach throws the white towel into the ring, signaling that his boxer is done, he can fight no more. We should have this idiom up on our fridges, up on the mirror in our bathroom or we could simply read the Word of God and get it there. "It will be a time of trouble for my people, yet in the end they will be saved." How important it is to know that.  If we can see the goal in sight, it re-invigorates us to keep pushing forward. We've all heard the story of the world distance swimmer that stopped short of the beach because it was hidden by the clouds and fog. Had she seen the shore was so close in sight, she would have pressed on, but exhausted and discouraged, not be able to see the shore, she gave up. Praise be to you, who does not need the shore in sight to keep pressing on, but for the rest of us, we do. Hold on there are better days ahead. As I mentioned a few days ago, this is not something we can just speak to anyone in any situation. However, concerning God's people, who are repentant, who are genuinely serving and seeking God, yet going through rough times or reaping from some bad decisions, God will say, "though sorrow may last through the night, joy comes in the morning".  The idea of only one night of sorrow, of course is not to be taken literally, but simply to imply that with God, there's always hope, that He will turn things around for us, in our favor, if we don't let go of Him or "Throw in the Towel". No Christian in their right mind will ever look back and say, "I'm glad I threw in the towel" back then......it will always be regret, more than anything. Every Christian who did not throw in the towel, but held on to God's Word for better days to come, will always confirm that they are so glad they did so. Whether that was throw in the towel for a marriage, a church, a convert, a job, a healing, or even your own salvation, those who heard God's Word's, "It will be a time of trouble for my people, yet in the end they will be saved" are those who found themselves back in the City of God (God's will and blessing).  And we know, through history, that the captivity did end and the people who held, who did not throw in the towel, did, as God said,  find themselves back in Jerusalem! We would be naive to think that everyone who heard Jeremiah's words of hope from God held on to them. I'm sure there were those who still gave up, I"m sure there are those who turned bitter and angry against God, but there are also those who held on to every word. Which will you be, which are you?  No matter where you are at today, the Hope, with God is that if you hold on,  He will bring you back to Jerusalem!
 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

OCTOBER 16 "ARE YOU A FALSE PROPHET?"

Who would know, that one of the most famous passages of the bible "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." was spoken to a people that were exiled, captives in Babylon. There were probably two groups of responses the day this word went out from Jeremiah. One group would have greatly resented these words, almost as if Jeremiah was patronizing them. Here they are, at rock bottom, have just been taken from Jerusalem to Babylon, their city has fallen and they are now captives in a foreign land, "and you Jeremiah are going to tell me about the goods things God has for us, is this captivity part of that great plan...get out of here Jeremiah, before we stone you!".  The other group of people would have believed Jeremiah; and taken those words as words of hope for a better future.  I wonder which group I would have been in? The classic mantra of Christians and Non-Christians, to people that are down on their luck is always, "hold on, the future is bright" This saying has pretty much become cliché to say, in hard times. However, just because someone says it, just because it has become cliché, doesn't mean it's true!! There are times when we are being false prophets, just like Ahab, wanting to prophesy good news  and we become false prophets for God because events get worse for that person, not better and then they remember what we had spoken to them about things getting better and they either resent us or God for it. Yet God is in the back round saying, "I never told them to say that!" There is not a rainbow at the end of every storm. There is not always light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes people die in the storm, sometimes people never come out of the tunnel to see the light. As Christians we have to be careful of what we say and what we speak, less we too become false messengers of hope. Many times events are actually going to get worse for people, because though we may love them, and wish the best for them, they are still unrepentant in their ways and it doesn't matter what you prophesy to them, it's not going to get better for them until they learn the lesson God is trying to teach them. Jeremiah is the true prophet in our story and Ahab is the false prophet.  Ahab, is more like us. He does not hear from God and just wants to say nice and comforting things to people in distress. Jeremiah, unlike us, is not so concerned about speaking comforting words as he is speaking what God wants him to speak. Jeremiah has a keen ability to hear from God and prophecy's what is true, not what is comforting.  Jeremiah does not prophecy out of the inclinations of his own heart, as many wannabe prophets do. Jeremiah tells them you might as well establish yourselves here, because you are gong to be here for quite a while. There is a hope, there is a future, but for now, this is where you are at and you might as well make the most of it because you are leaving in no time soon.  Most of us don't have the ability to hear from God the way Jeremiah did and often find ourselves being the false prophet Ahab, instead of the true prophet Jeremiah; and we don't do this on purpose, it is simply because we are trying to be what we are not and trying to predict a future that simply is not, for the ones we love and care for. But until they learn the lesson God is trying to teach them, they they'd better get used to where they are because they are going to be there for a while...., would you prophesy that to them? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SEPTEMBER 15 "SHOULD I SPEAK MY MIND?"

I'm feeling for Jeremiah, this morning! Are you? If you're not, than you're pretty cold.  The statements that God is having Jeremiah speak to these people is likely to leave him without any friends at best, and get him beat up or killed, at worse. If I spoke my mind, I would have a very hard life too. At work, at school functions, family get togethers, If we spoke our minds we would find ourselves the most hated in the neighborhood. People would talk about us. When they saw us coming they all would scatter or block us out of the conversation. We would be deemed as "haters", "insensitive", religious fanatics. My heart goes out to Jeremiah, it always has. If ever I feel sorry for myself or feel bad for any persecution I may face, I think of Jeremiah. Let me ask, does God still  ask us to speak our minds? Are we withholding more than we should? Should we be speaking out more? My guess is, the answer is yes to some of those questions. We should speak out more and we do withhold to often. However, should we speak out minds? I would say the answer to that is NO. Jeremiah did not speak his mind, he spoke God's mind. Listening to a conversation about a teenager that died in a car accident, partying one night, I might think, "and as tragic as that is, what's worse is he is probably in Hell".  Imagine voicing those thoughts, even if true, to a crowd of mourners and those mourners may even be saying, "at least his in peace right now".  Do I speak my mind? When do we speak our minds, when do we speak truth? Is there ever a right time or a right place? You will find that often the answer to that is also "no". There never seems to be a right time or a right place. I have in the past, tried waiting and waiting for the perfect time to speak and it never seems to come. Just when I think, "here is the right time" some kind of interruption comes. Some Christians are bold and insensitive and say whatever comes to their mind. Other Christians don't say anything they know is true, for fear of the people. Could there be some place in the middle we can meet? Those that are bold and speak out "the truth" no matter what the situation, will claim "Jeremiah" as their defense. And who can argue with that? Jeremiah did speak some crazy judgments and pronouncements in his day and was not one bit, politically correct. Jeremiah offended and spoke doom and gloom to the people. We cannot deny Jeremiah, a man of God did this and so did John the Baptist and many other Prophets. The question to ask ourselves is...."are we prophets?".  We know God will raise up Prophets in the end times and the book of Revelations makes mention of two prophets at the Wailing Wall. The Bible refers to us as Priests, not necessarily prophets. Priests intercede for others, help others, encourage and yes, speak God's Word too. The Priest incorporates all methods, he exhorts and he corrects. The Priest is neither silent, nor is he a constant voice of Judgment. The Prophet Jeremiah, had a clear calling which he was told from very early on in his life, that he would boldly speak the truth and the judgment to come upon Israel. The 21st Century Christian, you can say, is all, he/she is the Prophet, Priest, Shepherd and Evangelist. Some how, with the help of the Holy Spirit and a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit we have to discern what role we are to play on any given day or time. I can deem myself to be the Prophet one day and show up at a funeral of someone who everybody knew was a hard core sinner and begin preaching about the judgment of the wicked and see myself being bold for God as Jeremiah; and walk away feeling tremendously used by God, but was I? I think we can all agree that it is difficult to discern what to say and what not to say and at what time. As Christians we do have allot of knowledge, insight and revelation that many people in the world are completely ignorant to. The question is, "should I speak my mind, should I speak out, should I really say this?"  the answer to that question is what we are going to say, where we are going to say it and at what time never matters, what really matters would be, is God asking you to speak that at that time?" Not should I speak my mind right now, but should you speak God's mind at that moment. We will never go wrong speaking what God has asked us to speak, no matter what it is or no matter what time or place. However, the question now is, "is God asking me to speak this or is it me?"  And that, is where you have to learn to discern God's still small voice and it will only be learned, unfortunately, through trial and error.  Jeremiah was rough, Jeremiah spoke rough words, but it's important to remember, Jeremiah was always clear on who was asking him to say these things & why. Jeremiah always knew, he was not speaking his mind, but God's and that is the same place we need to be as Christians, Prophets, Priests & Evangelists, in the 21st Century.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

OCTOBER 14 "DREAMS...DREAMS.....DREAMS....???:"

OCTOBER 14 "DREAMS...DREAMS.....DREAMS....???:":       I ONCE had a woman cover over to my house, she wanted to "talk with me", that's always a little nerve wrecking. So I sai...

Monday, October 13, 2014

OCTOBER 13 "MAYBE IT'S TIME TO CHANGE"

OCTOBER 13 "MAYBE IT'S TIME TO CHANGE":      DON'T remind me of who I am or don't try to label me!!! We hate that, when people say, "you've always had a temper&quo...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

OCTOBER 9 "MAYBE BACKSLIDING IS NOT SUCH A GOOD I...

OCTOBER 9 "MAYBE BACKSLIDING IS NOT SUCH A GOOD I...:      IF you've been in the church for any number of years, you will know that "backsliding" is par for the course in the going...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

OCTOBER 7 "WILL A MIRACLE REALLY WORK?"

OCTOBER 7  "WILL A MIRACLE REALLY WORK?":       "IN spite of all this they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe ."   As we have learned (I hope) w...

Monday, October 6, 2014

OCTOBER 6 "Everyone is NOT welcome, that's right!"

The Church's mantra is always, "Everyone Welcome!", but do we really mean that? Is everyone really welcome? One preacher coined the term "religious devils", are religious devils really welcome into your church? Are people who sow and spread false teachings and doctrines in your church, really welcome? Are those that cause divisions and strife really welcome in your church? Is the couple that caused a rebellion and church split, in their last church, really welcome? Is everyone really welcome? And I think, if we would be honest, the answer would be "no", not everyone is welcome, after all. Paul is writing the this letter to the house Church at Colosse. The house church that is meeting there of course has "everyone welcome" on their door and on their flyers. And guess what, everyone is walking in and causing major confusion and discord. People promoting the worship of Angels, pious self-denials (sounds like Lent for the Catholics). Trying to convince these converts that Grace isn't good enough, there's rules, "don't touch, don't handle, don't taste".  Paul goes on to write, "these rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person's evil desires."
If only we had an usher at the front door, that he could waive over those coming in on Sunday Mornings, and just like at the airport, the wand would beep if those people were trying to carry in any false doctrines, malicious intents or were simply carrying a spirit of rebellion, strife & divisions. The wand would beep and the usher would have the pleasant duty of saying, "sorry, you can't come in with that!".  "But I thought everyone was welcome?".  "No, we took down that sign last month, we don't have an everyone welcome policy, here anymore!".  After all, if we are willing to take those measures to protect an aircraft, how much more so should we take those measures to protect God's Church? On an aircraft you have a bunch of disconnected strangers in a Church we have families, people that have served God for years together and then one religious devil comes in and begins to sow seeds of discord, mistrust and everything is turned upside down. I remember a situation where a church counsel actually did meet to discuss letting a particular individual in the church. He had been kicked out of his previous church for having sex with a minor in that congregation. This had been almost a year prior, he seemed repentant and so he was let in and ended up taking advantage of a girl in our congregation. Is the policy "everyone welcome" really Christian? Is that really love that we would let just anyone walk in and trample over the people we love? Would a loving father, let just let every bum that comes by take advantage of his daughter?  After all, we're good nice Christian people here! Unfortunately, and I do mean "unfortunately" we cannot stand at the door and interrogate people as they come in and unfortunately no wand has yet been invented that we can waive over people to detect impure motives and/or agendas. So in a sense, I guess everyone can come, but not everyone will stay! God does prune His Church, I do know that. There are some people that are no longer coming that need to be chased down and try to talk some sense into and there are others that have left, that we need to simply "let be".   Many times good Christians find themselves chasing after people, begging them to return, that God himself has purged from the Church. We may not have a wand to pass over people Sunday after Sunday, but we can contend for the Holy Spirits presence and we can contend for the Holy Spirit to have right away in the Church and to help us, with what we often are not discerning or seeing in the visible realm. Every Church has witnessed the phenomena of someone or a couple leaving, was disheartened by that, but then the church grew afterwards and everyone sits and scratches their head and wonders, "how odd is that?".  We know that God was very displeased with Miriam and Aaron speaking behind Moses' back. Moses had no knowledge, Moses had not wand to waive over them, but yet God was faithful to look after Moses and his congregation (so to speak). If we speak against our Church, against our Pastor and we do not eventually get our hearts right, God will eventually judge us and purge us. Everyone will wonder, "what happened to so and so" and often nobody knows, but God what really went down. Just remember this, not everyone one in your Church was sent there by God, as you would like to believe. There are people in every Church, in every city, across America, that God has not placed there.  They are there to sow discord, mistrust, create divisions and strife and once the damage is done, then they will leave, go on their merry way and bad mouth the Church afterwards, to add insult to injury and the quicker they leave, the better. And wise is the Church, the man or the women, who can discern who God has purged and whom the devil has purged. How do we know and can we make a great mistake in trying to discern which is which? Perhaps, but Jesus said, "by their fruits you will know them". Look at the fruit, what kind of fruit did their life produce while in the church and what was the result of the church once they were gone? I would say always error on the side of caution, by and large, if someone leaves, we go after them and it is in the going "after them" often that we begin to discern, "leave them alone, let them be". Love those that come, love those that leave, go after those that leave, but also be sensitive to God's still small voice when sometimes, to our confusion, we hear, "just let things be as they are, stop trying to force this" and then we must trust and let go, even though, we don't understand. God loves them more, than we will ever love or understand and we must simply trust that Jesus is still Head of his Church and He is still a God that prunes His church in ways we often will never understand, on this side of eternity.

Friday, October 3, 2014

OCTOBER "CONFLICT BETWEEN TWO SISTERS"

Many Christians are "fruitless or spiritually childless". They've never lead anyone to Christ, normally don't engage in that arena of evangelism, they just come to Church on Sundays and lead a decent, Christian, moral life. They have never really dealt with the heartache of investing in someone that turns on you or walks away, back into their life of sin and destruction, but neither do they know the "joy" of fruit, the joy of being used by God to see another life transformed, right before your eyes; and make Heaven their home. Paul writes, "friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work".  If you have ever labored in this area you will find how true this statement is. As much as I've been hurt, I must also say, that many, many good relationships, that became a great blessing to me, were from fruit that I labored for. My joy, when nothing else is going right, is in them and they are the crown for all my work too!  How about you? That being said, nothing hurts us more than watching 2 people we love, devour each other. The fact is two Christians, that each love God can still have severe disagreements and conflict.Paul knows both these sisters personally. Each of these women, Euodia and Syntyche, are Paul's fruit, have become his friends and have each been a blessing to him and a help in his ministry. Paul sees the good in Eudia and he sees the good in Syntyche. Paul does not take sides, he doesn't try to point out who's wrong and who's right, because chances are, neither is right or wrong, it's just a conflict of opinion, misunderstanding or gossip. Paul's desire is that they would just resolve their conflict and that those in the church would somehow help. It grieves us to see the people we love fight with each other especially when we can see the good in each of them, if only they would see what we see. Church members are constantly getting in petty fights and arguments, trying to turn the Pastor or other Church members against the one they are in conflict with. The problem is, we, like Paul, looking from the outside in, see both, as good Christians and we wonder why they so dislike each other.  Paul writes, these are both good sisters who have labored with me and whose names are written in The Book of Life, if only they would see that....Who are you fighting with, who are you in conflict with? Do you see that sister, that individual with horns on her head, do you see her as an enemy, arch-rival, is she a "she-devil?" The problem is we don't see her like that and we don't see you like that. And even more important, neither does Jesus. It grieves us when our children fight; as we love them both and see the qualities in each of them and we wish they would only see that themselves and stop fighting. We grieve God when we fight, we grieve God when we slander one of his daughters that He loves so much. We make our conflicts personnel and begin to slander and question other people's salvation, their motives and their heart and we cross the line. We grieve God and we grieve the Church that watches, discouragingly at two sisters who simply cannot get along, and love each other, when we see the good in both of them.  We never find out if these two sisters, in our text, reconcile or if they just continue to fight and grieve God and grieve their Church or if one of them ends up leaving the Church to go to another, as tragic as that would be. I can get up Sunday mornings and leave for Church with so much excitement and enthusiasm for the day and leave Church on Sundays depressed and discouraged because there was fighting amongst two sisters, two brothers or a brother and sister. This is not what I went to Church for, do they not realize that, do they not care that their fighting brings everyone down with them? They are so consumed by their hatred or animosity that it just rides right over and crushes the Holy Spirit who is standing in their way, saying "stop, stop, you're destroying everything I'm trying to do". I hope these two sisters reconciled and I hope so do you because it really does grieve God and your Church, that you say you love so much, be reconciled with each other, stop fighting, settle your disagreements! "Don't tell me what to do!", you say.  Well I'm not, read God's word, He's telling you, not me, will you listen to Him?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

OCTOBER 2 "WHAT DO YOU BASE YOUR SUCCESS ON?"

What do you base your success on? We all, secretly in our minds, base our success on something, whether we will admit it, to anybody, or jut keep it to ourselves. "I know, the secret of my success".  Others are not so closed about "the secret of their success" because they don't think "their secret" is conceited. One Pastor accredits the secret of his success to his Tuesday Night prayer meetings. "That's the key, right there!". We listen and we think, "makes sense, prayer, of course prayer is the key, let's implement Tuesday night prayer meetings in our Church". However, this Church finds no success in these prayer meetings, they can't pay or offer enough food, to gather any kind of substantial crowd to participate in these Tuesday night prayer meetings, another Church is able to rally good support for the meetings, but a year or two down the road, they cannot say that they have seen any difference. The church who bases the secret of their success on Tuesday night prayer meetings went from 30 people to 3000 people, other churches that have tried the "secret recipe" for success have gone from 30, to .....31, back down to 20, back up to 25, etc...etc....
No that's not the secret, then we hear of how one Church began to do street meetings every Friday night and saw their Church go from 35 to 200 people. " I'll tell you what the secret was brother, we started doing these street meetings....".  And so what do we do, we start Friday night street meetings. The results....a church member gets in a fight with a heckler and five people leave the Church.  Net gain, - 5 from Street Meetings. Paul lists all his credentials and boy does he have some credentials but yet attributes none of these to his success. "I count them all as dung...".  It would have been so easy for Paul to think, all that knowledge I have, all that training, surely that's why I have the success I have, I know that none of those fishermen disciples had much of a formal education. That's why God is using me more, but how could I ever express that? I will keep it to myself, but I know...."  Or Paul could have thought it was because he was "a Hebrew of Hebrews, of the best stock, of the tribes of Israel, it must be, that somehow that is linked to my success, wow, it's a good thing I came from good stock".  We all do this, we all want to figure out "the reason for success" we all want to be able to "figure out the why".  However Paul does not allow himself to be lured into this thought of mind that can only lead to false conclusions and assessments. Paul never gave in to the temptation to write a book on "the five keys to successful missions work".  What do you attribute your success to? Is it because you have such a great heart for God and He sees that, is it because you pray so much and He hears that, is it because you labor so hard and He sees that? Are you tempted to write a book on the "secrets of your success?". The moment you think you have found the key, the moment you voice to others "what the key is" to your success, don't be surprised if the success begins to diminish from that point on. Can it be "that there is no key", can it be that your success, Paul's success, any Church's or Christians's success has nothing to do, particularly, with any "specifics" but rather it is simply God's Grace upon that Church, God's Grace upon that Christian, God's Grace upon that ministry and of course the temptation then is to ask, "but why is God's Grace upon that Christian, why is God's Grace upon..." And I recommend YOU DON'T. We human beings, are hopelessly pre-occupied with wanting to figure everything out, figure out every why, make a formula, package it and sell it.And perhaps in some ways, God has put that in us and in the physical realm, it may work well, but in the spiritual realm, we are out of our league and when we try to apply some kind of theorem to the things of God; we insult God, grieve the Holy Spirit and often put a wet blanket upon the fire that God was breathing. Next time you are tempted to figure out the why and how, suffice it to say, it is simply God's Grace and more of it I need, that's all I need to know, the rest I leave up to God.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

OCTOBER 1 "CHURCH & CHRISTIAN BASHING"

 OCTOBER 1 "CHURCH & CHRISTIAN BASHING":      I AM appalled too at the lack of support within the church.  Verse 5, "I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that...