July 28, 2016
Patience in the Midst of Tribulation
And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
There is not one of us who has always seen an immediate answer to our prayers and need. Many of us may have been trusting the Lord for years for certain things, maybe a healing, a loved one’s salvation or a deliverance from some weakness in our lives. Perhaps we have become discouraged in the way and have wanted to give up. Maybe we have. Isaiah 59:1 says, “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” In many cases the Lord says it is our iniquities and sin that has made a separation between us and our God, but that is not the only thing that hinders or delays our answers to prayer.
If you had two boys very similar in most ways, but you took one of them and everything he wanted or asked for he received immediately. There was nothing denied him, nor did he have to wait for that which he asked for. On the other hand the other boy was taught that not everything is given just because you ask for it or want it. In some cases the answer was “no”. While the boy’s needs were met and he didn’t go hungry some things came after a time of patiently waiting. Some things were gained through diligence and hard work. While not everything came to him right away, he discovered that through obedience and trust in his benefactor and provider, most things did come to him in due time. As the boys grew to be adults who do you think grew to be the most responsible, appreciative, humble, patient, related best with others and had the best work ethic?
Some of us may have a concept of God as a celestial Santa Claus. What ever we ask or believe for should automatically appear. God is not a Santa Claus. He is a loving heavenly Father who loves his children dearly. Hebrew 12:2-29 is a great account concerning the discipline of the heavenly Father. Please read it if you can. It tells us that because our Father loves us He chastens, disciplines and corrects us. If you are not experiencing this, then maybe it is because you don’t belong to Him and are not His child. It is this discipline through our trials and tribulations that trains us up in His character and likeness. It teaches us to trust Him, based not on our sense realm, but on faith in His Word.
Which makes the best stew, one in which all of the ingredients are just added to water, or one in which it is then put upon the stove brought to a boil and then simmered for a good length of time.
What some of us may have considered God’s unfaithfulness or lack of response, may be the test our faithfulness to Him. Job’s response to God when satan took all that he had and counted dear to him, leaving him desolate, childless and in pain and misery was: “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (Job 1; 20-22).” In Job 5:17 the statement is made, “Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:”
What we learn in our walk with God is that He is God and we are not. He sets the conditions and the standards according to His Word. We have to be willing to count Him faithful even when God doesn’t come through on our terms or way of thinking. He is the Creator and we are the created. Will the pot say to the potter, “Why did you make me this way?” We are being fashioned after the image of His likeness. He showed us the way in the life of Jesus. Ultimately that way is leading us to the same end through the cross that we may in turn experience the power of His resurrection life. In Acts 14:22 it says that Paul was “Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God”.
We are a blessed people. We serve a great and wonderful Lord. We have all no doubt tasted of the richness of His goodness and mercy. While we hear much ministry today about prosperity and blessings which is certainly a part of our inheritance, we must remember also James 1:2-4 which exhorts us, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
It may be that we are looking for the prosperity and blessings, instead are finding ourselves in the midst of tribulation and trials. There are seasons for all things, but know this: Romans 8:28-31 encourages us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?” Have Patience…
July 27, 2016
Reign in Righteousness
For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
We all have known what it is like to be identified with Adam. We all have been partakers of that human nature whereby we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The reality is that most of us, who are Christians, even though we are saved, still primarily identify with our old Adamic nature. Why is that? I think inwardly we sense the presence and change of the Holy Spirit’s dwelling in our hearts, but outwardly we are still struggling with sin issues. Many of us still struggle with condemnation because of our sin. Sin didn’t just up and leave us just because we accepted Christ into our hearts or because we were filled with the Holy Spirit. The infusion of God’s life into us brought to us an abundance of grace and it brought to us the gift of His righteousness. The acceptance by faith of Christ into our lives brought to us a much greater destiny and purpose than we had ever known in the world of sin and death. We struggle with who we are in Christ because of what we still see on the outside as the old us.
If I were to come to you today and say that our research has found that you are the long lost heir to the throne of another country. It is definite; there is no question about it. You are the prince and you need to come to our country and prepare for learning how to rule. What would be your reaction? “Me, you got to be kidding. There is no way I could be a king, I am just a mechanic, or housewife, or a whatever.” You see there is no way we could, at this moment, successfully step into the place of leadership and rule in that country, even though we are the rightful heirs. Why? It is because we don’t have the mentality of a king. We still have the mentality of what we have been. Now even though we don’t feel like a prince and we often don’t act like a prince doesn’t mean that we aren’t. Perhaps it is easier to see that in order for us to assume our new role as a prince in this country there needs to take place in us a whole new way of thinking and living. In order for us to be fit to rule we need to be set under tutors and learn the discipline and the perspective of a prince. We need our minds and hearts transformed to think like a prince. At first we might think this will be great. I’ll have all of these servants to wait on me and I’ll have everything I want. The reality is that when we get there we begin to learn the life of ruling and reigning isn’t about serving one’s self, it is about how to best serve others. It is about self-sacrifice and acting on behalf of what will best benefit those that we are to reign over. Jesus was the King of Kings, but did He come to do what was best for Him or what was best for us? As heavenly princes, and I speak this in the male and female gender, we need to be preparing to reign. What we have been given, both grace and righteousness, is a gift. We didn’t earn them and we certainly didn’t deserve them, but they are ours for simply reaching out in faith, believing and receiving them.
Now if I come to tell you and convince you that you really are a prince and an heir to the throne, but if you refuse your position and responsibility, where does that leave you? If you just continue on being whatever you were before, how could you ever be fit to reign or assume your God given position? You can see why we have to come into a totally different mind set and way of thinking? This is where most of us are today. We are still thinking and living in what we were rather than what we are. You are “the righteousness of God in Christ.” With that gift and calling comes a responsibility on our part to begin to respond to our new King and His authority. We have to learn the ways and become proficient in the culture of this New Kingdom, not our old one. That has to be left behind as our mind and thinking are transformed and changed to think like our King.
You and I are called to be the princes of God. Isaiah 32:1 says, “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.” In order for us to begin to prepare to come into our calling and destiny we have to get a vision and revelation of what the apostle Paul taught us in Romans 6: 1-7, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound, God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection, Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” We have to get rid of that old mentality that only sees ourselves as defeated sinners. Catch the vision and revelation of your calling and who you are in Christ. Start learning to live and to think like a prince of the Most High God. There is no higher kingdom to which we could be called. Accept and pursue the discipline that will train you up to receive the high calling to which you have been purposed. We are called to reign in righteousness even as the One we follow is righteous. Start to think and live as the prince or princess of God that you are.
July 26, 2016
Salt [is] good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
You are the Seasoning
Throughout our lives we are often among people or in places that aren’t necessarily our choice. Many of us have jobs that are unpleasant or the people that we work around have ways that really challenge us and try us. Often life places us in those scenarios that wouldn’t be our choice, but we are stuck with them. Remember that old adage that says, ‘when life offers you only lemons then make lemonade’? We are surrounded in a strange land with a good many of the people in this land not really knowing God, His life and His salvation. You and I are sojourners in this strange land. We look for a city, which has foundations, whose builder and maker, is God. We are God’s salt brought to a bland, tasteless and unsavory world. If you are one of those blessed ones in those unpleasant places then know that God has chosen you to be the seasoning.
We often have a choice. We can become the victims of our circumstance or the masters of them. No, we don’t always get to choose the things that affect and touch our lives, but we do make the choice of whether these circumstances rule over us or we rule over them. When ugliness, darkness and calamity greet us, we have the choice to respond in the beauty of Christ, giving forth His light and maintaining His peace. That is what it means when our life is hidden in Him. That’s what it means to be the salt and the seasoning of God. We don’t respond the way the world responds. We don’t fall into the pit of self-pity and faultfinding. When light comes into a dark place it dispels the darkness, because light is greater than darkness and darkness simply fills the voids where light is not present. You are the torch of God and where you go, you bring with you light. Now we can obviously hide that light or we can let it shine.
Darkness can only overcome light by putting it out. What does the enemy do to us? Doesn’t he try and condemn us, discourage us and tempt us into sin. Isn’t he there to ridicule, mock and demean us whenever he can? Those are all devices to put out your light. If we walk in the flesh, then we will respond in the flesh, but if we walk in the Spirit then we will respond and act out of the light. We will bring the seasoning of God and His life to every situation, environment, workplace and gathering. Others will see and take note that the Spirit of Christ is among them. They will often test the light and the seasoning of God to see if it continues to hold its brightness and flavor. Once they know that you have the real thing, that it isn’t just words, or religion, then they will be drawn to that light and they will want to partake of that seasoning of God’s life and blessing.
God doesn’t want us to be a people that just react to our circumstances, especially when they are negative. He wants us to act out of His life, strength and nature. That is hard to do when we are still too full of ourselves, because then it is still all about us. When it is Christ living through us, then we act and speak more as Jesus did. We will take authority to speak the mind of Christ and not simply respond and react to the prodding of men. When men asked questions of Jesus to try and entrap and snare him, He looked past the surface of the question and into the heart of the asker. He responded and addressed heart issues, not falling into the trap of human reasoning. One of the reasons that we maintain a close relationship and fellowship with the Father is not just for our benefit, but also that the fragrance of His life might emanate from us and fill the atmosphere with the aroma of His presence.
Are you in a difficult place today? Maybe you are there because God wants to spice it up and you are the seasoning. Be sensitive to His Spirit in the midst of the spirits that you are surrounded by. You are the priest of God, His ambassador and the administrator of His peace and life, so spice up your world.
July 25, 2016
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, 31but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
“Come now; let us leave.”
If Jesus showed and demonstrated one thing in His life it was that He was completely obedient to the Father. His obedience wasn’t dictated by the Law or obligation, it was the motive of complete love and surrender to the will of the Father that flowed through the life of Jesus. Jesus, the Son of man, the earthen vessel was the divine expression of the Father through His this love and that relationship that indwelt Him.
The Jew’s asked, “Who are you?” in John 8:25-29.
“Just what I have been claiming all along,” Jesus replied. 26″I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”
27They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” The bond of obedience in Jesus was sealed in the love of the Father. It was the bond of that love and union that made the Father and the Son one in Jesus. This is why Jesus could speak with the authority that He did while not exalting Himself, but always the Father.
Jesus again speaks strongly to His deity through His unity with the Father in John 5:16-30. “So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. 17Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” 18For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
19Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
24″I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
28″Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” What was He saying, but that I am the expression of the Father’s message and salvation to all who will hear, receive and obey. Jesus was of one mind and one heart with the Father, so when the Jews rejected, persecuted and finally crucified Jesus. What they did to the Son they did to the Father.
Finally in John 14:5-14 we again come full circle when Thomas asks Jesus to show them the Father and they will be satisfied. Jesus tells Him plainly of the relationship between the Father and the Son. “Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
In this hour when the Spirit of the Lord is working in us to conform us to image and likeness of Christ, it will come through no effort or proclamation of our own, it will be birthed out of the union of love and obedience to the Father and the Son as we live it out through the power of His Spirit in us. Jesus so expresses this to us as He continues to speak in verses 15-21, ““If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” If we would know Christ in His fullness then we must know the relationship of exacting obedience birthed out of the extreme love we have for Christ. May we become that expression in word and deed that He was of the Father.
July 22, 2016
And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
Born to Serve
From the time that we come into this earth we were born to serve. We will serve something or someone all of our days. The question is what and whom do we serve?
The children of Israel during their stay in Egypt served the Egyptians some four hundred years. Just think, that is longer than our United States is old. Being servants to Egyptians had become a mindset and just a way of life. It was who you were and what you did. It took a Moses, operating under the Spirit of God, to begin to overturn that mindset and slavery thinking. It is no different with us. We grow up serving the world and thinking like the world. That is what everybody does, so that is what we do. Then along comes Jesus and upsets our way of thinking and serving.
Some are naïve enough to say, “I don’t serve anybody. I’m my own person.” When a person says something like that they are saying, that indeed, they are a servant to their flesh. It is there old nature that rules over them, but if they have never known anything different they don’t recognize it as slavery.
God allowed Israel to become the servants and slaves of Egypt. God told Abram in Genesis 15:13, “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.” Now why did God do that? Why did He allow Adam to fall into the slavery of sin and darkness and in the process take all of humanity with Him? We can’t know freedom and really appreciate it until we have experienced slavery and bondage. We can never really appreciate the light of day until we have walked through the darkness of night. We can’t really appreciate the warmth and beauty of spring until we have walked through the coldness and the deadness of winter. God allows us to experience certain things so that we can have an appreciation and a revelation of something so much better and so much higher.
God has delivered us out of the realm of bondage into the liberty of the Sons of God, but some of us still have our old mindsets and earthly way of thinking. Many of us still see our promise land as a place possessed by giants and impossibilities rather than seeing it as a land flowing with milk and honey which is our inheritance. As a result we slip back into the bondage of our unredeemed thinking and belief system. We don’t believe we can therefore we can not.
God wants to blow the lid off of this kind stinking thinking. It is an offense to Him and denial of who He is. We are not going to possess this land in and of our selves because we are no longer of ourselves. We are of Christ. It is the Christ who is the might and the power and the authority in us to prevail and possess our land, as we dispossess the giants and its former inhabitants. How long are we going to allow satan to rob us of that which is rightfully ours? It is only the intimidation of his fear and doubt that prevents us. Where is our spirit of Joshua and Caleb that sees how great their God is rather than how weak we are in our flesh? If you can see it by the Spirit you can possess it by faith. If you are walking in the will and authority of God then there is none that can stand before you.
God has raised us up to be the conquering servants of the MOST HIGH GOD! He has brought us out of the bondage of sin and darkness. He has brought us out and is training us up to be the servants that bring humanity unto Him. You are His priesthood, His army and His sons to bring liberty to the afflicted and set the captive free. Romans 8: 18-25 declares, “I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us. 19In fact, all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are. 20Meanwhile, creation is confused, but not because it wants to be confused. God made it this way in the hope 21that creation would be set free from decay and would share in the glorious freedom of his children. 22We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth. 23The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children. This means that our bodies will also be set free. 24And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. 25However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it.” We are God’s Moses to His creation. He has commissioned us in His Son to be the liberators of His creation that have been subjected to the bondage of sin and death. We have been blessed that God has given us the privilege of knowing Him and being prepared for this calling. Unfortunately many of us don’t yet see it by faith. Some of us see it, but we are still too entangled in the affairs of this life. Until our thinking is liberated we can never be the servants that we were born to be. We are called to be servant kings that rule and reign to bless and liberate. That is our purpose and that is our calling. With the most reverent respect to God, I say, “ the devil be damned, let’s possess the land!”
July 21, 2016
1 John 4:13-17
We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
Living Example of Love
We know that God is love and we know that God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son, so what is our response and responsibility? John is a disciple who has a revelation of the love of God. No other writer expresses the love and relationship with God the way that John does. I think that we hear of the love of God with our ears, but do we experience it in the depths of our soul? What is John saying here?
God is love. His love expression is Jesus Christ. We know that we now live in this love because we live in Him and He lives in us through His Spirit. What does this say about the atmosphere and the aura that surrounds our life and permeates our being? In Christ we are saturated in the love of God. If then we are saturated in this love shouldn’t this love define our life, our purpose and the expression of our being? The judgement of God is not our fear, because the purpose of our being is to express the love of God to a lost world to rescue them from judgement.
A fellow related a story to me this week about a time when his car broke down and stopped in traffic. He said he set some safety cones out and was trying to get his car running again when a car came up behind him and began to honk profusely. He thought I have designated that I am having a problem why doesn’t he just go around? He said he finally went back to see what this guy’s problem was and it happened to be the associate pastor at the church he attended. He said when the man recognized him as a person from the church; he ducked his head and quickly pulled around and drove on. He said he has never mentioned it since. Now we could judge this associate pastor for actions, but probably most of us, with a little thought, can think of times in which we acted no better. We, like the scribes, Pharisees and religious ones have crossed to the other side of the road and turned our head to ignore an unpleasant or inconvenient situation we haven’t wanted to get involved in. In fact, at times we have become down right irritated and angered at the inconvenience that others impose upon us.
The question becomes who is our neighbor and what is our responsibility to love them? Remember now, we are the ones who are saturated with the love of God. I hope you see my point, because it is very convicting to me when I look back and see my actions and responses in the light of the love of God that should be prevailing in me. If self-interest is still my predominate motivator then have I really gotten a revelation of the love of God that is resident in me? It is one thing to know who I am, but then I have to become the expression and the substance of whose I am and that should be LOVE. Love possesses me, He owns me, He fills and He lives in me. If there is one thing that should be noticeable and stand out about our life it should be His love. If we know and rely upon the love God has for us, how much more the world, without realizing it, is depending upon God’s love through us to reveal to them salvation and hope, “because in this world we are like Him.”
Are we like Him? Are we His expression of love? In this world we must be the living examples of God’s love.
July 20, 2016
Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
A Lonely Pathway
I walked a lonely pathway,
And thought I was alone,
But I felt this presence with me,
A presence not my own.
When I would become frightened,
I would find a peace was in the air,
When I became discouraged,
Encouragement came to me to share.
At first I thought no one really cared,
That only my strength would do,
But there, in my utter weakness,
I found my strength was You.
You lifted me up,
When I stumbled and I fell,
You took away my darkness,
And delivered me out of my hell.
I wasn’t even looking,
When You found me all alone,
But you clothed me with Your love,
And You took me to Your home.
You fed me there at Your table,
From the loaf of bread and wine.
I discovered I was no longer by myself,
But I was Yours and You were mine.
I walked a lonely pathway,
But no longer am I alone,
You have become a light unto my path,
As Your ways to me You’ve shown.
Now I walk in the comfort of Your presence,
And no longer do I fear,
I know Your love surrounds me,
becauseYour Spirit is always here.
July 19, 2016
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh,
but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases.
You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
The Winds of Life
Through the wind gates of lifetime we flow,
With twist and turns as we go.
The thermos of blessing sometimes gust,
And then hot winds of trials blow their dust.
Life is a mystery each day we walk,
It is always the topic of our talk.
Yet it is not always what is seen that is real.
Life is not just about our senses or how we feel.
The mystery of life is a spiritual force,
That good or bad can direct our course.
Even if we don’t believe in what we don’t see,
It still effects the course of our eternity.
Some fail to realize that the spirit lives on,
It will remain when this body is gone.
This brief breath, we call life, was our test,
How we lived, what we believe determines the rest.
Are we so blind that we can’t see,
Life is not just the natural or just about me?
It is in finding the earth as a place to plant our seed,
Where in dying to self, we might truly become free.
It is not what we gain in this world that will last,
It is in gaining Christ that all earthly is surpassed.
No matter what the winds of this life brings,
In Christ we have the power to endure all things.
When the winds of time sweeps us from this earth.
May we have found the life and joy of a second birth.
In Christ we know that life has not ended, but only began,
Because we live not out of the earthly, but the spiritual man.
July 18, 2016
2 Corinthians 6 14-18
14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Touch not the Unclean Thing
Yesterday my daughter called me. She is a single mom with two sons, Josiah and Zion. She asked me if I could talk with Josiah, as he was giving her a hard time. She doesn’t allow him to watch and read things like Harry Potter, but he had checked out a book at the school library and read about four chapters when he brought it home and she confronted him about it. Josiah is a very sensitive and precious guy, but he has this side about him that can become a very ugly and disagreeable attitude when it rises up. I’ve given this spirit a name. I call him Mr. Whiny. I’m always telling Josiah he can come over, but he has to leave Mr. Whiny at home. I’ve always instilled in Josiah that he is a man of God and he does love the Lord.
When I began speaking to Josiah about the Harry Potter book, Mr. Whiny was very much present. “Why can’t I read this book Grandpa?” he asked. The first thing I asked Josiah was, “Josiah, who are you?” He knew exactly what I was asking. “Quietly he replied, “I’m a man of God.” I began to share with him from today’s scripture about what fellowship has light with darkness and Christ with the devil or the things of darkness? I asked him if went to church would he bring snakes, bugs, mice and things like that into the church? He said, “no”. I told him that he was the temple and sanctuary of the Lord and we have to be careful about what we bring into God’s temple.
“But I want to read it”, he protested.
I explained that even things that don’t seem that bad, but are not in line with God’s word can open up access for spiritual darkness, compromise and deception to come into us. I reminded him of Adam and how the serpent tempted him and it didn’t sound that bad, but his decision to yield to temptation, brought all of humanity into sin and death.
Still, Josiah didn’t want to give up on reading the book. I reminded him that God had placed people like his mom and myself in his life because He loved him so much. “God wants the very best for you Josiah,” I reminded him. When you rebel and want your way, it isn’t your mom or I that you are really rebelling against and disobeying, it is the Lord you are saying no, too. I said you know that what I am saying is right, but you have to be willing to come into obedience to the Lord. That is dying to yourself and putting God’s ways before your own. Then I told him to pray about it and I said, “I know you will do the right thing.”
I think God uses correcting our children to speak to our own hearts. I can remember many times correcting my children when they were growing up that I was feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit as if He were saying, “Do you hear yourself and are you doing what you are telling them they should do?” Most of us aren’t under our parents anymore, but we don’t want to become hardened in our hearts so that we can’t hear and respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction about the things we do, think upon and participate in. Many of us allow a lot of the world and the spirits of darkness into our mind and thinking, by what we watch, read and listen too. We are not unlike little Josiah. Even though we know what is right and wrong, we still want to do what we want to do. Like Josiah we need to be reminded of who we are and the calling upon our lives.
The Lord speaks to us today and He is saying to us, “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:17)”
July 15, 2016
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
When Jesus came into the earth, grew into manhood and walked among us, we never see Jesus focused on himself. His attention, His ministry and His service is always in one of two directions and really it is in both. He is first focused on pleasing the Father and carrying out His will and then He focused upon His fellow man and what is in their best interest. I believe that it is still His focus today as our High Priest and Intercessor. Even if we look at the Ten Commandments their directives are on how we behave toward God and our fellow man.
I feel the Lord’s dealings in my life in the area that I am always to focused on what is in my best interest rather than what is in another’s best interest. Without even realizing it we can always be weighing in the back of our mind, “how is this going to benefit me?” In the realm of the natural man, “ME” is always central in what we do and the choices that we make. The person that we see the most character and Christ likeness in is those that have this same mind that was also in Christ Jesus. Their first love and attention is to the Father and secondly it is to what best meets the needs in others. This scripture is not telling us that we don’t need to take care of own business and needs as well, but it is strongly encouraging us to not just be self-centered, but centered also on the good of those around us. It may be in my best interest, but is it in their best interest as well?
The unique thing we see about the cross is that it is both a place of death and place of life. It is an intersection between God and man and when we allow the cross to work in our life, it may mean death to us, but it will result in life to others. We become that intersection between God and man, as we are willing to identify with the cross of Christ. The benefits of that identification are often not seen in the present, but we have assurance that they are rewarded in eternity.
As I start and go about my day, my first order of business is to minister before the Lord. As I am able to touch Him in that time of fellowship, He touches me as well. Then as I go into my world and my exchange is with other people, I can see them through eyes of Jesus to see what is their real need and Lord, how can you enable me to be a part in meeting that need? Maybe that need is just an encouraging word, a compliment, a smile, opening a door, offering to be the one who serves or facilitates for others. The ways we live it out are numerous, but we will not do what is not in our hearts to do. More than anything we should want the will and the do of our hearts to be in His good pleasure and what is pleasing to the Lord. Who are we looking out for today, is it just I or is it our neighbor as well? “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.”