Thursday, June 22, 2017

JUNE 22 "A GOOD RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT"

     I can't tell you how many times this principle has been applied in my life & circumstances. The good that I did for others, as God moved upon my heart, has ALWAYS come back to do me better good than I did in helping others.  All this woman has done is use the wealth God has given her to build a room for Elisha to stay in and has taken the time to feed him when passing through town. And we do give credit where credit is do, she could have easily made excuses for not doing so, but she didn't. However, look what she gets in return! Never in her wildest dreams did she ever imagine, that by simply doing good to this obvious servant and man of God, that she would reap a son in return.  And not only does she reap a son, but when her son dies years later, that same man, Elisha, restores her son to life. That same man, Elisha, years later, is the cause of this woman having her property restored to her. The dividends, the retribution that is recompensed this woman far exceeds what she did for Elisha. And how often in life, do we find that by our simple obedience to respond to God in helping others does the retribution come back 10 fold what we put out.  We often say that doing good doesn't pay, and that's A LIE.  Perhaps it is the good that you are doing that is the problem. The Pharisees did plenty "of good" but I guarantee there was never any retribution paid by to them for their good. There are two kinds of good. A good that we do for ourselves (those reasons my vary and for sake of time we won't get into that) and a good we do as God prompts us...and that good, the latter good, will always pay back dividends, you can be sure. If you are lacking this experience in your walk with God than you should ask yourself, "am I doing any good; and if so...who and by what pretense am I doing good, for myself or for God".  Is the good I do "what I think is good and beneficial" or is the good I'm doing what God wants?" You may ask, "how do I know what God wants, how do I know the good that God wants me to do?"  And that only comes as naturally as breathing comes to you. As you abide in Christ and He abides in you, the natural outcome is Godly instinct and promptings and then it is up to you not to excuse them away. Do not grieve the work of the Holy Spirit in you. If God puts someone upon your heart, if God puts a certain persons needs upon your heart, than at once, put aside your feeble ideas and attempts of goodness and respond to God's and you will see the dividends of obedience. However, if you only respond to reap the dividends than you have ruined any reward you may have received. Simply respond because God asks of you, and let the rest be..., whether you reap or not should be inconsequential in your decision. The right response is..."Lord you need, and I have, therefore I give". That is the right heart and that is what Jesus meant when he said, "unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you shall not see the Kingdom of God".  Not only doing good for good or for "goodness sake" (as some might say) but doing good for the right reasons and those reasons should always end and begin, with God's promptings, not ours.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

JUNE 21 "UNASHAMEDLY UNAPOLOGETIC"

     You probably would never quote a New Testament Christian saying, "22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies." and then shortly thereafter also asking God to....23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me..,"  This is almost comical to a new testament Christian, that somewhat would come out and speak about his hatred for another and then in the following sentence ask God, "to search him to see if there is any offensive way in him....HELLO! We would say..."are you stupid?"  Hatred....this is what we try to conceal from God, is our hatred for others. Why would we openly admit it to God and then ask God to search us, as if we were as pure as the driven snow. Are Christians today confused about who they are and what they should feel? Are we trying "to be Christian" or is it more that we "simply are"....Christian.  David never tried to be Godly. David never forced religious thoughts and piety, he simply was David, a man after God's own heart and he did not try to be religious. Let's not try to be more "Godly" than God.  Let's not try to be more spiritual than Jesus. We are trying so hard to "be Christian" that we are running right over the Holy Spirit. I "hate" to speak for God, but perhaps God's response to David's reply in this psalm is...."yeah, I hate them too David and I will destroy them".  To many, this would be blasphemous to even speak this about God. In our flaky Christian world God just loves everybody.  "Didn't God say, "love your enemies"??? Well yes he did, and we cannot pretend like He (Jesus) didn't say that, but it is also the same God who says in Malachi,  “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob, 3 but Esau I have hated"  David is not trying to justify his own prejudices and hatred, he is simply confident that he hates what God hates. David hates the wicked, the unjust and the ungodly, he says himself, "1 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?"  We have gone gushy over love, and quite frankly we love those God would have us to hate; and we hate those that God would have us to love. We are trying to hard to force our Christianity, trying to force our piety, trying to force ourselves to be "who we think" or "what we think" a Christian should be, we actually hinder the Holy Spirit from moulding and shaping us into the man and woman of God He would have us to be.  Jesus didn't feel like He had to hide his anger and disdain for what was happening in the temple that day.  Jesus didn't feel like He had to hide his hatred, oops, I mean dislike for the Pharisees.  Jesus told them, "your father is the devil", but yet Jesus also showed compassion to Nicodemus who came in secret by night.  Do you know who you are in Christ? What happens is when we get disconnected from God we being to try to act Christian instead of simply "being" Christian, allowing and trusting that it is God who works through you and you don't have to fake or be pretentious, you can be you and still at the end of the day, have the nerve to say, as David did, "search me and see if there is any offensive way in me".  Let God's spirit move upon you, to love what He loves and unashamedly, hate what He hates.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

JUNE 20 "THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY SIDE OF EVANGELISM"

One thing you'll notice about the stories in The Bible, is the negative is often mixed in with the good. This is the reality of The Church and the Christian Faith.  It's not 100% victories. Some areas we lose in and other areas we win in. Some places we take a loss, other places we gain. Some are great victories to go home and rejoice over, some are serious defeats and we go home and lick our wounds. If you are going to be involved in evangelism, this will be par for the course, if you do not engage in evangelism, you don't have a clue of what I'm talking about. In Antioch they are evangelizing and many believe and convert, I can imagine they are rejoicing, until another group comes along, rejects their message AND stirs up a mob against them, this is not so pleasant. And so they leave. Then we read at the beginning of the next chapter, "The same thing happened at Iconium. "A great number believed....but another group rebelled and poisoned the minds of those listening.
I have had the minds of people I worked hard with, poisoned by some opposing friend, family member or co-worker. Everything was going fine, I was rejoicing, until such and such person got a hold of them and poisoned their mind, then everything fell apart. Then opposition came, attacks, and pulling more people away. I went from rejoicing, couldn't sleep with so much adrenaline to depression, not wanting to do nothing but sleep. How quickly the tables can turn, either way. What's interesting about the book of Acts, the Pioneering of the early 1st century church is how real it is. It is not candy coated to give us encouragement and warm fuzzies, it is written as it really happened, with all the ups and downs, thrills and disappointments. If all you've ever done is attach yourself to some mega church and join the circus, then you know nothing of this. But if you've ever attached yourself to a grass roots work, fighting and clawing for every soul, trying to get break through and dominion in your city, evangelizing and trying to win souls (He that wins souls is wise) then you pick up the book of Acts and feel yourself immersed in it and it does become a comfort, not because it's filled with false hopes, but because it's real. Jesus said himself, "The Kingdom of God suffers violence, but the violent take it by force". The reality is, the spiritual realm, hits back! For every punch we throw, you often get one thrown back at you. It's a fight, it's spiritual warfare. We have to be careful as evangelists and pioneers of basing our success by the numbers. The is what corporations do, they crunch numbers to measure whether or not, what they are doing is a success. In the Kingdom of God we don't measure quantitatively, we measure by obedience, if not then Jeremiah's ministry and Jesus' ministry Himself, was a failure. The reality of evangelism and pioneering is that it involves the good, the bad and the ugly side of evangelism. Some will convert, love us and make Heaven their home, other's will be poisoned, turn against us and slander. If we measure our success by numbers, then we may quit, if we measure our success by obedience, then we continue and find comfort and solace from the book of Acts.

Monday, June 19, 2017

JUNE 19 "THEY FULFILLED THEIR MINISTRY"

"And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark."  We talk and write a lot of about the genuine vs. the disingenuous Christian.  But where are metal is really tested is in "Ministry". So many Christians avoid ministry and I have heard every excuse their is why "I'm not going to get involved in ministry". And there's always a grain of truth in some of the reasons I hear, but at the heart of it, is a reluctance to be put through the refiners fire. Nothing refines a Christian like ministry. You want to see what a man or woman of God is really made up of, put them in ministry with other people. That will test any man, any woman's worth. How do we know Barnabas and Saul (Paul) are spiritual? Ans: They fulfilled their ministry!!! Not enough can be said for that. It was hard, it was more work than they thought, it was people problems, demonically resisted and much more, yet they fulfilled their ministry. It's amazing how many people get in ministry and quit. Always with a good excuse "why they had to get out".  Are you fulfilling your ministry are you in any ministry? Have you stepped into ministry and just as quickly stepped out?  Have a bunch of reasons why you got out? Jesus said right before he died, " I have finished the work you sent me to do".  There is a "work aspect" to serving God that many Christians don't want to fess up to. "Labor while it is day, for the night cometh when no man can labor".  "It's all about loving Jesus"  No, it's all about loving Jesus and working for him. Ministry is the crucible of fire for the Christian, are you willing to step into it?!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

JUNE 18 "I've had enough"

     Elijah finally lets it slip that he is human after all. He has been on quite an impressive run of Faith. He closes the heavens from rain for 3 years, he is fed by the ravens, the goes to Zarephath and challenges the widow to feed him with her last morsel of food and proclaims to her that she will not run, then he, by himself, stands on Mt. Carmel and boldly challenges the prophets of Baal to a dual, soaks the altar with water and believes God to consume it with Fire and consume his sacrifice, which God does. My faith probably would have failed when I arrived in Zarephath, only to find that the person God told me would provide for me is worse off than I. However, Elijah is not me.  Elijah is a serious man of faith, seems almost super human, but finally we see that his spiritual armor, like yours and mine, is penetrable after all.  When Elijah hears that Jezebel has put a hit on his life, this sends him in to a downward spiritual roll. Whether it is his one fear, that is attacked, or it is just a culmination of one attack after another, we are not sure why this so affects Elijah, but it does. Elijah does give us a hint though, in verse 4 we read, "I have had enough Lord". I have been here and so have you. This story shows us that we all have our limitations and often God allows us to be pushed to our limits. Elijah says, "Take my life".  In other words, I just want to die, I'm tired, so tired. I could handle the first trial, the second trial, the third, but Lord, they just keep coming......and I'm done! You ever push your kids to their limits and sometimes they respond in a like manner and what do we do? We often turn in our approach, pamper them, because we know that they are at the end of their ability to cope. God has sent Elijah all over for a single meal, but know God changes his approach, God knows he has pushed Elijah to his limits, God knows Elijah is serious about quitting and what does God do? Verse 6 "Get up and eat, he looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water".  This is amazing.  No longer is God pulling the ..."go all the way to Zarephath and there a widow (who is about to die) will feed you.  Now it's, wake up, I've cooked for you and you don't have to move an inch to eat or drink. This is the mom knowing she has pushed her child to far and is now baking cookies and putting a glass of milk her son. Verse 7, Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you".  This is God making a complete turn around, showing compassion and empathy for this man. "The journey is to much for you"....never are these words spoken before as he's running all over the place. Now the conversation starts...first the cookies and milk, put some food in the man's belly, calm him down a little, after all he is asking to die, not a good state of mind, and now God moves on with some conversation..."what are you doing here, Elijah?"  Elijah, is not going to hold back, which he shouldn't, earlier he said "I've had enough Lord" and now he's going to vent....."I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too".  Look at the patience of God here, as a parent dealing with an upset child, God is exercising the same kind of care and compassion. He does not rebuke Elijah here for self pity, but works with him and he is very understanding of how Elijah feels. Elijah has no other reason to believe that he has been left alone, he has not seen anybody else standing up for The Lord, so what does God do..."The Lord said, go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by".  God begins to work with Elijah in his broken down state..then in verse 17-18 he gives explicit direction to Elijah concerning help that is on the way and confirms to him that He has reserved seven thousand who have not bowed down to Baal.  We have to know/discern when people have been pushed to their limits, when they say "I've had enough" we need to listen and be sensitive to that and many times we are not. We quote a simple scripture to them, tell them to handle it and move on. And often they jump off a spiritual cliff and we say "oh well, they were weak". Elijah was anything but weak, but yet even he reaches his limit and God handles this situation with care, consideration, compassion and empathy and because of that, Elijah goes from "I just want to die" to moving on for God, doing more great exploits for God and anointing a great successor, Elisha. We could learn much from today's reading on how to deal with people that have been pushed to their limits. How many could we have saved if we had exercised the same compassion God does towards Elijah? How many would still be serving God today, how many people would still be in church today.  We don't cater to self pity, but we ought not to be cold and calloused either, read over today's reading and get some forethought on how to deal with your brother or sister next time they cry out, "I've had enough".

Saturday, June 17, 2017

JUNE 17 "HARD TO LISTEN TO LEADERS"

I have been in this situation more than once! I have learned over the years be careful about coming all humble to your leader, asking them what you should do and then walk away and don't listen because you think the advice they gave you is crazy.  You walk away wondering, "why did I even ask, that's the last time....he's crazy if he thinks I'm going to do that". Obadiah runs into somewhere he really admires, Elijah! However, once his excitement wears off, Obadiah is wishing he had not run into Elijah! What can I do for you, anything my leader.  Elijah asks him to go get Ahab and tell Ahab he wants to meet with him.  Obadiah is outraged at the position Elijah is putting him in. "Why are you asking me to do this, you want me killed?".  And of course we know that Elijah wants Obadiah killed, right?  Well obviously "no", Obadiah is a good man and Elijah knows that, but sometimes it does seem like our leaders don't care about us, they only care about what they want. "You just want to meet Ahab, well how about if it costs me my life?" and Obadiah begins to tell Elijah how he has served God from his youth and the good he has done for God and Israel. Elijah does not change his request, "go get Ahab for me". The relationship between disciple and Pastor is a difficult one. In the world if you don't agree with your leader you tell him where to go or just ignore him.  Not to say people don't do this in the Church with their leaders, but in the Church, it can hinder your growth as a Christian and hinder what God wants to do, in and through your life.  The events that transpire because Obadiah did listen, are pretty amazing. It's one of the classic victory stories of the Bible. Obeying someone who doesn't think like you is very hard!!! However, it's not just our leaders that don't think like us, God doesn't think like us. "My ways are not your ways, neither are my thoughts your thoughts" says the Lord.  As a Christian, certainly as a disciple, you will never get anywhere, until you learn to obey and do the things that don't make sense to you. Obadiah proves his true faith, his true allegiance to God, by risking his life, to obey this man. Esther did the same, Moses did the same and many others through out history. Ever gone to a spiritual leader and/or Pastor, asked, "what can I do or what should I do?" and walked away disillusioned by the whole experience and did nothing? If you're looking for a reference point as to where your growth stopped or where you began to regress as a Christian, you may find that it traces all the way back, to your Obadiah/Elijah encounter with your leader, the difference is, Obadiah obeyed and you did not.

JUNE 16 "TWO DESPERATE PEOPLE"

  There's a number of interesting thoughts on this passage.  # 1, Elijah is suffering at his own hand, what I mean by that, is he is the one that pronounced there would be no rain, this has caused a drought, which has caused a famine which has not only left the people without food or drink, but ALSO HIM.  However, we see that God is supernaturally providing for him. God tells Elijah to go to Zarephath and there I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.  But if God has directed her then why does she seem somewhat unwilling? If God had told us this, we would have asked and then when we had received the response that Elijah received, [ 12 “As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” ] This is not the response we are expecting from someone The Lord has said, "I have directed them to...".  Can we learn from this that there is people The Lord has prepared, directed and set up, that are still going to need prodding from us? The answer of course is "yes". This widow's first response to Elijah asking her to feed him is.."you're crazy, get lost, impossible...." Elijah's response is, "just do it, God will bless you if you do". How many blessings & miracles have we walked away from and left empty handed and then blamed it on God. If it is God's will, then it should ALWAYS BE like when the disciples walked up to the man and asked for his donkey, simply said, "the Lord needs it" and the man said, "go ahead and take it". That's the way every story should start and end. If it is something God has purposed, than it should always work like the story of the Colt.  I can only imagine Elijah's mindset when he arrives in Zarephath to meet the woman that is supposed to help him, only to find out that she herself is just as needy and is getting ready to die herself, how peculiar Elijah must have thought this situation was. Elijah has something to offer her that is going to save her life and she has something to offer Elijah that is going to save him. God uses these two to save each other. It's not just one saving another, but God using two desperate people to save each other. By Elijah challenging this woman to faith (which Elijah has) he saves her from dying and by her sharing her food (which she has) she saves Elijah from dieing. It seems odd challenging someone to step out in faith when you yourself have nothing and it seems odd to share and think of another when you barely have enough for yourself. It's hard to talk spiritual and speak faith when you have nothing, but yet you must.  It's hard to think of others and give, when you have nothing, but yet you must. There is an opportunity in this story for a great disaster or a great miracle. These two will either find themselves dead, one along side the other or they will find themselves both invigorated by a mighty miracle. Can you keep speaking faith and believing God and challenging others when you have nothing and can you give and think of others when you have nothing, if so than you have a great demonstration of God's provision that is on the way!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

JUNE 15 "OPPORTUNITY TO THOSE THAT DON'T DESERVE"

Sometimes the people that have been giving the most, been given the most gracious opportunity, fail the worse. Handing over to someone something they have not worked or fought for is normally a recipe for failure. This is the problem with "well to do, good deed programs" that build houses for the poor and hand the houses over to these people for free, no investment, no sacrifice, no cost to them and most will run those houses into the ground, just like Jeroboam runs his Kingdom into the ground. Jeroboam receives one of the sternest rebukes that any King ever receives from God. Jeroboam was given one of the greatest opportunities of any man in the Bible. He is in no way in the lineage of David's family, but yet God, for some reason, when He decides to rip the Kingdom away from the House of David, chooses this man to hand it over to him. You would think that Jeroboam would have taken this opportunity and turned it into a long lasting Dynasty for his family, but he does the opposite. God has always given opportunity to men and allowed them to fail, on their own, without pre-judging them. Many times we count people out without given them an opportunity because we don't want to have to deal with the mess. But God gives "every man" the opportunity to succeed, regardless of his tract record. Sometimes I give opportunity to people that others question, "why did you give him that opportunity, you know he's just going to....."  And most of the time they are right, they fail, they let everyone down, they pull out at the last minute and leave everyone hanging and everyone is quick to say, "I told you so!".  I'm sure there were people who thought, "why in the world is God giving this opportunity to Jeroboam?" And when Jeroboam failed they might have thought they were smarter than God at that point. Well, we know they are not smarter than God and will most certainly know they are not half as Gracious as God either. This is how different God is than us; God gives everyone an opportunity, regardless of their tract record and gives them an opportunity to "prove us wrong, to prove the world wrong" and while they are many that often don't prove us wrong, but only prove us right, there are also those that do rise up and prove us wrong and I'm sure, that those men and those women, are glad that they serve as Gracious a God as we have. If we are going to be Christ like, than we too must sometimes give opportunity to those that others would disagree with because of their tract record. What we don't realize is people know who they are, they know their tract record, they know they are not worthy of any opportunity and when someone with Christ like character reaches out to them and says, "here, here is opportunity, here is a chance..." sometimes, that can be a life changing moment for them!  This is the opportunity God gave Jeroboam, did He let God down? Yes.  Did he prove others right that said he would fail? Yes, but what about other men, that were nobodies that did succeed? For them, God says "it's worth it" and so should you!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

JUNE 14 "IF ONLY GOD DID MORE!"

"If only God did more", we may not speak those words, but we do think them.  Well, we can't accuse God of not doing enough in this story.  First He sends a prophet, a man of God, to speak. Result? His words are rejected. (Words aren't enough, how about a miracle, some demonstration of God's power, that's what people need to see).  Okay, so next we get our demonstration of God's power.  Jeroboam stretches his hand out to the guards to have the man of God seized and his hand shrivels up! (People need to see that God is merciful, that's what people need, people see God as mean). Okay, well next we have Jeroboam crying out to God, to the man of God, please have mercy, please heal me.  So, the man of God prays to God and God immediately heals Jeroboam's hand. God has done everything in this situation that we would desire Him to do. He gives a powerful word, 3 great miracles, the altar is split (wow!), hand shrivels up, then God's merciful, He heals, God has done plenty, He has done all we would want, the end result.....Jeroboam is not changed, does not repent, does not do right. We all have friends, family members and people we care for that we so wish they were saved, serving God. "If God would just reveal Himself, if God would just answer what they are praying for, if God would just heal them, if God would...if, if, if........if only God would just do more! That's quite an accusation, against God, when you think of it. It's a horrible accusation when you think of Jesus hanging on the cross. It's a horrible accusation, that people are perishing because God won't do more. It's so horrible an accusation, that if we were God, we would wipe out any human that would speak or even think, such a horrible thought against us. "Well, I know what they need to happen in their lives for them to get saved, and if God would just listen to my prayers and do what I say, I know, they would get saved."  Of course you do! You are omniscient and God is not. You are more compassionate than God. You can more about your loved ones going to hell, than God, of course! Can we trust that God will do all He has to in the future and has done all He could in the past, to save our loved ones and that the reason they are not saved, not serving God is not because of Him, but because of the stubbornness of their own hearts? Can we trust that if God knew this miracle, this healing, this answer to prayer would be the turning point for them, that He would do it? I am disheartened too, but people I care for, that simply just don't get it. They've been to church, they've seen the hand of God at work, they know He's real, but they simply won't repent. It's disheartening, but we must never turn our disappointment, anger and frustration towards God. We must always trust that God is doing all He can do and if there's anything more He could do, He would, He is good!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

JUNE 13 "I JUST LOVE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN!

I believe Tom Cruise, the actor, on his 3rd marriage (and many women in-between) has uttered those words on Oprah. Celebrity status, wealth & good looks are a recipe for disaster. One survey & research suggested that most men "don't cheat" simply because they don't have the opportunity. They don't have striking good looks, don't have money & power, don't have much that is going to have women drawn to them, soliciting them or making sexual advances. So these men don't cheat, at least not physically, but they probably still often cheat, in their minds. Find me a man with good looks, power and wealth and I'll find you a man with some infidelity in his background. "Solomon loved many foreign women", are text tells us. I'm sure he did. Solomon had a Harem full of super models, it was unrestrained lust and sexual indulgence. He was a man who had no governor on his heart. He was able to get the most beautiful women and he did, as Tiger Woods (golf professional) did a few years ago.  Solomon's father too, had some issues with beautiful women. In the New Testament they early disciples must deal with this issue, it was revolutionary at the time to tell a man, "one wife". This becomes the standard for Christian men in the New Testament. This sets them apart from all other religions at the time. Christianity now becomes the religion of "morality". Christianity brought morality to a pagan culture. It wasn't easy, Paul writes letters, reemphasizing to the churches, "we're Christians, we live pure and moral lives!" The idea of having many wives back then was not about Christian benevolence, it was about the opportunity for man to be able to have sex with more than just one women. Give me three, at least that I'm legally married too and then maybe, I can be kept from committing adultery, surely i can be satisfied with 3-4 women. Of course they would read back to David and Solomon and still feel they were being ripped off with only 3 women to sleep with. Joseph is the classic man of God who shows us what true purity really is, even before the Holy Spirit is offered. Joseph is quoting as saying, "how can I commit this deed and sin against both God and man". Joseph denies himself, sinful, sexual pleasure with I'm sure a very beautiful women, in order that he may be "right with God" and honor God. What really will separate "truly" Christian men from sinners in the last days will be moral purity. Adultery is on the rise and the numbers would be even more astounding if most men were actually being hit on. Most would fall. Most would not resist the advances of some hottie tottie girl from Moab, Ammn, Edom or Sidon or Egypt. We as New Testament Christian men have been called to restrain ourselves. Jesus taught men not just to restrain themselves physically, but to also be faithful to their wives in their mind. This is an incredible, mind blowing standard to have challenged men too back in that day, practically impossible. You think of how far the "man of God" has come from Solomon's day. Today, a true man of God is not only limiting himself sexually to one wife, but is also limiting himself sexually to one wife, mentally! That really is a standard and goal that would have seemed impossible and lubricious in David & Solomon's day, but yet there are men today who live and abide by that standard. For a man to stand up and shout "I just love women" is as stupid and a waste of breath as a child standing up and saying, "I love candy". We all love women, but God has called us to restrain ourselves, commit to "one" and live pure and moral lives, both physically and mentally. A new phrase that is being added into Christian Vows at weddings is, "choosing you as my one and forsaking all others" I do promise! This is the Vow that will separate us from the rest, in the last days. as infidelity runs rampant!

Monday, June 12, 2017

JUNE 12 "TWISTED AND CONVOLUTED HEARTS"

  People who want what we got, but don’t have what we got are a dangerous and crazy species. It’s a long standing issue in Christian circles and my guess is it will never go away until the Church is raptured. Until then, we will have to put up with heretics, Apostates, hypocrites and hirelings within the Church of Jesus Christ. Peter, you and I would deem this as completely ridiculous that someone would think he could buy what we have and what God is doing through our lives, but to them it is perfectly normal. This is what happens when people come into the Church but do not convert. There is only one approach with people like this and that is the approach that Peter takes, it is a direct, confrontational approach. We would never deal with a sincere church member like this, no matter how much they are struggling, this would not be the method, ie: “repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps He will forgive your evil thoughts, for can see you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin”.  This is definitely the “direct approach” no beating around the bush here. However this is how you deal with such people. And the results, “Pray to the Lord for me, Simon exclaimed, “that these terrible things won’t happen to me”.  Are the results always like this...the answer to that is a definitive NO, but it is still the best approach. With the disciples Jesus exercised grace and compassion, with the religious & twisted people of the day, Jesus was stern and confrontational. “you are of your father, the devil”, just to quote one line from Jesus. Crazies will be part of our experience until Jesus’ return and our duty as sober minded Christians is to not allow them to distract and divert us from our mission and calling.  Our duty as Christians is to protect the sheep from them, our duty as Christians is never to become “one of them”. How do we become “one of them”, endless amount of ways, but the one I think is most worthy of mentioning is sitting under the preaching of God’s word week after week and then going out and living a life that completely defies what you hear preached Sunday after Sunday. This is not like when we were in false and powerless religion before we got saved. Now we are no longer ignorant, now we are sitting under Holy Ghost Preaching, hearing the truth and when we do that Sunday after Sunday and then go out and live a life that is contradictory we will eventually become twisted, pervert the truth and become deceived. The Word of God “warns” us not to be “hearers only” but “be doers” of what we hear. Some of the craziest people I’ve met in my life were not raw pagans or Satanists even, they were religious and twisted people. Many of these men and women can quote scripture, many can talk spiritual platitudes, but they won’t live it, they are heretics, apostates and of such, the bible says, “have nothing to do with them” and if you must encounter one, follow Peter’s method and perhaps, a miracle will happen in their convoluted and twisted heart.

JUNE 11 "CAN YOU BE HAPPY WITH LESS?"

Proverbs is the book of Wisdom, even more important, the Book of God's Wisdom.  The book of God's Wisdom, I should read that! But how many do? The Wisdom of God...."sometimes, less is better, if it brings you peace and quietness in your home".  More couples divorce over finances than infidelity or any other issue in marriage. Financial problems bring strife in a home like nothing else. I will never forget as a young Christian visiting a couple's house in our church that were long time pillars in that church. I was in the house, actually the garage, with their son and I could hear the mom and dad fighting like cats and dogs over money issues. It ruined by blissful outlook that I had towards the new church I had become a part of.  I thought, "when I'm married, I will never fight over finances with my wife".  I would like to tell you I fulfilled that promise to myself, but I would be lieing!"  I could buy billboards all across the USA and put the Wisdom of God up there and though, deep inside, it would resonate, we would not buy it (no punn intended) the prevailing mindset would conquer, "no way, can't be true, more has to be better, more has to be the road to happiness". We need more, more stuff, nicer cars, nicer house, nicer clothes, surely nicer furniture, nicer bar-b-q, bigger T.V., more is better, even if more leads to strife in my home, what else could be the answer? Less? No way, can't be! The days of the husband working and the wife staying home are long gone. If more is the answer, then for sure the wife has to work. The problem is, if more is enough, more is never enough.. Many couples today are holding down a combined 3 jobs.  The credit cards are piling up, the stress is mounting, the house, garage and backyard is full of stuff, but yet there is constant strife & contention in that home. The wisdom of God is better to just have a morsel of bread with peace than a home that is full, but with strife, that's as easy to receive as the child being told that he would better off asking for the side of salad at McDonalds, rather than the french fries. That same look the parent will get from the child is the same look God gets from us when He tells us, "less, much less is actually going to bring you peace and a better, happier home". Is that true? We know it's true, question is can we live it. I'm sure the kid, innately knows the salad would be a better side, but can he do it? Can he/she go to McDonalds and actually order a salad with his Big Mac instead of the French Fries? Probably not! Will most adults who read this blog today, say, " you know, that's true, I believe that less might be better, maybe there would be less strife, maybe there would be less tension in our home if we weren't trying to acquire so much...." but at the end of the day, they won't do it. They won't move to a smaller house, they won't give up the over time at work or give up one of the car payments or cancel one of their vacations or cut down on eating out.......they just won't do it.  Ask them if they agree if it's wisdom, they will say yes, ask them if they will follow this wisdom and they will say, "probably not...."

JUNE 10 "JUST A LITTLE DISOBEDIENCE.."

A little disobedience can’t hurt, right? Well then, let’s remove that scripture in Proverbs that God put in there that says, “ a little fly spoils all the ointment”. As we are busy reading about all the good things Solomon is doing “for the Lord”, …..the building of the Temple, the making of all the Holy Artifacts that will be used for worship and sacrifices for generations to come; there, mixed in the middle of all that, we read “he also built similar living quarters for Pharaoh’s daughter…whom he had married”.  In the middle of all that good, surely there is room for a little faux-pas? Surely the Lord will overlook my one little transgression in the midst of all this good I’m doing.  Solomon was not the last person to ever think like that.  Many of God’s people think like that, not just Solomon. If Solomon was waiting for a sign, a bad omen to convince him he had done wrong, he didn’t get one. He didn’t’ get struck with lightning, the ground did not open up and swallow him and his idolizing, false god worshiping, Egyptian Wife! No, none of that happened. We disobey God, disobey his written word and then want God to re-confirm to us that we have done wrong by some sign or bad omen and when we don’t get that, we conclude, “then it must be okay after all”. However, this is not a game, God doesn’t say things he doesn’t mean. He doesn’t have to re-confirm to us what He has already spoken on. The good we do, doesn’t cover up the bad, the bad actually nullifies the good. If Solomon was waiting for a sign from God, he didn’t get one, God was silent on this, other than making sure it was put in the scripture. The sign Solomon would get, is the consequences he would suffer, when years later, the women who worshiped foreign gods, would turn his heart against Jehovah. You may be a great giver, a great witnesser, a super faithful church member, but do you really think because of that you can disobey God in other area, no matter how small or insignificant, “you” think it is.  That one little area of your life, of willful disobedience may just be your undoing some day. If you are waiting for a sign, you probably will not get one, God has already spoken on the issue in His Word and He doesn’t need to repeat himself. The only sign you will get, is the consequences you reap down the road and then it will be too late.

Friday, June 9, 2017

JUNE 9 "KEEP YOUR HEART RIGHT"

     As Stephen recounts Israel's history, the story of Moses is definitely one to learn from.  At 40 years old Moses feels he is called to be Israel's deliverer. He fights and defends the Israelite against the Egyptian and the key phrase in this text is  "25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not."  Moses didn't do this on some kind of ego trip or selfish ambition, it clearly states "they would realize God was using him" Moses is attributing what he is doing as a "call from God".  How many men & women have set out on a quest for God and have fallen flat on their faces? Surely Moses falls flat on his face...."27 But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday? 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midianwhere he settled as a foreigner and had two sons"
      Moses falls flat on his face and goes from feeling called by God to be a great deliverer to going into the desert, living a seclusive life and living as a basic nobody, living day to day with no specific purpose. And this is how must of us respond too when we step out with great expectations for God and fail. Screaming out to God and demanding He let you know why He let you fail/fall flat on your face is a futile exercise. God will never answer that question on this side of eternity. Although God has revealed much of himself to us through his word, he still very much remains a mystery and so why He allows this we don't know (although I'm sure many think they know).
    Decades later, when God does visit Moses, to get Moses to do what he had tried to do before, of course, like most of us, Moses, in as nice and excusable way possible, tells God NO! Churches are filled with men and women who once felt called to do great things for God, that failed, flopped, fell flat on their faces and now when God re-visits them, through a sermon, a word, a scripture or in a time of devotion, they makes excuses and say NO.
     The one thing Moses did do is keep his heart right with God.  He remained a man of principle and Holy, otherwise God would not have used him. So Moses, though confused, disappointed and discouraged in God, keeps his heart right and remains a Godly man. This is perhaps what differentiates Moses from others. We, when disappointed and facing failure in out attempts to step out for God, not only retreat, but we let all standards and moral principles fall by the waste side. Some even turn from God and become staunch opponents to the Faith. Moses, though he does withdraw, keeps his heart right and God is able to use him and bring to fruition those stirrings that God had originally put in his heart and Moses is able to become the greatest deliver in history, aside from Jesus Christ himself.
  In my opinion, the most encouraging Christian you can ever meet is one that you know that stepped out in faith, believing to be used by God and fell flat on his face, but yet when God calls and God stirs later on, steps out once again. This is truly amazing and the most encouraging example we can ever have of a believer in Jesus Christ. He/She goes out once again, with no more guarantees than the first time, we the thought of failure raging in the back of the mind, even greater than the first time, yet he or she steps out regardless. This is exactly what Moses does and begins failing right from the start, again, but this time keeps responding to God's promptings, keeps going back and eventually becomes the man of God that he was created to be.
     If you truly want to be used by God than you will have to be willing to allow yourself to be showcased as a failure and allow yourself to be humbled far more than you would ever want or even imaginably conceive; this is the cost and if you won't pay the cost you will never see, what God has put in your heart, come to pass. Jesus warned over and over again, "you'd better count the cost!"

Thursday, June 8, 2017

JUNE 8 "STOP YOUR WHINING"

Well I could learn a lesson here from the early Apostles and from a church that we read "was growing in numbers daily".  Churches today are not growing in numbers daily, but shrinking in numbers daily! Why? Because for all the work we do to get them in, it seems like once they are in we are satisfied with that and do not serve them. Everything that comes out of their mouths is "whining" and we don't want to hear it, we don't want to deal with, we just want numbers, not problems here.  Add to our numbers but don't add to our problems. Sound like your church? Sound like you? In my own opinion and probably the opinion of 99.999% of those that have read this story would consider these woman a bunch of whiners. I don't know how the disciples thought about them and I'm glad we are not told, we are simply told that they took the matter seriously and took care of the situation, rectified the matter, made them feel like their concerns were valued by them. Hmmmm, could this be "a key" to the growing church in Jerusalem?"  No, it was the Holy Spirit, No, it was supernatural, okay........I can understand why you want to believe that because then it takes the responsibility off of you and places it all on God. How convenient! So I guess if your church is growing than it's God's fault. We can all learn a lesson from Peter and his men. They took seriously and valued the concerns of those that were in the church. Didn't matter who they were, what their social status was and the fact that they were a bunch of women who probably contributed little, but complained much, yet Peter and the leaders took to heart their grievance and made changes to rectify the situation and that is quite impressive! Read and learn, is all I can say, read and learn.....and then your church will grow too! We don't like to hear about the practical side to church growth, we just want to focus on the supernatural. Yes we need to believe in the supernatural for church growth,  but there is a very practical side of church growth, that the "non-growing" church ever wants to face up to; and that is...."maybe we are not growing because of "us", not the devil, not cause people are too bad to be saved, but we are not growing because of us!" That's a hard pill to swallow, but the sooner will swallow it, the sooner the medicine can begin to work. For more insight on church growth, google "the mystery or not, of the church that grows"  by Richard P Swift.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

JUNE 7 "KILLING THE INNOCENT"

I am quite a fan of David, even in the midst of his atrocities. I understand that we cannot just let sin go by, restitution for sin must be made, one way or another, but I still find it interesting that David goes after Joab and demands that Solomon not let his grey hair go down to the grave in peace, for the innocent blood that he (Joab) shed. It just seems a bit odd to me....think back with me years before, when Joab opened the letter, written by David, carried by the hand of Uriah himself, requesting Joab send Uriah to the front of the battle lines so Uriah would be killed. This was nothing less than cold blooded murder of an innocent man to cover up for David's impregnating Uriah's wife, while Uriah was out at war! This is the kind of drama and horror not even reality T.V. or movies can match. Not only is this a heinous sin, but David involves Joab in this murderous act. Joab must always live with this secret, that he was part of the murder of an innocent man, a good man. Perhaps this did something in Joab's Psyche?  Yes, years later, on his own accord, Joab takes the life of another innocent man, a good man, but it all started through his mentor, King David, who now wants Joab dead for his sin, but yet he, David, lived and was forgiven. We may commit heinous sins and then cry out to God for forgiveness and receive it too, and move on with our lives, as David did in the case of Bathsheba and Uriah, but there will always be lives that are scarred and affected, even though we move on, sometimes others, that were affected...don't. Joab lost something that day in himself, he lost any honor he had for his King but he also lost any honor he had for himself. I see father's and mother's committing heinous sins and what makes me angrier than anything is that they have tweens & teens that are being profoundly impacted by their decisions, by their sins. Years down the road they will cry, "why aren't my kids serving God"? Like David, they quickly forget their sins, while focusing on Joab's or their kids, their off spring. We all have offspring, whether that be spiritual or physical, that will be affected by our sins. Yes, we can be forgiven, but there will always be a Joab, that is damaged by our actions and never fully recovers and may one day find himself/herself in a very similar, if not identical sin, funny (or sad) how that works!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

JUNE 6 "HOW LONG IS LONG ENOUGH?"

Opportunities to do wrong never stop knocking on your door. How long do I have to resist, how long do I need to keep saying “no”? I've been resisting temptation for so long, how much longer? Well, for the man and/or woman that finally gives in, the answer is…. “not long enough”.  For the man who finally gives in to the seductress at work, ruins his marriage and turns his kids against him, the answer will be, “it wasn't long enough”.  For the young girl who had vowed to God to maintain her purity, but one night, alone with her boyfriend, gives in to his advances, the answer for her will be, “not long enough”. Joab has been faithful to David for a long, long time but the bible says, “although Joab did not go after Absalom, he did go after Adonijah.  Joab resisted the temptation to defect and go with Absalom, the King’s son, when Absalom lead a rebellion, although I’m sure Joab was tempted, but yet resisted. Years go by and Joab has another opportunity to do wrong, this time with another of David’s sons, Adonijah. And this time, Joab defects with Adonijah and this ultimately leads to Joab’s death. How long was long enough for Joab, apparently, not long enough. There was nothing anymore special about Adonijah as compared to Absalom, the only difference between the two men, was timing. Absalom’s temptation to Joab was at a time where Joab was determined to stand strong, a little longer….The question everyone wants answered, is “how much longer?”.  How long is long enough? The answer will always be, “not long enough”.  Until you breathe your last breath, the answer is “not long enough”.  Until your spouse passes away or you pass away, the answer is “not long enough”.  Until you stand at the altar with your future bride, the answer is “not long enough”.  We want to resist temptation for a set time, we want the time defined, put it in writing, then I will know, I only have to resist for this much longer, but life doesn't work like that and it is a shame to see men and women that we have served God with for so many years and have seen them be faithful and loyal for such a long time, only one day, to see them finally give in to temptation and wreck everything they have striven for over the years; therefore the answer today, to anyone that would ask, “how long” the answer would be “not long enough” just ask Joab!

Monday, June 5, 2017

JUNE 5 "SHEEP OR SHEPHERD?"

“For they are but sheep” Why does David refer to the people as “sheep”.  If they are sheep, what is he? By calling them sheep David is making a distinction between himself and them. In other words, “they are sheep” and “I am not”, so bring the affliction on me”.  So if David is not a sheep, what is he inferring, to God? And of course you already know the answer to that, David is inferring that he is a Shepherd and they are but sheep. Jesus looked over Israel and was grieved for the people, for they were lost sheep without a shepherd.  Jesus is also inferring that He is not a sheep, but a Shepherd.  Moses also made a distinction between himself and the people of Israel. Moses was the Shepherd and the Israelites were the sheep that constantly went astray.  Isaiah writes, “all of us like sheep have gone astray”.  Amos made a distinction between himself and the people, he was a shepherd and they were sheep.  All 3 men, Moses, David and Amos, were both, literal Shepherds and figuratively. It seemed like an easy transition for Jesus to take men that had watched over helpless and vulnerable sheep and get them to transition over to watching and caring over, often, helpless and vulnerable humans. There is an interesting thought here, that is scary to even bring up; and that it is….sometimes “the sheep” are suffering because of decisions “the shepherd” has made. In our story seventy thousand lives perish because of the shepherd’s decision. I’m not sure how much of that side of the story ever got out to the people of Israel or how many knew? Shepherds are obviously there to protect the sheep. How many sheep do you know that have been hurt because of decisions the Shepherd has made? This is why this is scary to bring up because we don’t want a mutiny on our hands, Sunday morning in our churches. “You Mr. Shepherd, we are voting you off the island [so to speak], we read this week about how the sheep are hurt because of decisions the Shepherd makes and now that makes me think of that time….”  And you can see where it goes from there. However, before we get a chip on our shoulders, Shepherds have often been bit by the sheep, hurt and wounded also. (I know what you’re thinking, “it’s expected of the sheep, to bite, but not the Shepherd…and this is true). However, it’s a give and take relationship and God does not fire/remove David as Shepherd for his blunder as much as we would like. Just remember, what Jesus said, with the same measure you judge others; Jesus will use that same measuring scale/rod to judge you.  We can judge (contrary to what unlearned people might say) but remember, be careful, once you have passed a verdict, a judgment on someone else, even if it be true, God will say, “okay, you’re right, I will take care of this, but will now be watching you and measuring you to that standard also”.  Who is “the Shepherd?” Well, for sure The Pastor, is the head Shepherd in The Church but he doesn’t have to be the only one. A Shepherd is one who leads, cares and watches over Sheep. I was a Shepherd in my church long before I had the title “Pastor”. The point is, it is up to you to discern, “sheep or shepherd”. If you are a sheep, then don’t be a sheep that bites and if you are a Shepherd, don’t be a Shepherd that causes the sheep to be harmed. No matter where you fall under in this two categories, do your best to raise the bar, the standard, not bring it down.  Sheep or Shepherd? You decide and be the best one you can be.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

JUNE 4 "GREAT TASTE OF VICTORY"

     There are those that know neither the woes of defeat neither the joy of victory, they just dwell in a perpetual state of mediocrity . Who could be more qualified to write the words that are written in our text; other than David himself.  "with your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall...He trains my hands for battle....you armed me with strength for battle"  Ever wonder how David went into battle after battle and was never killed, not only was he never killed, he was never injured, not only was he never injured but he killed thousands in the process.  A warrior for God is either going to feel God's supernatural, sustaining Grace or he is going to feel abandoned. He will either kill or be killed himself in the process. David not only fought amongst warriors, he fought against barbaric, at times, demon possessed men, yet in all of his fights he was never killed, but he killed many. If I sound redundant here it is because it needs to sink in exactly what David experienced from his viewpoint and then re-read the song he has written in our text. This is not some song or poetry of a man who has taken lucid drugs and just lets his mind wonder and his hand pen fantasies, this is written from a first hand experience. David does not play video games on war, video games are made of his life. David is a man of war. David has done so much killing and shed so much blood that God won't let him build his house.
     We cannot deny that many who have consciously made a decision to enter the battle field, have been taken out by that very decision to enter in battle. Some soldiers for Christ are taken out quickly, quicker than those that know neither defeat or victory; their death is a slow death of apathy and indifference, in trying to preserve their life they have not lived. Is your relationship with God uneventful, boring and fading. Is the reality of God very distant from you? It's because you play it safe, you do not give God an opportunity to sustain you lest you die or be overcome. God can only move in your life supernaturally when you put yourself in a position "where he must".  I don't know about you, but I'd rather die a quick death on the battle field than a slow death in some comfortable retirement home.
     The key to David's confidence to go into battle is tied to his confidence in his relationship with God. Our confidence in God will always be in proportion to our security about our relationship with him. The man who is insecure about his relationship with God will lack confidence in God to provide and sustain him in times of difficulty.  David is quick to quote, "I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin...to the faithful you show yourself faithful". David's confidence to sustain him in barbaric warfare is directly tied to his confidence of his heart towards God. David understood something many Born Agains don't understand today, our favour with God does not come from living "perfect" Christian lives, it comes from having a perfect heart towards God. David lived anything but a perfect righteous life, he messed up worse than many of us may ever do, but yet his heart was always perfect towards God. Many of us will never commit the sins that David committed, but it is not because our hearts are perfect towards God, it's because we could not bare to stand up to the shame it would bring us, not so much the shame it would bring God. What keeps most of us from great sin is the knowledge of the repercussions it would bring us, to put it bluntly, we are no so foolish to commit these grievous sins that would tarnish our reputations in the church and community, but yet our hearts are not perfect towards God.  When David was right with God, he was right with God. Some of us, even when we are right with God (so to speak) we are not blameless neither are we right with God through and through, there's always little crevices of sin in the chambers of our heart.  In short, we all need the confidence that David had in God to sustain him in war and to have that we will all need that same confidence that David had, in our relationship with God, and that comes from having not a perfect life, but a perfect heart, towards God.  You may ask, "what's the difference between being perfect in living for God vs. having a heart that is perfect towards him?"  You figure that one out and when you do, it may bring an ease, to your tight rope walk, relationship with God, that you currently have.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

JUNE 3 "THE BAD GUY ISN'T ALWAYS THE BAD GUY"

     The bad guy isn't always the bad guy, sometimes he's the good guy.  It's easy to read this story today and read it dismissing David as the calloused killer, insensitive to the lives that he is affecting by having these innocent people murdered. These parents and citizens must be filled with hatred and animosity towards David. I seriously doubt that this is easy for David to do and the text does make mention to his sparing Mephibosheth from the slaughter. David is simply trying to help Israel, Saul is the culprit and the reason behind why David must to, what to many is, a senseless slaughter of innocent lives. David inquiries to God why the famine (which is also leading to the death of innocent lives) and God's response to David is, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.” Saul is long gone now, and David is left with the mess left behind by the previous King. A true leader is one that has the courage to do what's right, for the better of the whole, though it often will cause him to be hated by some. Israel will rejoice when the famine ends and rain falls, but these families who had their sons taken away from them by David will probably 'till their death, loathe David.  Imagine David's heart as he hears about Rizpah who spreads herself over the bodies of her sons, for days, wailing, weeping and protection them from the vultures. Although the famine ends, David must live with this on his conscience that he ordered the execution of Rizpah's sons. Everybody wants to be a leader and have recognition, but nobody wants to and often fail, to make the hard decisions that a true leader must make. This is why politicians are so ineffective today, they are trying to lead at the same time they are waiting for public opinion to help them decide what to do. Their decisions are not based on personnel moral convictions, they are based on polls and public opinion.  Don't ever inquire of God to find out what is wrong and what can be done to fix it if you are not going to have the courage to follow through on what God prompts you to do. It would be better had you not consulted God, than to consult God and then ignore the advice and direction you receive from him. David is an incredible leader, he not only has the wisdom to seek God in this dilemma but he has the courage to follow through on this very difficult resolution that God provides him with. The Apostle Paul, another great leader writes that when God told him what to do, "he did not confer with man". Often we confer with man because we are looking for someone to talk us out of what we sense is what God wants us to do but don't have the courage to do it. If you ask enough people, after God has spoken to you, you will always find enough people to convince you that it was not God and to do otherwise. Always be careful of trying to be spiritual and enquire of God, when you are not spiritual enough to follow through on what he may say, you will be worse off than before. David inquiries and David follows through and all is well, concerning the famine, but many, many leaders and men, would not have followed through and many, many leaders today have enquired of God and never followed through and that is why our Country, our families and our churches are in disarray, because we inquire, but don't follow through because we are more people pleasers than we are God pleasers and God warns us that the fear of man, is a snare. We will never truly lead or serve God until we are set free from the fear of man and the fear of wavering public opinion.

Friday, June 2, 2017

JUNE 2 "DELIBERATELY PURPOSEFUL"

     I may be overstating something here, but there are few scriptures, if any where Jesus compares his love to him, based on whether or not you do something.  I thought only my wife did this (lol), but apparently not. Jesus says, "Peter, do you love me....then __________"  and at this point we should all have open ears.  Recently I ran into a Christian from another church and I asked him what he was up to and his answer to me was, "just luving Jesus man....just luving Jesus..." and he said it with this glazed look in his eyes.  As I left that encounter I thought...."wow, that guy really loves Jesus...I think?" Rarely do I walk around with a glazed look in my eye telling people, "I'm just loving Jesus".  Do I love Jesus? If it's based off of sentiment and a glazed look in my eye, I might have to say...no!  However, if I base it off of what Jesus says love is for him, than I could say..."yes!".  There are few things in Christendom that we can deliberately set out do to, within our own means. There is much we can set out to do, but at the end of the day we know that God must move supernaturally on our behalf for our efforts to have effect. Jesus understands that much weighs upon him, but this is a weight (so to speak) that he is shifting back, not just upon Peter, but upon "any" that would say they love him.  Jesus is saying, "be deliberate" about this!" Don't just sit around and spiritualize this, if God wills it then...."  There is no, "if God wills it here, there is no, if God helps me, if God moves, if a miracle happens then...." there is NONE of that involved in this. This is something that we can be deliberate about. We can preach, we can witness, we can pass out flyers but at the end of the day, Jesus says, "I will build my church". Every person that gives their life to Jesus is a miracle given my God (unless the Father draws, no man can come to me) so we know that even with our best efforts, without God we cannot save a soul. But in this area, it's all on us. The soul is there, God has done everything to bring that soul into the Kingdom, now it is up to us to do our part. This WE CAN DO, but often we do not. If we would spend more time focusing on what we can do, and spend more time praying about what we cannot do rather than trying to force what we cannot, we would be more effective.  This we do not leave to chance, we do not leave to prayer, we do not wait for some miracle or Divine intervention, this is something Jesus wants us to be deliberately purposeful about. 1. Feeding & caring of his sheep is a responsibility that Jesus is shifting unto us. How many sheep does Jesus bring into the fold, that God only looks from heaven and grieves as he sees the sheep he has brought into the fold not cared for and famished. How can a soul stand in the midst of so many Christians and yet feel so alone. How can a soul sit in the midst of an assembly and be completely ignored. How can a soul be brought into the church by Divine intervention and then be left to stand there alone as the parking lot clears out and the voices and laughter fade away, as they go home to their lonely apartment? While we are loving on Jesus, with a glazed look in our eyes, his sheep go... uncared for and famished for fellowship, love and companionship.  The church has a twofold purpose, 1. Preach the Gospel, to nameless and faceless people and the 2. Love and care for those that god puts names and faces too!  I find we do a much better job preaching to the nameless and faceless than we do loving and caring for those that have names and faces right before us, day in and day out. We would rather preach to the thousands rather than love the one, homely & lonely person God puts in front of us. Peter preached to nameless and faceless people on the day of Pentecost and saw 3000 souls saved. Now Jesus is putting the weight upon Peter to love and care for those people, to "feed them", both spiritually and physically, if needed. Much in Christendom depends on the supernatural workings and providence of God, but here in our text is ONE THING that God gives back to us and says, this is up to you, this is something I want you to be deliberately purposeful about and that is....loving, caring and the feeding of MY SHEEP, are you deliberately purposeful about this?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

JUNE 1 "CARING FOR THE WRONG PEOPLE"

     Joab sure gives David a tongue lashing, like nobody else could have. David is mourning over someone who has been trying to kill him (yes, even though it's his own son) meanwhile the men that care for David, love him, risked their lives for him are being dissed, unappreciated and ignored. If only we all had a friend in our times of insanity to come speak to us like Joab does to David. You see a parent give herself so much to the wayward child, while the other child that is loving, barely gets any attention. A woman obsessed in a relationship with an abusive man, while the man that loves her and would treat her right, is ignored and dissed. David is not the only one ever guilty of caring for the wrong people. As the saying goes, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease". It seems those that scream the loudest and make the most trouble, get the most attention. A good friend or even the Holy Spirit, whispering to us to "love those that care for you, don't ignore them" is what we all need. People shouldn't feel like they have to "be bad" to get our attention, but often times, that is the case. It is proven that children often act up, to get their parent's attention, if not, they are ignored and it is as if they don't exist. "At least if I act up, I get attention, it's bad attention, but bad attention is better than no attention at all..." is the mindset.  Maybe there's a whole lot of people that love you and care for you and they feel neglected and unappreciated by you as you spend all your emotion and care on some wayward child, friend or family member. Today, let this story speak to you, let Joab speak to you, let the Holy Spirit speak to you. Don't sit and mourn and be consumed with the unloving, wayward person in your life, but turn yourself around and set your heart, affections and care, back towards those, that care so much for you, but feel so neglected by you.