The strongest men and women strive for PEACE. Now more than ever, it is critical that we have LEADERS of every race who are led by God.
Leaders who are led by and lead by LOVE and GODLY WISDOM.
How can you tell who to trust?
Only trust leaders that seek PEACE, COMMON GROUND and most of all LOVE. Those who are led by SPIRIT and not FLESH. Trust those who aren’t easily provoked and don’t provoke others to wrath. Those who can manage their emotions, and don’t manipulate the emotions and fears of others. Those who strive to build on what we have in common, rather than use our differences to tear us apart.
We need leaders who look for solutions rather than finding fault. Leaders who call for accountability and responsibility, rather than recklessly placing blame.
In Jeremiah 3:15, God promises…15 “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
God Himself in said in Isaiah 1:18, “Come let us reason together”…let’s settle the matter.
GODLY leaders promote UNDERSTANDING and not MISUNDERSTANDING. Godly leaders realize the key to conflict resolution is finding common ground. Be careful who you listen to, be careful who you follow…make sure they are following God and LEADING IN LOVE.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Many times we encourage one another by saying, “You can do anything you set your mind to do, as long as you have faith.” Yes, it’s true that through God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26), because God can do anything He chooses through anyone He chooses. But some the things that you want to do, even for God, it may not be His will for YOU to do them.
You may have a desire to have a virgin birth, and yes with God it’s possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s His will for you to do it.
David had a desire to build a house for God, but God told Him it was His will for his son Solomon to build it… 1 Chronicles 22:7-8
7 And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the Lord my God; 8 but the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight.
It is our responsibility to find out what God’s will is for us and the things He would have us do…but how do you know?
Ephesians 5:12 tells us to “find out what’s acceptable to the Lord.”
Proverbs 3:4-5 tells us Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Be sensitive to His Spirit and where He is leading you. In Acts 16 the Holy Spirit forbade the apostles from going some places that desired to go preach.
“6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spiritdid not permit them.”
God has a will and purpose for each of His children, and we must pray for wisdom, understanding, discernment and revelation for God to show us those things He would have us to do.
I pray in the name of Christ that God reveals to you your purpose and your path.
10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
I love how the angel of the Lord replied to the John in Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9...Twice as the Apostle John received awesome Revelations from God, he tried to bow down and worship the angel of God, but the angel immediately stopped John and told him, 1. “I am of your brethren…2. Worship God!
I love that!
So many times when God uses great men and women to share His word and love people will try to worship them.
Yes, the bible says we should honor and respect those who bring the word, but there’s a difference in respecting and worshiping.
Some people have even come to expect people to worship them, especially after God has shown HIS POWER THROUGH THEM.
If an angel of God can humble himself, then so should we. We should NEVER give any man or woman MORE respect than we give God.
Sometimes, I’ve found people to try and hide their liquor when I would come around, or I’ve found them to curse with every other word until they found out I was a preacher, then they would change while I was around. I quickly tell them, “I appreciate the respect, but before I arrived God was here and, He will still be here when I leave. Don’t respect me more than you respect God!” People who stop drinking, doing drugs, cursing or whatever when the “preacher” comes around must remember that God is always there, and that every time they do it, they do it in His presence.
Let us always respect one another, but never more than we respect God.
Yesterday I was thirsty and craving for a soda (a good strong fountain Coke) all day long. I had water readily available and it would not only quench my thirst, but it is exactly what my body needed. But, I didn’t drink what I NEEDED because my body is CRAVING a soda…what I didn’t need. The soda is filled with sugar and acid, and it has absolutely no nutritional value to my body. In fact, I most of the time I’m still thirsty after I finish a soda. It only satisfies WHILE I’m drinking it and I usually finish a soda craving another…but the water will satisfy quench my thirst and satisfy my body’s NEED.
How many times do we do the same thing spiritually. In John 6, after Jesus had fed over 5000 people many followed Jesus, but they weren’t seeking Him for HIM, they were seeking Him because he fed them…he satisfied a their flesh.
In John 6:26-27 Jesus tells them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not favor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you , because God the Father has set His seal on Him”.
What they NEEDED was right before them, but they looked beyond what they NEEDED for what they WANTED. Not only do we sometimes choose what we WANT over what we NEED, but we sometimes even chose what’s BAD for us rather than what’s GOOD for us. We chose spiritual SODA over WATER. Read all of John 6 again for context.
Jesus promises to give us what SATISFIES our spirit rather than our flesh. Jesus promises ETERNAL refreshment rather than temporal. Watch what your CRAVINGS…make sure your craving spiritual WATER instead of SODA. Remember…#EternalLifeMatters
It’s interesting when people judge you through the lens of their perspective….when they judge what YOU do based on what motivates THEM. Be careful when you say, “They just did that because…”. Be careful when you judge what’s in someone else’s heart.
Calling out sin is not judging. Saying it’s wrong to steal, for example, isn’t judging. Condemning someone for it IS judging. Saying someone did it because _______ is judging. Telling someone lying is sin isn’t judging. Saying someone is lying when you don’t know the whole story is judging. Have you ever been accused of lying when you weren’t?
Have you accused someone of lying later to find out they weren’t?
Remember Matthew 7:1…”Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you”
In regard to judging, also consider this… Yes homosexuality is wrong and and an abomination, that’s why I stand firmly against gay marriage. Romans 1:24-27 makes it clear..but later in the chapter (29-32), God also makes it clear that there are other sins that are equally displeasing to Him. Romans 2:1-4 further clarifies that when you judge someone of one, you are worthy of judgement of the sin(s) that you commit. I encourage you to study the sins listed in Romans 29-32 and see which ones you may be guilty of.
Romans 1:21-32. Romans 2:1-4 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 2:1-4 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
What has God placed on your mind that you killed before it got started?
Whatever ministry, good works, kindness or purpose God gives to you, it begins with a simple thought that He places in your mind.
1 Corinthians 2:16b boldly informs us that “We have the mind of Christ”.
How awesome is that?
When we are led by God, and walking in His Spirit, He GIVES us HIS thoughts! How else could a preacher give a relevant word? How else can any child of God minister, unless he or she have the mind of Christ? Anytime you feel compelled to do good, to do the right thing…begins with a thought from God.
And, the enemy’s goal is to KILL those Godly thoughts.
Yes the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy, but not necessarily kill your life…
He wants to kill your purpose…
Steal your vision and…
Destroy your witness and reputation…
Even ruin your family!
DON’T LET THE DEVIL POISON YOUR THOUGHT LIFE!
Don’t let evil thoughts turn into evil deeds. Every act of sin begins with a thought.
Remember Philippians 4:8, “8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
TOUGH LOVE. We want to make sure we aren’t ENABLING their dysfunction. We can’t let the dysfunction and evil of some bring us down with them…can’t let their issues infect our home. Many times we’ll say, you have to let some people hit ROCK BOTTOM as the PRODIGAL SON (Luke 15:11-32) did and COME TO THEMSELVES. But we must pray for wisdom and discernment and realize that the ROCK BOTTOM scenario may be a case-by-case basis.
Some people are STRONGER IN THEIR WEAKNESSES than others. For every PRODIGAL who CAME TO THEMSELVES, there are also those who never did.
ROCK BOTTOM didn’t shock them to their senses.
ROCK BOTTOM wasn’t a wake up call.
ROCK BOTTOM didn’t turn them around.
Everyone may not be equipped to handle ROCK BOTTOM.
Do you know anyone who died out there in their HOG PEN?
We must pray for wisdom and discernment when dealing with our challenged loved ones. Sometimes we have loved ones who are good people with a good heart, but they just can’t get it together. Sometimes we have loved ones that have been so HURT by the world, that it may have critically damaged their abilities to cope. We must ask for God’s guidance in which ones we must LET GO, and which we must BEAR THE INFIRMITIES and FAILINGS of the WEAK.
A son became estranged to his single father. The father worked many hours to take care of his son and daughter and was either unable or too tired to spend the time with them that he would have liked to. The son resented his father and felt the he was never there, but the daughter understood. Both children went on to accomplish great things because of their father’s sacrifice.
The son would often give credit to everyone along the way who helped him but never his father. The daughter not only honored their father, but would often plead with her brother to be reconciled him. The grandchildren also went on to accomplish great things. The grandfather would watch on television as his son and grandchildren were often recognized for all they did. The son nor his children ever visited the father, but he still had joy in his heart as he looked on all they had done.
One day the daughter told the dad she regretted how her brother treats him, and she wouldn’t give up until they were reconciled. She also asked him how he had such peace. He told her that he appreciates her, and that he gets enough joy from her love for the both of them. He then said just because his son doesn’t acknowledge my sacrifice or love doesn’t take away the fact that everything he’s accomplished was because of him. It doesn’t take away the fact that his son or his son’s children all came from him. The father said, “Would I love relationship and acknowledgment ? Of course! But I have peace that I did right by the responsibility God gave me, if my son chooses not to give me love, honor or acknowledgment, is between him and God…I’m at peace.”
Jesus shows His love to those who don’t appreciate His sacrifice, acknowledge Him, love Him or honor Him. He allows the sun to shine on the just and unjust. That’s why the bible says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”(Psalm 107:2)
It’s our responsibility and should be our joy to tell the world how much we appreciate the Lord Jesus, and let the everyone know what He’s done for us and them. Just as the daughter made it her mission to make sure her brother was reconciled with their father, that’s what God expects us to do with His children who don’t acknowledge Him…
2 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
John 1:35 states that two of John the Baptist’s disciples left him to follow Jesus. John the Baptist wasn’t bitter towards Jesus or the disciples who left him because he knew his role and Jesus’ role. Unfortunately some preachers, pastors, ministers, evangelist, teachers and Christians etc. see themselves as rivals, in an unspoken and sometimes spoken competition for followers or people. They even sometimes have circles of friends that are at odds with other circles.
This is not a competition.
We are all on SUPPOSED to be on the same team.
Even within a church family ministers, deacons, choir members and members can find themselves at odds…in silly political battle for position. This is all a distraction from the enemy.The devil doesn’t mind us going to church if he can keep us distracted with foolishness.
There’s no reason for anyone to be threatened or jealous of anyone else’s anointing, position, calling or mission – God needs the people on His team to work together.
God made promises to us throughout His word. Sometimes when life gets heavy, or seems unfair, it’s the promises of God that keep us going…if we truly value them.
Do we care about the promise of salvation and eternal life?
Do we care that He promised to return?
Do we care that He promised to provide our NEEDS?
I know there are many who say that religion is a creation of man to control the masses, and in some cases that is true. But, I’m not talking about religion. I’m talking about a true relationship with God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Yeshua). When you really love Him for who He is, you trust Him no matter what’s going on in your life.
I’ve listed a few promises that God made to us below. I know this isn’t every promise that He has given us. Feel free to respond with a promise of God that encourages you. I’m not talking about the promise that He has ‘spoken into your spirit’. I’m talking about a promise that God made in His word that encourages you. Please share it…it may encourage someone else.
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Job 9:27 (NKJV) If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will put off my sad face and wear a smile,’
“Just smile!”, we often say…But it’s not always that simple.
I don’t think Jesus was smiling in the garden when He asked the Father, “if you are willing, take this cup from me”…but He may have when He said, “nevertheless, not my will buy thine be done”(Luke 22:42) …
I’m sure Jesus wasn’t smiling when getting nailed in the hands and feet, or when He said my, “God, My God why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)…
But, He may have lovingly when He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
So, be kind today when you see someone smile because smiles don’t always come easily. You never know what pain, frustration and disappointment a smile had to force its way through.
Because even though you see a smile, the struggle is still there.
Even though you see a smile, pain may be hiding right behind it.
Greet someone’s smile, with a smile…it will bless your heart and theirs as well.
When things are slowing you down, maybe God’s giving you an exercise in patience….
When things are bringing you down, maybe God’s giving you an exercise in humility…
When people are letting you down, maybe God’s giving you an exercise in trusting Him.
Even when things seem to be working against you, RELAX and be comfortable in the fact and PROMISE that, if you are called according to and walking in God’s purpose, everything is working TOGETHER for your good.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
John 12:27 (NKJV) “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But FOR THIS PURPOSE I came to this hour.
There is nothing more powerful than a person who is certain of his or her purpose, and relentlessly working towards it. But, I hear so many people say,
“I don’t know my purpose!
“How do I know I’m walking in my purpose?”
It is clear that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ knew His purpose. How else could His human side endure the humiliation, shame and pain of the cross. Every word He spoke, every miracle He performed…led to the cross.
John the Baptist’s declaration that, “He must increase and I must decrease” in John 3:30 implies that he knew his purpose as well. Of course we were all created to glorify God our creator (Isaiah 43:7), if you are a parent, it is God’s will that you be a good parent and bring up your children in the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
But, what about the thing(s) we were born to do that no one else can do?
How can we discover that?
Here’s a simple way to help you find out your purpose(s) that God has for your life. I call it the BEBLESSTIFIED.COMTHREE P’S of PURPOSE.
Your Position Your Passion Your Pain
This us exactly what it implies. Jesus was born a Jew, and His purpose was to save Israel first then the world from their sins. Acts13:36 states, “For David, after he served his own generation by the will of God fell asleep…”. It is no coincidence that you were born into your specific time, family, socio-economic status, race, culture etc. It was no coincidence that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born into his particular family in the south in 1929 to set him up for his purpose in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Yes he was a husband and father, but his purpose went beyond that. Somewhere in your position, you find your purpose.
In Matthew 25, the Parable of the Talents, Jesus explains how He gives us all talents and has expectations of each of us according to our ability. What are you good at naturally and effortlessly. What do you have an aptitude for? What do you enjoy and get satisfaction out of most? What cause tugs on your heart more than any other? This is the key to your gift and more than likely your calling. Are your using your natural abilities only for your self…Your profession or vocation…Or, to help promote the Kingdom of God?
YOUR PAIN Philippians 1:29 reminds us that it has been granted to us to not only to believe in Jesus, but to also suffer for Him. It isn’t fair that Jesus suffer and die for our sins and we have a convenient care-free life. We are to share in His sufferings so we can share in His glory as stated in Romans 8:17. We all have situations, storms, circumstances and assignments that we didn’t ask for. You will notice that very few, if any people in the bible who were used by God signed up for their task. You may have been: betrayed by a loved one, had your heart-broken, had a family member murdered, had your parents die while you were young, lost everything, been accused or imprisoned for something you didn’t do…the list can go on and on. But just as Abraham being told to leave his country and go to a place that God will show him, Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers, Hosea being told to marry a prostitute, or Joseph being told to marry a woman who was already pregnant by the Holy Spirit…your unsolicited pain, storms, trials, sicknesses, disabilities and circumstances sometimes hold the keys to your purpose in God.
So, look at your life from the beginning until now. Look at your POSITION…your PASSION…and yes your PAIN, and find YOUR PURPOSE.
People just want to be happy. They talk about it, sing about it, dream about it. People spend their lives in the pursuit of happiness. They spend their money, forfeit their families, search the WORLD over looking for happiness…looking for favorable circumstances and conditions. Because that’s what happiness is…being jolly, cheerful, merry or carefree because of favorable conditions and even luck. Even the etymology of the word happy implies…. Happy (adj.) late 14c., “lucky, favored by fortune, being in advantageous circumstances, prosperous;” of events, “turning out well,” from hap (n.) “chance, fortune” + -y (2). Sense of “very glad” first recorded late 14) from etymonline.com.
Happiness can be an illusion. Delusional people can appear to be some of the happiest people. Serial killers are happy when they are killing and evading capture. People can be happy while doing wrong depending on the state of their heart. Yes, we can be happy over virtuous things too. Happiness isn’t necessarily bad, but it IS still conditional.
As many of you have heard before, joy is not conditional. Happiness is an emotion, but joy is a state of mind. It’s not just a state of mind, but a state of the spirit. Joy, not happiness, is a Fruit of the Spirit, evidence of God’s Spirit and an aspect of His character.
Galatians 5:22-23New King James Version (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
In John 15: 11, Jesus tells us that its His desire that His joy remain in us so that our joy may be full.
John 15:11New King James Version (NKJV)
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
This kind of joy the world CAN’T give. The joy of the Lord can abide through hardship, heartbreak, tribulation, storms and adversity…no one is happy in any of these circumstances. But joy can abide and produce peace through it all. Hebrews 12:2 says Jesus endured the pain and shame of the cross because of the joy set before him.
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Happiness disappears when joy flourishes. People search the world for happiness, they chase it….but you don’t have chase joy, because God gives it, and when you have God through Christ Jesus…you don’t have to chase it…it finds you.
Proverbs 24:3 (NKJV) “Through wisdom a house IS BUILT, And by understanding it is established;”
One sign that a city is growing and vibrant are cranes in the sky…not birds, but machines that move heavy objects to erect new buildings reaching the SUN. A city without cranes may be stagnant in growth. It may be going down, or even just holding it’s own, but to be competitive, cities must grow.
Are than cranes in your spiritual life?
Are you moving heavy objects (burdens) in your life?
Are you reaching for the ‘SON’?
Are there clear signs of your growth?
What are the signs?
More passion for God, His word, His Kingdom and His fellowship. Fruit…good fruit is a sign of growth. Are you planting good seeds in good soil. Are people either coming to Christ or growing in their relationship with Christ because you?
Are you growing…stronger?
Weaker? Or just holding your own?
Make sure you always have some CRANES in your spiritual life.
Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t take you out every time you fail? Are you glad that God keeps on blessing you even after you have tried, but fallen short. We should never take His grace and mercy for granted.
God told Abraham that he through him all the nations of the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). God told him that He and his wife would have a son in his old age. God told all of this as Abraham and his wife approached 100 years old. The fact is, that when they were told both Abraham and Sarah laughed (Genesis 17:17, 18:12). It took around 25 years between Abraham’s call and his son Isaac’s birth. Even though you can read about all of this in Genesis in the course of an afternoon, those days and nights were as long as ours today. But, Abraham believed God and God honored that faith…
Genesis 15:6 (ESV)
6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness
God honors our faith today too. How many times have you really tried to do better, struggled with overcoming doubt and still fell short? The fact that it made you feel bad shows you have real relationship with God. Think about it. You felt bad even if no one else knew you fell short, because you disappointed God. We let me encourage you by reminding you that God made us and He knows us. He knows we are flesh…
Psalm 78:32-39 (NKJV)
32 In spite of this they still sinned, And did not believe in His wondrous works. 33 Therefore their days He consumed in futility, And their years in fear. 34 When He slew them, then they sought Him; And they returned and sought earnestly for God. 35 Then they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer. 36 Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouth, And they lied to Him with their tongue; 37 For their heart was not steadfast with Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant. 38 But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, And did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, And did not stir up all His wrath; 39 FOR HE REMEMBERED THAT THEY WERE BUT FLESH, A breath that passes away and does not come again.
Just like when Jesus’ disciples were with Him in the garden before His betrayal,and they fell asleep, He recognized that they were still WITH Him, even though He knew they would scatter. God understands your heart. He understands that when your spirit is willing, sometimes your flesh gets weak…
Matthew 26:40-41 (NKJV)
40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter,“What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
We must always remember to be as understanding as Jesus in our relationships with one another. Sometimes we find ourselves only celebrating success and accomplishments. But, just as God honors our faith, while encouraging growth, WE SHOULD ALSO APPRECIATE TRUE AND SINCERE EFFORT. This is what encourages us to keep on trying.
I recently heard two successful businessmen, on separate occasions, ‘joke’ about being away from home so much. They both eluded to fact that their families are actually glad when they ARE NOT at home, and dread seeing them return. It reminded me of someone confessing to me years ago that some days, they wished their spouse would have a fatal accident on the way home…they have a strong happy marriage today though.
Family life, whether it’s just two, but especially if there’s several people in the house can be challenging. No matter what’s going on, what energy to you bring into the house…positive or negative?
Everyone brings negativity and dysfunction SOMETIMES, but at TIMES it’s SOME more than others. It can cause people who genuinely love one another to dread seeing each other.
Dad or mom may be grumpy…for whatever reason…
Husband or wife neglecting responsibilities…
The children may be unappreciative or feel neglected…
The siblings may feel one is favored over the other…
Someone in the family responding too harshly…
The daily challenges of work, school and life may be brought home…
Arguments might end without apologies or closure…
Unspoken grievances and complaints with one another fester…
Personal flaws, faults and idiosyncrasies cause harsh feelings towards one another.
For whatever reason, good or bad, justified or unjustified…sometimes each of us can be very hard to live with. Sometimes we ALL can make home life unpleasant. It can become a vicious cycle of responses to behavior that no one even remembers where it started.
This is why sometimes people may either say, or quietly think to themselves, Wow! It sure is more peaceful in the house when ________________ isn’t at home!
Love (just like God’s unselfish, sacrificial love) is the glue that holds families together, and love is always most powerful as a VERB rather than a NOUN.
Real love isn’t just when we are laughing, joking and treasuring one another, but when we are stretching one another’s patience to the limit. When we dread confronting one another, when we are at odds, but still want to be around one another. Real love is being the one who can stop the vicious cycle of reactions to bad behavior with good behavior.
God has solutions in His word to help encourage peace and harmony in the home, and he leaves all of us responsible and accountable. Here are a few scriptures that I have pulled that should relate to everyone…of course this is not exhaustive. There are many more scriptures and accounts in the bible to teach us how to have peace in the house and enjoy one another. Read the verses, if anything applies to you, do your part to keep peace in your house, and remember that 1 Peter 4:8 teaches us, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS”. And, that 1 Corinthians 13:8 exhorts that “LOVE NEVER FAILS…”
When our relationships fail, it’s not because love has failed, it’s because we failed love.
1 Peter 3:7
7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them(wives) with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
1 Peter 3:1-2
Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
1 Corinthians 7:2-5
Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
1 Timothy 5:8
8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
I sometimes think about the fact that times I used to call boring I now call relaxing. We need to be careful when we get bored. Boredom is an emotion that can get us in trouble if we aren’t careful. When people get bored, that’s when the devil can get busy.
Remember what happened in 2 Samuel 11 when the kings went out to battle, David sent Joab his servant and all of Israel out to battle, but he stayed behind? One evening while he was ‘relaxing’ on the rooftop, he saw Bathsheba bathing. Her husband, Uriah, was very devoted and loyal to David and he was among those in battle…and the rest is history. The point is that David was relaxing when he should have been doing battle. Now, there’s nothing wrong with relaxing, but there’s a time and a season for for all things (Ecclesiastes 3). There can be some truth to the old saying, “The idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. Boredom is an emotion that allows too much room in our minds for the enemy and temptation too much work.
Some people get bored too easily and need something going on or changing all the time. They hate routine!
Be careful when you get bored too easily with…
Going to church
Studying God’s word
Etc., Etc., Etc…
If we are honest with ourselves, some of our troubles have come from the fact that we got bored. Boredom has led to loss of marriages, families, jobs, homes, cars, credit, friendships etc, BUT…
GOD HAS A CURE FOR BOREDOM.
1. Learn to be CONTENT and SATISFIED in all situations. (Philippians 4:11-13)
2. Let your JOY and PEACE always be in the LORD. ( John14:27, Nehemiah 8:10)
3. If you’re bored, find ways to SERVE GOD BY SERVING OTHERS (Matthew 25:34-40).
There’s always someone who needs you. God gives us opportunities every day to serve Him by fulfilling the physical, emotional and especially spiritual needs of others. Being busy helping those in need as God commanded can be exciting, satisfying, and for thrill seekers, sometimes even dangerous (such as missionary work). There are those who are lonely, with no family who would love your companionship, especially elderly people. There’s plenty of real Kingdom business in our families, on our jobs, in politics, in our churches to cure our periods of boredom. The devil wants us to cure our boredom with foolishness and evil, but that only leads to more boredom and trouble.
There’s nothing wrong with relaxing, and good wholesome fun, but remember WHEN YOU GET BORED…GOD’S GOD A CURE.
A good friend of mine once told me of a youth pastor friend of his who was eating dinner in a casual dining restaurant with a bar. The youth pastor noticed two young men at the bar from his church whom he hadn’t seen in attendance for a few weeks.
He got up from his table and approached the young men and asked them how they were doing.
He made casual conversation, told them he genuinely missed them in church, and thta he looked forward to seeing them the coming weekend…
He then did something unexpected…He then paid for their drinks. Those young men were at church the following week!
That youth pastor didn’t judge, chastise or preach to them…but met them where they were.
In fact, he did what Jesus did in John 2:1-12. At the wedding party, in order to show His power, when the wine ran out, Jesus figuratively ‘bought the drinks’.
In order to bring people to Christ, we must learn to meet people where they are. We must be able to meet them at their level of development.
We can’t be effective for the Lord of we act as though we are above others, because we are all sinners saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8).
We must be humble enough to meet people where they are physically, financially, socioeconomically, emotionally, and spiritually. Be sensitive to the fact that everyone will not be…
as mature as you…
cultured as you…
strong as you…
as wise as you..
…or as spiritual as you.
The benefit of your maturity and strength as that you can meet others at their level to help them grow. Rather than be critical of the behavior of those who are lost, we should pray ask God for wisdom for the best way to make a connection with them. They are merely acting according to their level of development. Rather than be critical of someone who joined your church, but has missed several services, or got mad about something and left, we should ask God for wisdom on how to reach out to them in love, remember they are still immature in their faith.
The apostle Paul said he became all things to all men that he might save some. He didn’t mean he was hanging out with sinners to party with them, but for the sake of the Gospel he met them where they were spiritually, socially and culturally to bring them to Christ.
Be willing to meet people where they are…because that’s where God met you.
1 Corinthians 6:19-23 19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law,[c] that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God,[d] but under law toward Christ, that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”
We must love God for who He is, not what He can do.
Can He heal? Yes!
Can He deliver? Yes!
Can He restore your marriage? Yes!
Can He make a way out of no way? Of course!
But, those aren’t the only reasons we should come to Jesus, or tell people to come to Him. Who wants to be in relationship with someone only because of what you can do for them? We need to make sure that our prayers aren’t only about us, but that we consistently intercede for others.
We even need to be careful of how we teach giving, and why we give. I hear so many people say, “give so you can be blessed”. If that’s your only reason for giving, then that’s giving selfishly. We need to give so we can be a blessing, to fund Kingdom work, and out of obedience, not just so we can be blessed. We must also make sure we aren’t serving God only for personal glory because when we do we already have our reward (Matthew 6:2).
In John 6, the multitude followed Jesus after He fed over 5000, He told them that they followed Him not because of the signs they saw, but because they were filled with food. Jesus told them don’t labor for what is temporary, for what’s eternal. Read this entire powerful chapter (John 6) for context.
When people come to church, pray, serve God or give for what’s temporary, or carnal reasons, one of three things can happen…
God moves on their behalf and they leave…
God doesn’t move fast enough, and they leave…
…or we church people just run them away.
We must come to God and encourage people to come to God for SALVATION and for a real RELATIONSHIP with Him. And, must we must examine ourselves daily to make sure we are in relationship with God because we love Him…that we aren’t just USING Him for what we can get out of Him.
I reaaalllyyy enjoy riding my bicycle. God allowed me to be taken off blood pressure medicine, and biking has helped me control it for the past 5 years. One evening a couple of years ago after I arrived home from the office, I asked my boys if either of them had ridden my bike because it wasn’t in the garage. The garage door had been left open the night before. They both said no sir. About the same time my neighbor was in front of her house, and I noticed that her SUV was not in her driveway. She informed me that some individuals went through our neighborhood checking for ‘soft’ targets…she had left her car unlocked. I went in the house and told my wife, “Well, I will never see that bike again… $600 bucks down the drain.”
I then called the sheriff’s department to report the theft. They sent out an officer and I filled out the report. Less than an hour later I got a call from the sheriff’s department asking me to describe my bike! They found it…Across town…In the back of my neighbor’s SUV! Wow! They said it wasn’t damaged! Look at God!
Three guys from across town worked our neighborhood. Even though my WORDS showed no faith, my ACTIONS of reporting the theft and filling out the report were FAITH IN ACTION. I got my bike back that night, brought to me by an officer who lived in my neighborhood…it was undamaged. My neighbor didn’t get her truck back for over a month, and it had damage.
God used an OBJECT, my bike to give me an OBJECT LESSON in faith.
Jesus teaches us that we can move mountains with our faith in Him…
Matthew 17: 20-21
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
When things seem impossible, never loose your faith. And, please do better than me, let your WORDS agree with your ACTIONS.
#OBJECTLESSON noun a striking practical example of some principle or ideal. “they responded to emergencies in a way that was an object lesson to us all”
Early in His ministry, Jesus was confronted by the enemy as recorded in Matthew 4:1-11, He was confronted/attacked while His FLESH was weakest. He had been fasting for 40 days. The enemy tried to catch Jesus in His flesh’s most vulnerable state. But, even though Jesus’ flesh was weak, His will was strong. Jesus knows us, and He knows our flesh gets weak too, that’s why He encourages us…
“Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the SPIRIT indeed is WILLING, but the FLESH is WEAK”.
Even though Jesus’ flesh was weak, His Spirit and resolve was still willing and strong. Why? Because He fought off the enemy’s attack with the WORD OF GOD. The word of God is our most powerful weapon against the enemy.
2 Corinthians 10:4 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”
Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
As much as so many Americans are preoccupied with and put faith in their GUNS…our greatest attacks aren’t against the FLESH, but SPIRIT. Even those who attack you physically have succumbed to a spiritual attack that led them to result to violence…it started in the Spirit.
That’s why YOU CAN’T BRING A GUN TO A SWORD FIGHT!
Temptation is an attack of the enemy, and Jesus made the devil back down with the word of God in Matthew 4:1-11.
He was tempted with HUNGER (vs 3)…which many have used as an excuse for violence and theft. Jesus’ response…“IT IS WRITTEN, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”. (vs 4)
He was tempted with PRIDE (vs 5,6)…which has led many to violence. Jesus’ response…“AGAIN IT IS WRITTEN, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test”. (vs 7)
He was tempted with POWER (vs 8,9)…which has led many to kill countless people. Jesus’ response…“Be gone Satan! FOR IT IS WRITTEN, you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.” (vs 10).
Verse 11 tells us that the devil fled…Jesus overcame the temptation/attack with the word of God.
EVERYTHING that leads man to violence and gun fire BEGINS with a temptation to the Spirit, but Jesus taught us how to fight before the guns are drawn.
Read Matthew 4 :1-11 again for context. Read 2: Corinthians 10:1-6. Read James 4:7. And read Psalm 33:16 and remember…. YOU CAN’T BRING A GUN TO A SWORD FIGHT!
Jay was quiet…He did his job…He didn’t bother anyone, but when tense situations arose on the job people would notice tears in his eyes. His boss wasn’t a good people person. His management style was very controlling, coercive and lacked empathy.
People would notice that when the boss would get assertive with Jay they would notice a tear in his eye. They would even notice a tear in Jay’s eye when the boss would embarrass his co-workers.
It was no secret that Donald didn’t like Jay. He went around the office talking badly about Jay. He felt that Jay was a ‘crybaby’ and weak. “What kind of man keeps a tear in his eye so much?” He would look at him in disgust as he would tear up as the boss walked away.
One day Donald couldn’t take it anymore. He attacked Jay verbally in front of everyone… “Man what’s wrong with you?!” “What’s up with this crying?” I can’t stand weak men like you…crying all the ti…”
All of the sudden, Jay punched Donald so hard that Donald’s feet came off the ground. Jay knocked Donald ALL-THE-WAY-OUT! Of course, Jay lost his job.
What Donald didn’t know is that Jay was an ex MMA fighter. He was good too. One of the reasons he was so good is that he would use thoughts that made him angry as fuel for his fights. As Donald worked to repress that anger, he would often have tears in his eyes as he fought getting worked up.
Donald caught Jay on the wrong day. Donald didn’t know the story behind the tears in Jay’s eyes.
Be careful when you judge someone as weak. Be sensitive when you see someone with tears in their eyes. You never know the story behind those tears.
The shortest verse in the bible is John 11:35, “Jesus wept”. No one has more restraint than Jesus, to continue to share His love and withhold his wrath in spite of how we sometimes treat Him. Psalms 136 continually says it best… “His mercy endures forever!”
When you see someone with a tear in their eye, if you don’t know what to say, whisper a little prayer for them…think of the stories behind YOUR tears.
“I think I’ll relax and study my bible over a glass of wine”. Uh oh! I’m quite certain that statement made many of my fellow Christians cringe. I’m sure it may push limits of some people’s personal theology…many of my fellow Christians will quickly tell you that you shouldn’t defile the temple of God (and we shouldn’t).
Many of my fellow Christians will piously tell you, “Ohhh no! I don’t drink alcohol”, while at the same time many of the same people consume huge amounts of sugar, fat, sodium, artificial ingredients, smoke, over-the-counter and prescription drugs etc., etc., etc., that they know are harmful to their bodies, or temples of God (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Many Christians who’ve been diagnosed medical conditions knowingly eat foods and drink beverages that even though they aren’t wine, are harmful to their bodies and adversely affect their health…but, they would never be CAUGHT drinking a glass of wine.
Yes, the bible says that we are NOT to “get drunk with wine”…
Ephesians 5:18 (ESV)
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
…getting drunk is a sin and a work of the flesh…
Galatians 5:20-21 (ESV)
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
HOWEVER, there is a huge difference in DRINKING a glass of wine and getting DRUNK with wine.
1 Timothy 5:23 admonishes us that there are health benefits to consuming a LITTLE wine in moderation.
1 Timothy 5:23 English Standard Version (ESV)
23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)
Drinking wine is not a sin, but drinking too much is…
Drinking cola isn’t a sin, but if it’s detrimental to your health, drinking too much is…
Eating candy isn’t a sin, but if it’s detrimental to your health, eating too much is…
Eating is not a sin, but eating too much is…
Philippians 3:19 English Standard Version (ESV)
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
Being at a gathering where there’s wine is not a sin. There was wine at the wedding Jesus attended in Cana recorded in John Chapter 2. It was real wine…not unfermented wine as some try to claim to justify their over zealousness. Wine was a staple in the bible. Jesus was observed consuming wine because they accused Him of being a ‘winebibber’, drunkard and a glutton. (However He did not get drunk)
Matthew 11:19 (ESV)
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
Wine was consumed during the Passover Feast…the fact is that when the wine ran out during the wedding, Jesus ‘bought’ the drinks. Jesus didn’t say, they have wine at that wedding party, so I won’t attend, but that’s exactly what many Christians today would say.
Again, I’m not advocating getting drunk. Getting drunk IS a sin. But I am saying that wine, just like many other food and drinks is okay in moderation, and many Christians who ‘trip’ over drinking a glass of wine consume non-alcoholic foods and beverages into their bodies that are harmful or in quantities that are SINFUL.
Remember what the Apostle Paul said…
1 Corinthians 6:12
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.
1 Corinthians 10:23
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
I must be responsible and tell you that if you have a drinking problem, that it’s BEST THAT YOU CONSUME NO WINE, just as if you have an allergy to peanuts it’s best you CONSUME NO PEANUTS. Also, if your drinking wine makes someone in the faith weaker, it’s best that you don’t drink it in their presence. Read Romans 14:13-23 as Paul explains how we must consider those who are weaker in the faith in things that are permissible for us.
The most important thing for us to remember as Christians is MODERATION – ALL THINGS IN MODERATION.
We must be careful that we don’t wish evil on our enemies or adversaries. Remember that it’s bigger than our disagreement them, or even the fact that they may hate us for no reason. They are God’s creation too. He wants them delivered too. When something bad happens to them, sometimes we find ourselves saying, “Good, that’s what they get!” When we judge in our hearts that they are getting what they deserve, we are setting ourselves up for the same judgment.
Remember Matthew 7:1,2… “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” If you continue reading, Jesus uses strong words here calling us hypocrites when we do this.
Stop and think about the things you have done to hurt someone else. Think about who you may have mistreated.
Think about the fact you’ve given some of your ‘haters’ a good reason to feel ‘some kinda way’ about you. Most of all, think of how you’ve hurt God.
Psalm 103:10 is a good reminder that God doesn’t deal with us as we deserve…. “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.”
We should extend to one another the same grace and mercy that’s given to us. Rather than celebrate your enemy’s misfortune, we should pray that it brings them closer to Our heavenly Father…because ultimately, that’s what God wants.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
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