DOUBT DOESN’T LIMIT GOD, IT LIMITS US…(40-Second Lesson)

Doubt does not limit God. It limits us…

Psalm 78:40-41(NKJV)

How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,

And grieved Him in the desert!
41 Yes, again and again they tempted God,
And limited the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember His power:
The day when He redeemed them from the enemy,

James 1:6-7 (NKJV)

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. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Don’t just have faith…live it!

WHEN YOU THINK THE GOOD YOU DO IS DOING YOU NO GOOD…

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Serving God, especially through serving one another, can sometimes be thankless, unappreciated and quite frankly seem unrewarding.

Most of the good that we do may go unnoticed. This can be hard when your sacrifice your time, your money…even your reputation for the sake of God’s kingdom.

If we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves in our human moments regretting the good that we do or done, especially when we see those who could care less about God prospering and even mocking believers. Or, we see those who are looking at God as a genie in a bottle brag about their prosperity is due to their faithfulness, so what’s wrong with you.

God allows us the space to have brief human moments, and even ask Him as we would our parents…

“Why?”

“How Long?”

“Why me?”

“Why us?”

“Why do THEY deserve such good ‘fortune’?”

Notice what Psalm 73:12-14 says…

Behold, these are the ungodly,

Who are always at ease;
They increase in riches.
13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
And washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued,
And chastened every morning.

 The Psalmist laments saying in so many words, “Have I repented for nothing?” “I’m still troubled all the time!”

God knows we are flesh…dust…human and will feel weak sometimes (Psalm 103:14, Matthew 26:1)

 But, pay close attention to how strong Psalm 73 finishes. We are reminded that God will eventually deal with the ungodly. The Psalmist then repents and then…


TURNS HIS PITY PARTY INTO A PRAISE PARTY…


Psalm 73:18-28 (NKJV)

 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
They are utterly consumed with terrors.
20 As a dream when one awakes,
So, Lord, when You awake,
You shall despise their image.

21 Thus my heart was grieved,
And I was vexed in my mind.
22 was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
24 You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
26 My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish;
You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
That I may declare all Your works.

When you feel discouraged about the good you do, let me encourage you with the word of God…

Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

 

 

WHAT WOULD GOD HAVE YOU DO IN THIS SHORT SCENARIO…

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You’re walking to lunch, and you have just enough cash to purchase your own lunch. Let’s assume:

You’re living paycheck to paycheck…

You have no more cash…

Payday is still three days away,

But, you do have plenty of food at home.

As you approach the restaurant a homeless man asks you not for money, but if you will buy him something to eat…what do you do?


I will let God answer…


Matthew 5:42 (NKJV)

42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

1 John 3:17 (NKJV)

17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

James 2:14-17 (NKJV)

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does itprofit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Matthew 6:(NKJV)
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.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.


Your sacrificed meal can be an answer to someones prayer, and is ALWAYS an example of God’s love.


Remember, if you have enough for today…you’re rich. 

BE BLESSTIFIED!

PRAYER IS STILL IN SCHOOLS…

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I often hear people lament that one of the reasons our public school systems have declined and are declining is because we have allowed prayer to be taken out of schools. I humbly submit to you today that if YOU’RE PRAYING AT HOME, PRAYER IS STILL IN SCHOOLS.

I wonder how many of the people who complain about prayer being taken out of schools actually teach their children to pray, pray with their children or have family prayer at home. God gave parents the responsibility to instill the  appreciation for prayer in their children,  promote a culture of prayer in the home, and let them know they can talk to God anywhere.

Deuteronomy 6:7 (ESV)

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)

Train up a child in the way he should go;

    even when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

We must teach our children that God isn’t limited to where you pray! The church prayed for Peter in Acts 12 and God released him.

Acts 12:5-17 (ESV)

So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison.

 The church didn’t have to GO to the prison to pray for Peter. God is omnipresent, everywhere at the same time.

 

When you pray WITH your child and FOR your child, God is with him, her or them IN the school. Consider this…if you allow prayer in schools, you have to allow ALL prayer. What if your child’s teacher isn’t Christian, and your child is subjected to the prayers of another religion?

Dear friends, don’t just pray individually, but I encourage you to make sure you’re having family prayer at home.

Spouses begin your day together on prayer.

Pray as a family.

Continue to pray for schools in your churches.

Pray for schools even if you don’t have children in school because good schools affect all of us. There is much power in praying TOGETHER…

Matthew 18:19-20)

19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

MOST IMPORTANTLY…if your children know how to PRAY FOR THEMSELVES AT SCHOOL…prayer is still and will always be in schools.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

DOES GOD SING?

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Does God sing?

I think He does.

He sung me a lullaby to sleep last night.

I heard His gentle voice in the rain as it tapped on my window.

He carried a beautiful tune as the wind whistled through the trees.

The bass in His voice was crisp and clear as the thunder shook the earth.

He sung all night long, waking me to the same song.

What’s His genre?

His Soul music fills the Country, as the wind Rocks and thunder Rolls…chasing away our Blues with a divine Rhythm.

Does God sing?

The robins I used to hear when I was a child are long gone, but those I hear today still sing the same song….that’s the consistently of God.

Does God sing?

I think He does.

We just have to learn to appreciate His music.

Psalm 29:1-4 (NKJV)

Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The Lord is over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

WOULD YOU RESPECT YOURSELF, IF YOU WERE SOMEONE ELSE?

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If you knew…

Some of the things your Pastor thought you wouldn’t want to hear another sermon…

Some of the things the politician you respect most did, you wouldn’t vote again…

Some of the nasty things your doctor has done, you wouldn’t want him or her touching you again…

Some of the things your spouse thought you wouldn’t trust them again…

No matter who we are or what we do, we are all FAR from perfect.

Before you judge someone unworthy of your respect and love…

How much would YOU respect YOU, if YOUR secrets EVERYONE knew?

Romans 3:22-25 (NKJV)

 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all[a] who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

FOR THE DAYS YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE BEING ENCOURAGED…

wp-1486753160891.jpgAs I ran an errand today, the person behind the counter was very rude to me. I tried to lighten the mood, but they weren’t having it. I told them I was just trying to make them smile, and they said, “I smile all the time!” ….Uhhhhh, but they weren’t smiling. I don’t know, maybe this person was going through something.


We all have those days…you know, days that we don’t even want to be bothered with encouraging words! Right?


Some days you don’t want to hear, “It’s going to get better!”

Some days you don’t want to hear, “It won’t always be like this!”

Some days you don’t want to hear, “This too will pass…”

Some days you don’t want to hear, “It’s gonna be alright!”

Some days, you just don’t want to hear it…even when you believe it…you just aren’t in the mood!

We all get frustrated and aggregated sometimes…

People will get on our nerves and try our patience…

People will be rude and disrespectful to us…

Sometimes we will have every right to be upset…

Our challenge as Christians is to respond in the SPIRIT OF LOVE. We can’t allow the worst in people, or situations to bring the worst out in us.

As Galatians 6:1 says we are to restore others in the spirit of meekness.

We are to be humble, long-suffering and patient. Yes, there will be times that we are to be assertive, but we are to remain in God’s character and love in that assertiveness.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 says it best…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs”.

Even if you don’t want to hear this today, put it in your pocket for later…

We must remember that even in our frustration, we always represent God, and it’s our responsibility to always operate in His love.

BE BLESSTIFIED!!!

LET’S TALK ABOUT SLAVERY IN THE BIBLE…

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THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM (OR CHURCH)

It’s impossible to ignore the presence of slavery in the bible. Many people wonder if slavery is evil, then why is it in the bible, both Old and Testaments. To fully explain this concept would take a series of lessons, which I do intend to publish soon, as I get time to responsibly put them together. I will however give you a brief answer for general understanding.

First and foremost, we in the 21st Century have the tendency to view things only from a 21st Century perspective, but God exists outside of time and relates to us holistically throughout time, beyond time and the cultures we have created. God deals with us from and through the lens of HIS prospective. We must look at the many aspects of servitude throughout history.

IT’S CLEAR AMERICAN SLAVERY WAS EVIL

Slavery and servitude have existed in numerous cultures, in many forms throughout history. Yes, slavery as it was in America was evil. In fact, God strictly forbade kidnapping people and selling them into slavery…(Exodus 21:16)… 16 “He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death). It’s clear God forbade this and it was punishable by death. So, how do you explain Exodus 21 that outlines regulations for Hebrews who choose to buy a slave? Or how do you explain Ephesians 6:5-9? (5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him)

As for Exodus 21, these were not SLAVES; the word is more properly translated servants. These people were not enslaved for life. They were indentured servants, who served a period of seven years and were then to be set free, unless he or she chose to stay with his or her ‘master’. Now, as crazy as this may seem to us in the 21st Century, in ancient times there was no government support as we have in the recent past. Social structure and societal roles were strictly set in many cultures. If a family was poor or destitute, then it would most likely stay that way for generations. To some, servitude was a means of supporting families and sometimes preventing homelessness and starvation. If you read Exodus 21, there was no separation of families as took place in the southern United States. You will also notice in Deuteronomy 15:12-18 that God commanded that servants were not to be sent away empty-handed. This was a means for families to be lifted up from poverty and being destitute, unless they CHOSE to stay. This was not the equivalent to American slavery. (Deuteronomy 15:12-18) 12 “If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you.13 And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed.14 You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress. As the Lord your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today. 16 But if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he is well off with you, 17 then you shall take an awl, and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your slave forever. And to your female slave you shall do the same. 18 It shall not seem hard to you when you let him go free from you, for at half the cost of a hired worker he has served you six years. So the Lord your God will bless you in all that you do.

There is however another aspect of slavery, the evil aspect. Sometimes during war, people would be captured and subjugated. And, yes sometimes people were and are kidnapped and sold into slavery. Remember, God allowed His own chosen people to be slaves in Egypt for 400 years. Remember in Exodus God said He hardened Pharaoh’s heart so He wouldn’t listen to Moses? (Exodus 9:12 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had spoken to Moses.) This was for the purpose that God could show His power to the Egyptians and for our example. In Isaiah 10:5-6 God tells how He used Assyria, a heathen nation, to punish His own people. (5 Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury!) 6 Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder,). Remember that God allowed His people to be taken captive by the Babylonians, that at the time of Jesus Israel was under Roman rule and in A.D. 70 they destroyed Jerusalem. Remember also that God used the Romans, a pagan, non-believing nation, to crucify His only Son. Throughout the Old Testament, even though war is evil, God used to discipline His people, and as judgment on unbelievers…for our example.

GOD USES GOOD AND EVIL FOR HIS PURPOSE

My point is this…both good and evil exists in this world, and God used both good and evil for His ultimate purpose. It’s obvious God won’t use good people to do evil, so He even uses evil people to discipline, and execute judgment on both His people and unbelievers. Afterward, the evil people will be judged. It’s not that they’re cursed, as Jesus said in John 3:18 says they are already condemned due to they’re own unbelief. Notice in Isaiah 10 that God says even though He used Assyria as a rod of correction against His people, he will still punish them for their evil that were predisposed to do anyway.

The fact is that God often used the existence and reality of something as evil as slavery to discipline His people or judge unbelievers. In regard to Ephesians 6:5-9, God made provision for His people’s behavior if they happened to be servants. His Godly character and holiness must be maintained in all situations…good and bad.

Notice this, any group enslaved never remained enslaved. God always heard their cry and set them free…hopefully to show His power to the oppressor and love to the oppressed.

Also notice in the book of Philemon, that God encouraged his friend Onesimus to return to his ‘master’, but He also encouraged Philemon to do the right thing and set him free upon his return.

SO WHY DID MOSES INCLUDE IT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?

One more thing is worth your consideration. In Matthew 19, the Pharisees confronted Jesus, asking Him is it lawful for a man to divorce His wife. Notice Jesus’ response in the NKJV… “4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Isn’t interesting that even though the book of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 permits divorce, Jesus makes it clear that just because Moses put it in the law during that dispensation of history, that it was never God’s will. Malachi 2:16 confirms this in saying that God hates divorce. This slight departure from the topic is to prove that just like slavery, just because there was provision made in the law, doesn’t mean that God condones it in it’s most evil form. Remember the ‘servants’ in the New Testament were indentured, and Paul urged Philemon to release Onisemus was he returned. It’s possible that Onisemus decided to stay beyond his seven years…no one knows.

THERE’S MUCH MORE TO SAY…

This is definitely not an exhaustive summary of all the verses concerning slavery, and there’s still much more to be said, but I think it will give you an idea of the concept in the bible. I know there are many who will not agree with this analysis, which acknowledges the reality, of servitude, as well as harmonizes, Old and New Testaments. I welcome comments and thoughts. You may expand upon the content of this article, or express why you disagree. I only ask that all comments are positive and respectful.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

GOD IS STILL GOD OF YOUR SITUATION…

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No matter how bad, dark or desperate…

Whether it be your fault or not…

Even it’s life or death…

No matter how hopeless it seems right now…

Your situation is not bigger than God…

He’s bigger than anyone or anything that is causing you trouble.


God is still the God of your situation!


He still is the only one who can change your situation.

Trust Him!

BE BLESSTIFIED!

Psalm 27 (NKJV)

The Lord is my light and my salvation;

Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

 

 

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