We all know that no matter how we portray ourselves to the world, God knows what’s really inside our hearts…
1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have [a]refused him. For[b]the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
None of us are perfect. We all have areas in which we need to grow. Sometimes our weaknesses, bad attitudes, selfishness, prejudices, pride etc., are hidden in our hearts from others and even sometimes from ourselves. Our lives are a lifelong process of learning our true selves.
But, God has a way to allow issues, circumstances and even opportunities to arise and reveal what’s really inside us.
How many times have you heard someone proclaim after doing something wrong that they ‘did it for love’?
Some people have even murdered and claimed that they did it for love. It’s even stated in the lyrics to one of Al Green’s most popular songs,”Love and Happiness”…
“Love will make you do wrong”.
Well as much as I enjoy Al Green’s music, I have to say that he was wrong about that.
Just as the enemy wants to pervert everything else holy, he has been oh too successful perverting how we often define or misdefine love – prompting people to justify much of their wrong to ‘doing if for love’.
How do you define love? That’s easy. Here’s my BE BLESSTIFIED definition for love: GOD.
‘God is love’ is more than just a simile. God literally IS pure love…
We must be very careful of the excuses we give why we aren’t doing what God has called us to do.
What do people say when confronted with doing what God expects of them or has called them to do?
Why don’t you go to church?
Let’s go feed the homeless.
Let’s go visit and minister people in prison and hospitals…
Why don’t you give the firstfruits of all your increase to
Usually before we make an excuse, we usually give a big BUT…
“I would, BUT the people in church aren’t right themselves…”
“I would, BUT those homeless people will just spend it on drugs,
cigarettes and alcohol…”
“I would, BUT I can’t afford to…”
“I would, BUT I don’t have time to visit…”
“I would, BUT my kids have sports…”
Yeshua, Christ Jesus, gave us a parable to illustrate how
much He hates our excuses. He let us know how much He hates our BIG BUTS…
Luke 14:18-24 (NKJV)
18 BUT they all with one accord began
to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I
must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I
have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have
me excused.’ 20 Still
another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So that servant came and
reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry,
said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city,
and bring in here the poor and the[a]maimed and the lame
and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you
commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into
the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my
house may be filled. 24 For
I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my
Notice that each of these excuses addressed the same excuses
we give today.
BUSINESS. WORK. CAREER
“I bought a piece of ground…”
“I bought a yoke of oxen…”
SPOUSE. CHILDREN. FAMILY
“I have married a wife…
These excuses made the master of the house (Jesus) angry.
So, He invited the very people who those who were initially invited were called
to serve instead.
He then said those who makes excuses and rejected His
invitation will not ‘taste His supper’ (will not enter His Kingdom).
Jesus hates our excuses! However, the enemy loves our BIG BUTS! He loves our excuses.
Don’t let your BIG BUT keep you out of the Kingdom of God!
Someone did something to hurt you, but felt genuinely sorry. It may have been immediately or it may have been much later, but they did feel bad about what they did, said, didn’t do, or didn’t say. They came to you to offer a sincere apology but…
You weren’t ready to hear it, and you weren’t ready to accept it.
When they said, “I’m sorry.” Have you ever said…
“I don’t want to hear it!”
“I KNOW you’re SORRY!”
“Leave me alone!”
“I’ll never forgive you!”
Did you curse them out?
Did you get loud and try to publicly embarrass them?
Did you you just ignore them. Did you snap back, going through every detail of what happened? Did you throw everything they ever did to hurt you up in their face?
You were still hurt. You were still angry. You were still embarrassed. Your pride got in the way. You were still ‘in your feelings’ about what they did. When someone comes to you to apologize the shift in spiritual responsibility shifts from them to you…
Colossians 3:13 (NKJV)
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.
God expects us to always be ready to forgive just as He is…
Psalm 86:5 (NKJV)
5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You
Sometimes we aren’t ready to let go of our anger, especially if the hurt that was done to us made us feel weak, vulnerable, stupid or naïve. Retaining our anger and withholding forgiveness can actually make us feel stronger and in control.
Here’s the thing. We all know that apologizing is not an easy thing to do. We have to swallow our pride. We have to humble ourselves. We have to confront the person we have hurt. And, we know that we may sometimes meet resistance.
Think about Joseph in Genesis (Chapters 37-50). His brothers not only despised him, plotted to murder him and sold him into slavery. Later God elevated Joseph and placed him in position to save their lives. They were afraid of how Joseph would react…but he was READY to forgive…
Genesis 50:19-21 (NKJV)
19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Joseph saw the big picture of how God not only allowed the hurt and betrayal, but worked it out for the good of everyone…
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.
So I encourage you today…
Be easy to apologize to!
Be ready to forgive. I know it’s not easy, but it’s situations like this when Philippians 4:13 is most powerful in our lives.
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me
You could have a apology waiting you right now that’s being withheld simply because they are too ashamed or afraid to come to you.
Pray for a forgiving heart. Swallow you pride. Rise above your pain. Be easy to apologize to – because we all know sometimes we’re the one seeking forgiveness.
How many times have you heard someone say something like this, “In this day and time, you have to have…
A cell phone…
A nice suit…
God has blessed many of us to live in an abundant society. If
we aren’t careful, we can begin to look at many of our luxuries as necessities.
The age of children
with smart devices is getting younger and younger because many parents say, “We
have to be able to get in touch with them”.
All across America people wake up in the morning and take
for granted the blessing of being able to do the first thing we have to do when
we all get up…use the bathroom.
Years ago, no one had indoor plumbing. Even the wealthy had
an ‘out house’. Then, with the innovation of indoor plumbing it was a blessing
for the everyday person to have a bathroom in the house. Today, many people won’t
consider buying a home unless it has an
en suite, master bathroom, or whatever they are calling it
But, there many others waking up across America and the world
waking up on the street, under freeway overpasses, in parks and alleys who not
only didn’t have the bed, but they then have the challenge of trying to find
someplace to use the bathroom.
To them, what most of us call a necessity is a luxury!
How many luxuries to you consider necessities?
Many times people will be ‘super spiritual’ and claim, “ I
want to be JUST like Jesus!” Well, be careful what you ask for. Remember what
He told a certain scribe…
19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You
wherever You go.”
20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the
air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Jesus isn’t saying that poverty is a requirement for following
Him, but is reminding us of at least two things…
Count the cost of discipleship
Be thankful for what you have.
Don’t let the abundance of our society and time in which we
live prevent you from being thankful and content.
1 Timothy 6:8 (NKJV)
8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
There’s nothing wrong with having possessions and long as we
don’t allow them to possess us and get our wants confused with our needs.
I’m pretty sure we have all done this. You may be in this situation right now. You said or did someone and you know you were wrong. You told them you’re sorry and you’re ready to move on. But you may need to go back and apologize again…
HOW did you say, “I’m sorry?”
Did they tell you, “You owe me an apology!” and you angrily and grudgingly snap back, “I’m sorry!”
Did you tell them you were sorry just to shut them up from nagging you… wanting them to drop it?
Did you tell them you were sorry only to demand of them to get over it and move on?
Did you tell them you were sorry because you know God expects it, but you really didn’t mean it?
Did you tell them you were sorry because you just didn’t want them to be upset?
Do you know anyone who tries to get affirmation and
validation by claiming that they don’t need it? Have you ever heard anyone say
that? Have you said it yourself?
People usually say this because they are really ‘in their
feelings’ because they want affirmation, validation or appreciation and feel
they aren’t getting it.
Yes, it’s good to be confident in who you are and not need
anyone else to tell you, but the truth of the matter is that God created us for
relationship, and one aspect of relationship is affirmation from others.
Whether we admit or not, we all need validation and
affirmation sometimes. We give God affirmation and validation by praising Him.
GOD LOVES PRAISE!
Praise is affirmation of His greatness, holiness,
sovereignty, justice…His love for us and our love for Him.
GOD LOVES PRAISE and there’s nothing wrong with that.
So here’s the thing…
We all need a little praise sometimes too. We all need affirmation
sometimes. We all need validation sometimes…especially by those who are closest
Do you know why?
Because we were all created in God’s image, and it is our
duty to affirm Him with our praise.
Does God NEED our affirmation to be God? Absolutely not! He
has Holy angels to declare His greatness day and night…
8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were
full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
“Holy,[a] holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!
God teaches us to honor our parents in the Lord…Affirmation.
Ephesians 6:1 (NKJV)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
The bible teaches us to esteem others better than ourselves….Affirmation.
Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)
3 Let nothing be done through selfish
ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others
better than himself.
We’re told ordain those set aside for the ministry by the
laying on of hands…Affirmation.
The key is to not feel disqualified by God when we don’t
receive affirmation, and certainly don’t let it go to our heads. Jesus taught
us this early in His ministry…
Now when He was in
Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when
they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because
He knew all men,25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man,
for He knew what was in man.
People are very fickle. Remember many people cried “Hosanna!”
to Jesus at the beginning of the week and ended the week crying “Crucify Him!”
So. don’t feel to guilty for feeling the need for
affirmation sometimes. Don’t let it go to your head when you get it. And, don’t
feel like God doesn’t value you when you don’t.
I know some of you are thinking, “What are you talking about preacher?”
Whether they admit it or not, everyone wants good sex. Well here’s the thing…God knows that.
He made us that way.
That’s why he created the desire. He created our bodies to attract one another, and most importantly, He created Godly marriage between a man and woman, so that we can enjoy good sex.
GODLY SEX IS SEX BETWEEN A MARRIED MAN AND WOMAN
Matthew 19:4-6 (NKJV)
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made[a]them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’[b]5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?[c]6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The fact that the enemy knows how much people crave good sex is why it has been such a powerful weapon for him throughout the ages. If the enemy can use it to be stumbling block to a man after God’s own heart like King David (2 Samuel Chapter 11), then we know it can be a stumbling block to any of us.
Sex is ordained by God, and the enemy has always manipulated situations to pervert what was meant to be Holy.
Hebrews 13:4 (NKJV)
4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
He has perverted it through tempting God’s children through…
The Strip Club…
And the list can go on and on.
OUR SEXUAL DESIRE IS INNATE, BUT GOD ONLY PERMITS US TO FULFILL IT ONLY AS ORDAINED BY HIM.
Just because someone naturally has an unquenchable desire for the opposite sex does not mean it’s okay to fulfill it with as many people who will agree to sleep with them.
Just because someone naturally has a desire for his or her own sex does not mean that it’s okay for them to sleep with someone of their own sex.
Just because someone’s spouse is not fulfilling their marital ‘duty’ does not give them an excuse to step outside of their marriage.
I think any couple that engaged in premarital sex, but then married will agree that the best sex is when they have made it ‘legal in the eyes of God’.
There’s no greater satisfaction that when two married people are not just connected physically, but also connected mentally, emotionally and most of all spiritually.
Here are just a few verses stating what the bible has to say about good, godly sex…
18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love.
Song of Solomon 1:2(NKJV)
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—For your[b] love is better than wine.
Song of Solomon 4:9-11 (NKJV)
9 You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse; You have ravished my heart With one look of your eyes, With one link of your necklace. 10 How fair is your love, My sister, my spouse! How much better than wine is your love, And the scent of your perfumes Than all spices! 11 Your lips, O my spouse, Drip as the honeycomb; Honey and milk are under your tongue; And the fragrance of your garments Is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
Song of Solomon 5:16 (NKJV)
16 His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, And this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!
Whew! That’s the Word!
Not only is there nothing WRONG with a little wine, music and romance between a husband and wife – it is absolutely RIGHT!
Yes, there are seasons when married people are not always on the same page sexually, but that’s why sex is spiritual and holy. Notice what God advises us through the apostle Paul…
1 Corinthians 7:4-5 (NKJV)
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.
So, if you are engaging in sex that is not ordained by God…
No matter how much they make your toes curl…
No matter how intense the climax…
No matter how much you look forward to seeing them again…
No matter how good they look, feel or smell…
No matter how you choose to excuse it…
It is unholy, ungodly, unethical, immoral, rejected by God and puts you at risk to go to Hell.
NO MATTER HOW GOOD IT FEELS, IF IT’S NOT GODLY IT’S NOT GOOD
But, when you know that both of you are enjoying one another within the will of God, your intimate time together can be good through 10 – 20 – 30 – 40 – 50 years of marriage and beyond.
Remember, even though his wife Sarah suggested it, Abraham’s sex with Hagar was not ordained by God, and it led to bitterness and trouble in his marriage. But, once He and Sarah believed God’s promise of a son in their old age, they saw pleasure again as they did in their youth…
Genesis 18:12-14 (NKJV)
12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
13 And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”