|Posted on February 22, 2020 at 4:40 PM|
Has anyone ever told you you are not saved because you are wearing pants? Or, if you don't spend the majority of your time in church, you are not saved? Or, have you heard it said you are not saved because you wear lipstick or don't wear lipstick. Lastly one, you are not saved if you wear dreadlocks? Fact checks the Word of God. What did Jesus say? What does the Word of God say? Know the relativity to the time that it is written. Know ancient bibical history and how it relates to you. Is it out of context with the Word of God? There is a difference between church traditions, policies, laws, protocols, and standards that differ from denomination to denomination within the body of Christ. To help us out, let's look at Bible doctrine versus the doctrine of men. One is a matter of a man's opinions and thinking, and the other is a matter of God's spoken Word and His soveriegnty. When a person has an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ, they will not be the same. There is a transformation that takes place in the heart, and a new person emerges. In the process of spiritual growth, there are fundumental procedures that must take place in their life. The beginning process is to intitiate the building of the foundation to one's faith in Christ. But before we go further, let's think about these things further. Let's think about the use of words and the imagery that can arise from the use of certain ones.
Some words in the English language when spoken trigger unpleasant responses in us when we hear them spoken, here are a few words and phrases as an example. No. Listen. Wait. Don't. Stop. Look. Be Quite. Don't take things personal. Don't be so sensitive. There are some words and phrases in the church world that will have the same effect and make the flesh show up and show out. Words like No. Listen. Wait. Holiness. Sanctify yourselves. Money. Kneel before the Lord. Lift up your hands to the Lord. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord. Be to church on time. It's time to pray. The church is going on a fast. Study your Word. Give God your best and many more.
The word "doctrine" is such a word, and it triggers unpleasant emotional responses to the church world and secular world alike. When some of us hear the word doctrine, it brings up imagery and childhood memories concerning standards, policies, laws, protocols, church laws, church history, or church traditions from a given denomination or nondenominational church. For some of us the thought of this word sends us into a tailspin of childhood rebellion. All because we did not understand what the word meant or because we were confused with church standards, polices, or protocol and not ever getting the true foundation of the Word of God within us, as our first foundation. If I haven't said it, doctrine means teaching or instruction of the content of what is taught.
In the church world, doctrine is good order, unity, and discipline, as well as keeping structure and lines of authority in the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:8-16). God is not the author of confusion because confusion creates schism (1 Corinthians 12;25; 14:33;1Corinthians 14:26, 40; Romans 16:17). Doctrine is necessary to maintain standards, polices, laws, protocol and the teachings within the church to govern it, operate it, and to bring operational administrative and minsterial functions within the body.
However, we must keep in mind that teachings/doctrines of man can become flawed by the fallen nature of mankind, regardless of how good our intentions are. The doctrine/teachings of man is just that, it is man-made. And as man changes, his culture, thoughts, heart, laws, standards, policies, protocols, and traditions, so too will the doctrine of man. Therefore, our doctrine must not be based upon opinions or culture of men but upon the Word of God. Everyone has an opinion in the body of Christ, however our opinions does not override the Word of God. Every denomination has tradition, standards, polices, and church laws that are different and sound and works good to each persuasion, however those persuasions does not override the Word of God.
When thougths of negative emotional imagery from childhood comes up at the sound of the word "doctrine," ask yourself this question. Is what I am hearing referring to the Word of God doctrine or man's doctrine within the church? If it is man's doctrine within a certain denominational persuasion, I shall study and search to understand the teachings of the denomination. When I have understanding, I shall make an informed decision concerning my faith and the teachings. Understaning both views is important for ones growth, for salvation and kingdom living. The Bible and its teachings should always be our first foundation. Standards, polices, church laws, protocols, rules, programs, and church traditions are just that, teachings of men that are necessary for us in the church.
With that said, it is of the utmost that our doctrine is in the Word of God. The Word of God is everlasting, and it never changes. The Word of God is God's Word. His Word declares that He will never change. It is eternal and God is eternal, because He is Sovereign God over all creation in heaven and the earth.
When we as believers anchor our lives in the Word of God, we can have confidence that we will never be lead astray. The word "doctrine" is nothing to be afraid of. It merely means the teachings of. In our case as believers in Christ, it is the teachings of God, the Bible, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Angles, Demons, Man, Sin, Salvation, The Church, Last Things, and Water Baptism all based and taught from the Holy Bible, God's written Word.
As we are the temple of God, our foundation must actively be connected to Him and the Word of God. Man's doctrine/teaching must be compatible and balanced with the foundational truth of the Word of God, the plumbline of life. But if the former is offline with the latter, the previous doctrine is not worth keeping it in your life. The teachings of man are essential and needed within the daily confines of operation, functions, order, and discipline within the church. Jesus said that the traditions of the Elder do not overrule the Word of God. Man's doctrine must not be esteemed higher than the eternal Word of God.
The teachings of the Word of God are paramount in our development and relationship with God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Let's not get the two confused, the doctrine of God and the doctrine of man. They both are essential, but man's teachings must never be evelated over God's truth and Word.
So saints of God, be sure of the teachings you allow to come into your mind and heart. Be clear on whether they are from God or man. The intricately woven teachings of the Word should be throughout our whole being. So, when the trial of life tests us, and when society's laws change, we will not be deceived and lead astray by the doctrine of man. Therefore, know the two different branches of doctrines of your church. One is the foundation of the Bible, and the other is the teachings of man. Remember, one is eternal, and God and the other is temporal and man.
|Posted on August 10, 2018 at 11:30 PM|
Women are the most amazing people on planet earth! When we put our minds to it, there isn't anything we can't do. In spite of the many obstacles that come against us, we overcome them. Whether married or single, women are out in the world conquering and finding their place in it and being all who God created them to be. Women seek to reach their highest potential in the home, the workplace, the marketplace, schools, universities, government, medical institutions, and even the body of Christ. Women can accomplish anything!
Did you know that three fourth of a church's congregation is filled with women? I have, and I have wondered why is it so? I read an article from Psychology Today that asked the same question "Why Are Women More Religious Than Men?" After reading the article, they were not sure either. They sited many reasons why and what researchers concluded, but none of them could agree. It was stated that it is a complex issue. It could be a combination of lack of power and privilege. Because of the lack thereof for women, men usually control more money, political and social power. It also stated that men generally have more freedom in most society than women and greater ability to decide what work to do, where to live, how to get and manage money. In most societies, women are thus more vulnerable than men...financially, legally, domestically, etc. Also, it could have to do with socialization, and patterned roles for men and women in society. Lastly, it could have to do with who traditionally works inside/outside of work. Whatever the case maybe, women seek God and attend church more than men.
My thoughts on the issue, I believe women's hearts are more receptive to the presence of God because they are more sensitive to the things of the Spirit. They are more sensitive to seek to receive forgiveness, while men tend to chase after their careers, things of the world, and the ambition for power and riches keeping them out of the church. Women carry a heavier burden for the family to nurture and provide an example of moral and spiritual example. The church is the place where women can receive religious education and given opportunities for their spiritual gifts in Christ. They can be used to excel, than in the workplace. Sometimes the church is the only place women can get help and their needs met. Many times, it is the only place women can get their needs met and find financial, mental, and spiritual support. It is a place of belonging.
In the church many things have changed over the years concerning the issues of women, especially those in ministry. Women serve in leadership positions, administrative positions, pastoral positions, teacher positions, evangelists, prophets, apostles, missionaries, and intercessors. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ made these changes possible. He has always showed concern and care for women, even in times when cultures throughout history did not look favorable upon women. Because of Jesus, He made right that which was did wrong by a woman in the Garden of Eden. She sinned out of deception by the Serpent. She chose to eat from the "Tree of Good and Evil" because she was deceived. It was a woman at the Samaritan well Jesus told that He was the Messiah that scriptures in the Old Testament wrote about. He put women back in right standing with God. And to prove so, He gave her the first look upon the Risen Savior and gave her the first evangelistic assignment; go tell the men He has risen. And because of what Jesus did for humanity, women was not deceived but did as He had asked her. She was obedient to hear, to do, and to speak without adding or taking away the words of Christ.
As we are approaching the end of time, God has called men, women, and children to preach and teach the Word of God throughout the world. There is either male or female in the kingdom of God. Be encouraged and keep your focus on the Lord Jesus Christ and the mission He has given you to complete. I heard it once said that you are an original; don't die a copy. There is no sexism, or racism, or chauvinism, or separation of men and women in the kingdom of God. Nor is their any respecter of persons in the heart of God. What God has given you, no one can take it from you. The anointing in your life will speak for itself. In the mind of God, Heaven is the place for all true believers.
As we all strive to be more like Jesus and lived as He did, the separation of men and women is not our reality in the earth fully. But until that time, I want to encourage women in ministry to do everything as unto the Lord and do all in the name of Jesus; there is no respecter of person in Christ. The Lord shall reward you for your faithfulness and anything you endure in ministry as women because of being created females. Hold your head up and keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ. Learn to protect your heart and watch what you allow to enter your mind and ears. And especially watch what you put before your eyes. You are precious and priceless to the work in the Kingdom of God among men. Great shall be your reward.
Colossians 3:12-17: Verse 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
|Posted on July 1, 2018 at 7:20 PM|
I know you are busy and have a lot on your mind. And I know you are busy running the universe and your kingdom and all that. But I was just wondering if you would take a few moments for me and read my letter. You know, it is not too popular now a day to write letters. Today letter writing is obsolete, and you can barely get people to purchase a stamp for a letter. But I figured you would understand and read my letter because you wrote sixty-six books to us called the Bible. You told us how you felt and shared with us your commandments. Your letters were designed to help us govern ourselves according to your standards, right? And they are so that we may live peaceful lives with each other and stay in right standing with you. Is that correct? So... it is okay to express myself to you in letters, right? Well... I was just sitting around and observing my surroundings. And I noticed that people don't seem to care anymore about each other or care anymore about you. Now, I am not the best person on the planet, but I am concerned about humanity as a whole. It is my thought that we are all inter- connected; therefore, what one does effects what the other does.
What is really puzzling me is that, you created us as one race of people, that is the human race. I mean... what happened to the human race? We all have the same organs and blood types and are the same underneath our different skin colors types. We are all made from the same genotypes, not as animals or plant life.
And by the way, thank you for creating so many different variations of shades of skin colors, though we are all the same underneath. You know, the world would be a boring world if everyone were a green shade. Not that I don't like green because it is one of my favorite colors. But what I am saying is, "I am glad you are God and not us." You revealed who you are and your nature when you created humans by creating different ethnic groups, nationalities, and by using many different shades of colors. You are a God of innumerable possibilities. I concluded that you like and think well of diversity. Thank you for your creative nature and the way you diversified people who live in the earth. However, unlike you, we are limited in our thinking and accepting of others. Not to mention how... Well never mind... God. I got off track, which will be for another letter.
As I was saying, I am very concerned about what is going on with us as human beings. We have convinced ourselves that we no longer need you. So we have created a false reality to live within and pat ourselves on one another’s backs that we are doing good. What gives...? Since we have obtained knowledge to help create things and invent all kinds of technology, we no longer have time for you.
We have our smart phone, and smart watches, and smart televisions, and smart homes, and smart cars to tell us we are our own masters. But we don't know how to communicate with one another when sitting at a dinner table or standing in line, or waiting in an office without focusing our eyes to our devices to shut each other out of our world. Our devises hypnotized us; at least that's what it looks like to me. And because it is all about me mindset, I can't help but to think about what the last words in the Book of Judges says, "Every man did what was right in their own eyes because there was no king in those days." We have become our own kings and listens to no one. We are on our own paths and do what we think. After all, we are our own kings. God, I believe history has repeated itself in our modern time. We have changed the landscape of our town and cities that it doesn't look like the landscapes we once knew, but we are the same as those in the Book of Judges were. We are without God as king in our hearts.
I read some where in history that at one time we use to seek you. We use to pray to you and our greatest treasure was the Bible. Families would gather around the kitchen tables to read it and pray together. We would, as a people, travel miles to attend our local church to hear the preached Word of God. Our whole lives revolved around our churches. God, somewhere in time, as we saw ourselves as independent beings, we took our eyes off of you and more onto ourselves. We said we no longer needed you or your laws to govern our hearts, which keep order in our lands. We said in our hearts we can save ourselves, and we are our own masters. So we are worshiping our accomplishments and ourselves. We now have armies, governments, and money. We entertain ourselves with our inventions and pleasures.
God, there are some of us who still love you and serve you. We are doing the best we can to care for one another regardless of race, skin color, nationality, education, or social economic status. We are binding up the wounds of the hurting and wounded. And God, even though we don't go to church every Sunday, we still read and get delight from your Word daily. We have learned to humble ourselves through fasting and praying. God, we do our best to fellowship with one another and pray together to encourage each other. We sing together and are reminded that we are your ambassadors wherever we go. We share our faith and tell of your goodness to all who will listen. We huddle in small buildings, our homes, and in secluded places to pray. God, we get discouraged sometimes. And the way gets difficult but we are convinced, you are the way to eternal life.
Well, you get the picture God. You know God... we are in some serious trouble! Lord God, even the earth itself is crying out against us. It violently trembles against us. Heaven is our witness against us for all we have done against each other and against you. We can destroy the whole earth with our nuclear weapons. We are at war with each other in our nation. We are biting and devouring one another. We are picking fights with people half way across the world and stirring up all kinds of trouble with other nations, even those who were once our friends. We divide ourselves because of our skin colors. We are proud. We are greedy. We are liars and deceiving each other. We hate without cause. We have no compassion for the poor or widows. We steal when we want. We kill when we want. We lie on each other and for each other. We destroy our children. Mankind has redesigned just about everything you have given us to fit our own pleasures and desires. We believe we are invincible. But, we are hopeless without you.
God, we don't know how to fix us. We desperately need your help again. I know it is no secret to you, but we can't fix ourselves. We are broken. We are destroying ourselves. The things you fixed for us in times passed, we have torn it all down. I know you see our hearts and the sickness of sin that is within us. When we removed the boundaries of your laws from among us, evil came in and over took us. We don't know how to get evil back into the box and out of our lands.
God, we have really messed ourselves up. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Our minds are blackened and our hearts are seared. Remember us Lord. Remember us again and have mercy on the human race. Our pride is too far-gone. Our flesh controls our thinking and actions; we don't know how to humble ourselves. And even if we did, our pride wouldn't allow us to do so. Our pride reign and ruler over us permanently, we need your help. Our flesh seeks to live and not die; we need your help again. Help us Lord because we don't know how to help ourselves. However, if you deliver us, we shall be saved. Remember your tender mercies and save us again from ourselves. Heal our hearts and heal our lands. Thank you for reading my letter and caring God. Hoping to hear from you soon.
|Posted on June 10, 2018 at 10:30 PM|
Proverbs 1:5 - A wise [man] will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.
Psalms 145:4 - One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
1 Peter 5:5-7 - Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
Psalms 71:18 - Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto [this] generation, [and] thy power to every one [that] is to come.
Every Tuesday I take a trip out to our senior citizens' nursing home to fellowship and teach our weekly Bible study. I am amazed at the number of men and women that have lived their lives serving God in the nursing home. There are more women at this nursing home than men. I thank God for these men and women as they allow me to be apart of their lives and the wisdom they are imparting to me. Many of the seniors have sharp minds, although their bodies are not functioning as it once was. So to the utmost, I show them respect and remember my training.
In my interaction with them, I found myself in the presence of quite a few centenarians. Being among them, I felt like a small child just learning about life. I thought to myself, “I may have a little educational knowledge, but they have a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and experience. So take note of their wisdom and learn.” They have seen the world change from simplicity to complicated, such as the first telephone invention to cellular phone, computer, and the Internet.
Seniors saints have seen life come and go. And pretty soon as I visit with them year by year, they come and go also. However, I can’t but think though some are gone, yet they are still here with me because I carry their memories. Their memories have become my memories; we are woven together. My tapestry of life looks different than when I didn’t know them. They are the keys to our future. I am grateful.
Sometimes the senior saints share with me their life stories. They share their love ones memories that have gone on before them. I am amazed at the number of women that are still with us today who are centenarians; they have longevity of life. Many of them had been married for sixty years or more. They had no sad stories to tell; they had only good memories of their spouses. I loved watching their eyes light up when they shared memories of their spouses. When I asked one lady the secret to having a successful long marriage, she said, “Don’t give up on it. Forgive one another, and learn to laugh with each other. Remember, we all have struggles and make mistakes, nobody is perfect.”
Many of them were and are farmers wives, teachers, store clerks, factor workers, domestic laborers, housewives and pastor's wives. The men in the nursing home were famers, construction workers, plumbers, pastors, road evangelists, veterans, bankers, teachers, opera singers and musicians, what a wealth of experiences and talents.
They all had one thing in common besides living in the same nursing home; it was their love for Christ and the love of the old hymns. So you guessed it! When I go to visit with them, we always sing hymn after hymn. No matter how immobile their bodies may be or how some make not remember me from week to week, they always remember the old hymns, word for word when the singing begins. It is so refreshing to see them when I come to visit them; usually they are always sleeping in their wheelchairs. But when the singing of the old hymns begins, they come to life and began to sing to the glory of the Lord.
Now this is remarkable to me because, I have to have the songbook to remember the verses of the old hymns. But they have no problems remembering the verses. What a testament to their training and commitment to God. In the nursing home, they come from many different denominations of the Christian faith. But they all love Christ and have served him in some way or capacity in the church. When we are there, we are bound together by the love of Christ, the hearing of the written word, the singing, and Christian companionship. How sweet it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity and the fellowship of Christ. Beautiful!
What a joy they are to us! Because I love hearing their take on life, I often asked them, " What is the secret to their long life?" No matter which one I ask the question, they usually tell me it is the good Lord's business. Or another might tell me they don't know why God allowed them to stay so long on the earth, but they are grateful, and they have had a good life.
Usually I asked them one more question on my visits, "What is the most important lesson you want to give me about life?" They said to love God, treat people like you want to be treated, love your spouse, love your family, and invest time and interest in friendships. In the end, family and friends is what really matters. Life is short, so may the most out of it.
We do get around to our Bible study after the fellowship, prayer, and singing. The Bible study is the crescendo of the visit. Senior saints are our future and not our past. They hold the keys to places we are going as young people. They've already been tried, tested, and proven faithful to Christ. They know the paths of life we are traveling, because they have traveled them over and over again. They have been there before. They know the signs, the twists and the turns on the road. The not so obvious markings on this road of life they know how to navigate them. Because of their knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, they are familiar with the unknown not seen with our natural eyes or the senses. So, pull up a chair! Go visit those in the nursing homes. Listen and learn. What once was is and what is was.
|Posted on May 3, 2018 at 7:55 PM|
1 Corinthians 9:24-27: 24-Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
What motives you to do the things you do daily? Is it your children? Is it to get an education to escape poverty and improve the standard of living for your family? Is it to escape political or religious persecution? Or is it a dream to do better as your personal goals? Whatever your reasons are, the thing that drives us to do what we do are usually self determined and personal. Sometimes in life, self determination and personal convictions are not enough to deliver us the prize of life we so strive to obtain. They become as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes says, "Vanity of vanities." In other words, empty ambitions and an unfulfilled heart.
Motivation is the reason or reasons a person has for acting or behaving in a particular way. Motivation is the enthusiasm, drive, ambition, initiative, and determination that will drive a person to do just about anything to accomplish the goal. But it can diminish over time when it is faced with the trials and hardships of life; this is why we need discipline. Metaphorically, motivation can be like some friends, they are with you when everything is going well, when you are riding on mountain top experiences. But when you start going through the valleys of life, motivation, like some friends, can't be found.
In life's walk as an individual, these attributes are essential in the natural world, but in the world of Christ, to complete the race of life in Christ you need spiritual discipline. Discipline is like that friend who is with you through thick and thin. When you find discipline and discipline finds you, you have a teammate for life. Discipline will always take you where motivation won't. Discipline will be the last man standing with you. Discipline will be with you through the hard places and the tough places of life. Discipline will keep you when you are not thinking or even feeling like it. Discipline is the friend that cheer you on and paces your steps in life, like a tough sports coach. He is your trainer and restrainer. He pushes you mentally beyond what you thought you could do. He knows you and your temperament and how to produce the maximum output for your course of life. Discipline teaches us endurance and perseverance; for without this friend we would give up and not persist. When you find disciple, keep him and he will keep you.
As a leader of God's people, it is essential that we master the art of disciplining our bodies, minds, and spirits before we are fit to lead and train others. Since we all strive to be lead of by the Spirit and walk in the Spirit, it is our responsibility to position ourselves for the training of the Lord. He has the master plans for developing our spiritual muscles, mindset, and spiritual strategic growth plan to arrive at our place of purpose and destiny.
The Need For Self-Discipline.
There will be times in your walk in Christ you will not be motivated to pray, read your Bible, fast, or attend church. You will feel like giving up. Nevertheless, because you are disciplined to read, study your Bible daily, and fast and pray it will be the very anchor that will not allow you to drift and keep your soul in Christ. Life can come at you so hard that you don't have time to think, but you do what you have been trained and disciplined to do automatically. Have a lifestyle of prayer and fasting. Have a lifestyle of reading, studying, and knowing your Bible daily. Spend time with God and tune your ears to listen to His voice daily. They have disciplined you for the challenges of life in Christ Jesus. When you are disciplined in the things and ways of God, discipline will take you where motivation won't go.
Psalm 5:3- My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
Isaiah 26:9-With my soul have I desired you in the night. Yes, with my spirit within me will I seek you earnestly; for when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
What's Your Life Scripture? Everyone should have foundational scriptures from the Word of God that are apart of their making from salvation to their present spiritual development. What is the constant scripture or scriptures in your life the Lord has given you directly or indirectly through others? We all have them. They are life theme scriptures the Lord uses to encourage us to hold on and not lose faith in Him. They can move from one theme to another depending on what area God is working on in your life. These are the main threads of scripture that are being woven throughout the tapestry of our lives creating us into the image of Christ. Whatever the case maybe, I encourage you to endure the discipline of the Lord and the rigorous paces He puts you through to develop the character of Christ by bringing discipline in your spiritual lives. Remember, when motivation fails you, discipline will not.
Here are a few life scriptures listed below:
1 Corinthians 15:58-Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Don't Get Weary In Well Doing:
Galatians 6:9-And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Know That God Is Faithful:
Hebrews 6:10-For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
God's Grace Is Enough:
2 Corinthians 12:9-And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, the the power of Christ may rest upon me.
God's Mercy Is Everlasting:
Ephesians 2:4-But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.
You Can Endure Hardness:
1 Timothy 2:3-Therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Trust The Lord Totally:
Proverbs 3:5-6-Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Cast Down All Imaginations:
2 Corinthians 10:5-Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Running With Horesmen:
Jeremiah 15:2 - If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?
Waiting On The Lord:
Isaish 40:31-But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Fight The Good Fight:
2 Timothy 4:7-8 - I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
|Posted on April 26, 2018 at 8:00 PM|
Have you noticed how when God gives you a plan, and tell you to go out and do great exploit with it, that as soon as you go out to do good, evil always shows up in the midst of the plans? Why is that? When you first get started, you are excited that you heard the voice of the Lord speaking to you! In your excitement, you think, "Not only is He speaking to me, but He has ask me to go do something for the kingdom!" You pray, fast, make the preparations, collecting the materials, and obtain finances to complete the work. However, no sooner than this is done, evil shows us and rains on your parade. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. (ESV)
Here are a few more examples: The person who said they would do the job of marketing a project for your church or company quits without any notice. Wow. What's going on you think to yourself? Look at it, finances which took over a year to save now has to be ear marked for another project that came out of no where! There goes that budget. And lastly, when you thought it couldn't get any worse, a major crisis hits your family or your marriage. In times like these, you just want to scream or crawl under the covers of your bed and never come out! We have all been there. I know I have! I thank God for Jesus Christ our Lord!
Discouragement is a killer of the soul! It is a killer of dreams, visions, purpose, and destiny! Discouragement is a major weapon that Satan uses to hinder, delay and destroy the works of God within the believer, as they purpose to bear their cross and live as a disciple of Christ. Not only is discouragement used against the believer, it is also used against church and Christian ministries. What does one do when discouragement comes into our lives? How do we overcome it and rise up from it? Here are a few encouraging words to overcome discouragement that will build your faith and get you back on your feet in no time.
First, it is ok to question why you are feeling discouraged, especially when it has debilitated your personal walk in Christ or the work of the ministry in the church. Looking at the lives of the saints in the Old Testament, we can take comfort and learn from their experiences and revelations for God. We learn they too have gone through similar troubles and trials as we have. We learn also avenues of discouragement comes through avenues of our families, life's circumstances, or with ourselves. Peter was discouraged with himself after he denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed. He discovered he wasn't as courageous as he proclaimed in the presence Jesus and the other disciples before Jesus' arrest. He repented for his sins. Later, after the resurrection of Christ, he became a great apostle of Jesus Christ and builders of the Church.
Secondly, Be honest with yourself and the Lord God. God knows our hearts and sees all that we think or do. Read Jeremiah 17:9. He knows the motives of our hearts even before we know them. As we grow in grace, He wants us to know what's really in our hearts, whether we will obey or disobey His will for our lives. Read Deuteronomy 8:2. With that spoken, He also requires that we humble ourselves and comes to His throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace and help in the time of need. Because of His great love and His Son Jesus Christ, we have that liberty in Him. Read Hebrews 4:16.
Thirdly, Take care of your body. All of us need rest for our bodies and mental rest for our minds. There are many examples in the Bible of over worked servants of God. One of my favorite examples is the prophet Elijah. He was so over worked and tired that he asked God to let him die. Remember this, after a great victory, temptations come to war against your soul, in an effort to cause you to fall into a pit of despair. When Elijah rested, ate, and took care of his body, he was restored and got a new assignment for God. Get some rest. Read 1 Kings 18 & 19.
Fourthly, pay attention to your thought life. Be very selected what you receive in your eye gate and the ear gate of your soul. What a man thinks, so he is. If we put garbage into our minds, we can expect garbage to come out when we speak. Be very wise what you allow people to put into your heart and mind. Much of what is spoken can be spiritual and emotional trash, be watchful. Read Proverbs 4:23; Philippians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 10:5. And take out the garbage, for out of your heart flows the issues of life. Guard it.
Fifthly, train yourself to see both ways. Yes there is an earthly side but there also a spiritual side to truth. Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-18.
Sixth, press closer to God. The Lord is good, a stronghold in the time of trouble. The prophet Nahum experienced these troubling times and when he did, he drew nearer to God as his strong tower. Read Psalm 27.
Finally, give thanks. Not because it is a pleasant experience you are enduring, but because God is Sovereign over your life, and He is working it for your good. Read Romans 8:28. From past experiences walking with Him, you know He's gotten you through once, and He will do it again and again! God is Sovereign and in control. Know Him and His nature. Know Him. When you do, knowing Him becomes a peaceful revelation throughout your soul. When you know that you know that He's got this too, peace stabilizes the soul and removes all fears. He's got this! He's got you! Remember, God will never leave you nor abandon you. He is good and His mercy endures forever. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18. This is your come back season, arise, move in the strength, and the glory of His might! You are more than a conqueror! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! Selah.
|Posted on April 26, 2018 at 7:30 PM|
Its time for a fresh start! Sometimes you have to let go of old dreams to accomplish new ones. However, it is easie r said than done. By nature, letting go of the old can be a difficult process in life. Lets face it, we like things to stay the same as we know it. We like being comfortable in our familiar ways, patterns, behaviors, thinking, and the way we relate to each other. If you are like the most of us, you don't like change. However, change comes to all whether we like it or not. I was young once but now I am old. What happened? Change came to me and I wasn't even looking for it. One thing I've learned about change, it comes when you lest expect it. And when you are expecting it, it seems as if it doesn't come. Life is very peculiar and once you think you have gotten it figured out, it changes on you yet again. So what am I saying? I am saying don't get to comfortable with the life you have or the situation you are living. In due season, it will all changes. Just keep smiling and praising the Lord, He's got it all under control! You won't go under. When the Apostle Peter stepped out of the boat in the Sea of Galilee to follow the commands of the Lord Jesus, he went from comfort, safety, and familiarity to uncertain as it changed quickly. Jesus was his sure and constant certainty. His presence stabilizied his fears of drowning in the sea, and Peter adjusted to the changes. Wow, that took faith, courage, and trust in the Lord. It was the type of response that cause sweat to roll off your forehead. When change comes, it forces us to get out of the boat and walk on the water at the command of the Lord. Change is good when it is bought about by the direction of the Lord God.
Some of you right now are in this same dilemma, where God has allowed change to enter your life and you are thinking and feeling like you are going to drown in the new changes. Let me encourage you, the Lord has not bought you this far to let you go under. You are on a new level in your walk with Christ. And for those in ministry, you too are in a new place. The old has past and now the new has come, embrace the new things, places, people, and ministry opportunities the Lord God has for you.
Did you know that living a life in Christ is about constant growth from one level to the next? Jesus asked the questioned by saying, "You wouldn't put new wine in old wineskin would you?" He said the old wineskin would burst open while the new wine was fermenting in the old wineskin.
The old wineskin has already stretched as far as it can stretch. It is now old and leathery and doesn't possess the elasticity it once had. Therefore, if you put new wine in and old wineskin, the fermentation of the new wine process would rip open the inflexible old skin and the new wine would be lost as it spills to the ground. New wine would require new wineskin. So that as the fermenting of the new wine process in the new skin, the skin will expand as the wine ages, without ripping the skin. The new wine matures as the new skin matures together. Ask the Lord to give you a new mind and renew a right spirit in you. Read Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:21-22 and Luke 5:33-39.
Like old and new wineskin, our hearts and minds are similar. To receive new vision requires that you have a new mindset. It requires that we put off the old and put on the new vision. If we keep the same mindset, feelings, fears, or erroneous teachings, there will not be room for the new vision. If we do not ask for forgiveness of sins of the spirit and flesh, there will be no room for the new. It would only contaminate the new. The old would not allow the new to expand to its full maturity and purpose. That's why I say old things have passed and new have come because we shed away old things and allow new things to come into our lives.
How do you let go of the old? When do you know when its time to let go of old dream? You let go when it not working anymore. You know when to let go when you see change enter in your life you can't stop. Change disguises itself as a mistake, wrong done to you, persecution, suffering, or even blessings and honors. But when it comes, it launches you to the next level with the momentum to keep you there. There is no going back. And the desirse to go back, because of uncomfortable feelings, it will dissipate. Don't be afraid of your feelings; they will fall in line with your confessed faith in the Lord and the new changes. God has just given you a new normal.
What do you do? You keep moving forward. For sure, once we can accept that change is constant in seasons of our lives, it is easier to embrace. And it becomes a reminder and comfort to us that no matter what we are going through, change will come again and God is in the change! It is so much more comforting when we go through the changes of life with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a very present help in the time of need. Read Psalm 46:1. Let go of the old and embrace the new, it is not a sign of giving up. It is a sign of trusting the Lord and not leaning to your own understanding. Embracing changes requires faith to see, and a heart to believe, and courage to act on what you believe. Step out of your boat. Allow God to give a new fresh vision and pour a new anointing into a new heart and renewed mind in Christ. It is time for a fresh start! It is time to let go of the old dreams, embrace the new ones, and move forward accomplishing the new one! Don't look back!
|Posted on April 22, 2015 at 11:15 PM|
My husband and I were driving home from Wednesday Night Bible Study when he turned from our usual route of going home and drove to the post office to drop a letter in the outside drive up mail box. Located across from the post office, there was a church positioned there. As he was putting the mail in the box, I noticed the message on the church's message board located in the parking lot. The board had the name of their church and the thought for today on it. The question was asked "When Did The Narrow Road Become Wide?" It made me think, "When did it become wide?" As I thought on the question, I began to reflect on the many problems, issues, and headline news of our time. Some believe the Bible is not relevant to the issues and problems of today. Some believe that God has changed to accommodate the modern problems of society, and its political, and religious cultures. Even some in our churches, they too have taken on the same attitudes, and ways of secular, and worldly thinking. Some teaches that, God understand us and accepts our sin, and says the church should be more concerned with accepting everybody as they are. And as a church, we should approve of whatever the majority of society and cultural shifts that has taken place within our modern time, that we may more effectively minister to the growing needs of the human race.
But then I thought, who is the target audience for the message? Is it for the Christian reader, churchgoer, the backslider, or the world? I believe because it was a church it was intended for all who would read it. We are now in a season of reflecting and soul searching. Are we living up to the will of God's Word? Are we doing His will for our lives? Are we taking sides with the world, different cultures, religious views, societal attitudes as Disciples of Christ? Only God can give us clear revelations to what's in our own hearts. His Word says in the Book of Jeremiah that the heart is deceitful and wicked. Who can know it? There are some that believes that there is no God. There are some who believes there is a God but doesn't want Him in their personal lives or decision making until their is a crisis; then, they call upon him to serve and to save them by answering their prayers. Nevertheless, there is a God who created mankind and is the God of all creation. So, what was this church's message trying to say to us? It is making reference to a scripture text from the Book of Matthew 7:13-20. Jesus is the speaker and teacher to an audience of followers. It was the closing section of the Sermon on the Mount in which He presents two choices to the listener. He presented them in a series of contrasts in His teachings at the end of this chapter (two ways vv. 13-14; two trees vv. 15-20; two professions vv. 21-23; and two foundations vv. 24-29). His audience was both Jewish and Greco-Roman thought. Since His Word never changes and is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8, it is for us in our modern time as well. Entering in at the narrow gate means, one must enter in through Jesus Christ in order to reach the path that leads to eternal life. Though many are walking and living on a broad path that leads to destruction (eternal separation from God), the gate and the way that leads to life is so narrow that few there are that find it. Jesus Christ is the gate and the way (John 14:6), and God enables man to find that gate (John 6:44).
I could not help but to think of how relevant these scriptures were in relations to the church environment today. Those who once walk on the narrow road of Christ in the church are now walking comfortable on the wide road with the rest of the world. The sign on the road and the lines that define boundaries between narrow and wide, righteous and unrighteous, lawful and unlawful to many in the body of Christ have become blurred by the surrounding cultural and societal attitudes, views, and religious syncretism (the combination of different forms of belief or practice).
When reading the rest of the Scriptures, it makes reference and gives warnings to the believer about false prophets and that the believer will know them by their fruits. The Scripture engage the believer to think by requiring the reader to do a comparison of different fruits and the fruit on the tree it is to produce. The question was asked if you go out to gather grapes and they have thorns on them would you notice? The question is, "Are they grapes? And if you go out to gather figs and they have thistles, are they figs? In order to know the truth, the believer must know what a real grape and fig looks like to make clear a thought on the comparison. By knowing the identity of a true grape or fig, it will give one a better judgment to make the conclusion they are neither grapes nor figs. The lesson is to know your fruits.
Another comparison the Scripture makes is between a good tree and a corrupt tree, it goes on to say a good tree brings forth good fruit (results) and a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit (results). The Scripture wants to assure us that a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits and neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. The end result of the false prophet is they will be cut down and cast into the fire. The last word of wisdom from the Scripture is that we shall know the false prophet by their fruits. For the believer today the Scripture is saying to us we shall know the false believers, teachers, saints, pastors, prophets, and apostles by their fruits. No one can hide their fruits because it is what is exhibited on the outside like the fruits on a tree. What's inside a person you cannot see, but you can see their fruits. But as the Word declares, "Wherefore by their fruit ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:20)
This is very clear in Scripture and the aim of Christ's teachings to the listener, however, the questioned was asked, "When has the narrow road become wide?" From the viewpoint of the Scripture, it has not. From the viewpoint of the world, it must. From the viewpoint of false teachers of the Gospel, it has and God is all right with it. And lastly, from the viewpoint of some Christians and even some churches, it has become wide to accommodate the changing views of society, culture, and our nation's laws (Read 1John 1:18-21). And it also has become wide not to offend anyone, whether believer or nonbeliever. If I got down to listing a number of weighty issues within our churches, society, culture, and the political scene, it would not bring glory to God at all. However, I will say redefining institutions like what's a church and it's purpose, the family, marriage, government, and unrighteousness will not change the outcome of man's heart. Also redefining what is evil and not evil based on the consensus of the majority of ones population, or governmental influences will not either. By redefining laws in the highest courts in the land will not make these foundational institutions of man righteous or just when they were not created or established by man. In the eyes and will of the one who gave man these foundational institutions and established them for man, God will never approved of them. God is the author. He is a holy God. He is the one mankind seeks to justify his actions and thinking of redefining the foundation to fix their growing appetite for approval of sins. The thing that man desires and searches for as they live in their sins, is that God would approve of their unrighteous acts and sins. If this were the case, there would had been no need for Christ to come as one of us, suffer, become poor for our sake, and die a horrible death on the Cross for our sins.
This is the goal of those who believe that the narrow road has become wide, it is so that God and The Church will accept their sins. Christ's teachings and the will of God has not changed. His Word for churches, believers, disciples, and those in ministry is to live a lifestyle of holiness, separated lives before God and men that we may be a witness of God's holiness. We shall be a witness of His saving grace, love, mercies, and separated life unto Him. Be not deceived by those in societies, or cultures, or governments, or laws, or nations, or religions, or even churches gone astray among you. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The standards of righteousness, holiness and sanctification have not changed in the will or eyes of God. It is He we should seek to please and obey. The Word of God has not changed to accommodate our sins or our ways. In the end, He will judge all who says or live otherwise. Jesus warned the listener of the false prophet and else where in the Scripture it speaks of false teachers, pastors, and apostles. He told us how to identify them by teaching in comparison, like the thought provoking question he asked the listener "Does a good tree brings forth evil fruit? Does a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit? Does men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? There is a time and a season for all things. It is now a time for the believer to compare the fruits of a tree whether it be good or evil (Read 1John 3:7).
The first inspection must start with our own trees. Is it bearing the fruits/results of God's righteousness or our own unrighteousness? God's Word said that there is a way that seems right unto man, but the way there is leads to death (Proverbs 16:25). Have the narrow path you are on become board and there are many people on this path with you? If so, you have veered onto the board path. Wake up; you are sleep walking. Get back on the path that leads to life through Jesus Christ, the narrow path. One will not find too many people on this path, and there are no fan clubs on it. It's not an easy path, but it the right path with great benefits here on earth as it in in heaven eternal. Jesus all ready told us the world will not like us or knows us. In fact, they will hate us without cause because we are not of them. He told us these things so that when it starts happening to you, you will know it's happening because of Him. As they did the Master, so they will do to the servant (Read John 13:15-17,24; 15:18-22). If this road of righteous living is a little too much than what you bargained for, consider the alternative, dying a second death eternally. Lets keep our eyes on Jesus and follow Him; we are to not live as the world (Read 1John 1:15-17). Has cultural and societal acceptance of behaviors, attitudes, and practices caused you to veer off the narrow road to the wide road? There is a simple solution now that you know you are on the wide road. Turn and get back on the narrow road and don't look back. It will cost you to do so. But you can do it with the help of the Holy Spirit. If as a believer you did not know, here is the solution, 1 John 1:9. Please read it. If you never were on the narrow path, it is never too late, as long as you are in the land of the living. Give your life to Jesus Christ, and ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and ask Him to come live in your heart. When you do, you will receive eternal life with your name written in the Lamb's Book of Life in Heaven. You will become a new creature in Him, old things have passed and new things have come. Please, hear the Spirit of God as He speaks to your heart and ask Him to come in and give you new life. After death, the judgment of God is set concerning an individual. The choice is yours; please choose wisely. It is a matter of life and death. Selah.
Matthew 7:13-14: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.
Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are revening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Written by Supervisor Cheryl J. Rountree