If they haven’t apologized, but they have completely changed, you’ve gotten something better than an apology. This short :18 second video explains when you’ve gotten something better than an apology. Real spiritual maturity is learning to move forward WITHOUT an apology.
We have wayyyyyyyyyyy too many ‘cussing’ Christians!
Our words are so powerful. Their ability to influence and shape our world is confirmed in the word of God.
Proverbs 11:9 (NKJV)
9 The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.
Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)
15 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 16:24 (NKJV)
24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
Mark 11:23 NKJV For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
And, just as much as they have the power to influence, our words also reveal what’s inside of us…
Matthew 12:34 (NKJV)
34 Brood[a] of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
It’s even with our words that we acknowledge and accept God’s gift of salvation…
Romans 10:10 (NKJV)
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
So, God holds those who believe in Him through His Son and our Savior Yeshua (Jesus Christ) accountable for each and everyone of our words…
His expectations of us are very high…
Matthew 12:36 (NKJV)
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
Ephesians 4:29 NIV Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
That’s why it’s catastrophic when Christians curse, cuss, insult, use vulgar, profane or unclean language!
Too many times, you can’t tell the difference in those in the Body of Christ and those who aren’t by how they talk.
Too many times, Christians choose to express their emotions through words that are displeasing to God.
Too many times, Christians use insults when they disagree.
Too many times, Disciples of Christ allow coaches and those in authority to ‘curse’ their children.
I’ve seen too many of our leaders curse in public and those who call themselves Christians cheer, celebrate and find reasons to justify it.
Too many times people who claim to represent God equate cursing to ‘strong words’ or assertiveness.
What does God consider unclean words?
James 3:10 (NKJV)
10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
What does God consider ‘cursing’?
KJV Dictionary Definition: damn
1. To sentence to eternal torments in a future state; to punish in hell.
2. To condemn; to decide to be wrong or worthy of punishment; to censure; to reprobate.
He that doubteth is damned if he eat. Rom xiv
3. To condemn; to explode; to decide to be bad, mean, or displeasing, be hissing or any mark of disapprobation; as, to damn a play, or a mean author.
4. A word used in profaneness; a term of execration.
Our words can either bless or curse. Our words can either encourage or discourage. Our words can either breathe life into a room…or suck it out!
Words can totally destroy or testimony and credibility as a Christian.
When you curse someone, it isn’t ‘harmless’.
YOU ARE RELEASING SOMETHING…
YOU ARE GIVING SOMETHING…
When you say, “God bless you!”…You’re giving a BLESSING!
When you say, “Damn you!” or “I’ll be damned!”, or even “Go to hell!”…YOU’RE GIVING A CURSE!
So many times the bible is explicit, clear and ‘preaches & teaches itself’. We sometimes mess up by twisting and perverting it to fit our desired agendas, beliefs, denominations and personal theologies.
When it comes to sin, many Christians ‘cherry-pick’ through the bible selecting the sins that bother them the most while making excuses for, justifying or totally ignoring those which they have decided aren’t as bad.
There are several sins that anger God just as much as homosexuality that are quite frankly ‘practiced’ by many people who call themselves believers in God through Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah).
The Apostle Paul does an excellent job of after calling out the sin of homosexuality, providing a list of sins that are equal abominations that qualify us all for the wrath of God. That’s why His grace and mercy are so valuable.
Read the verses below from Romans Chapters 1 & 2, and notice the sins that are listed after Paul addresses homosexuality. Think about which of those sins you are personally guilty of.
Notice it’s our attitude about these sins…
Whether or not we commit them…
And, judge those who struggle with sins different than those that we do…
Notice how those attitudes and behaviors are what qualify us as worthy of God’s wrath.
Romans 1:24-2:5 (NKJV)
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their [a]women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the [b]men, leaving the natural use of the [c]woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, [d]sexual immorality, wickedness, [e]covetousness, [f]maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 [g]undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, [h]unforgiving, unmerciful;32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
God’s Righteous Judgment
2 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your [i]impenitent heart you are [j]treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
Did you notice sins such as strife, deceit, backbiting, pride, boasting, disobedient to parents, unloving, unforgiving and unmerciful. Many of those sins are characteristic of many people who claim to be believers.
Pride and boasting have become accepted sins in today’s society, even in the church.
Now is a good time to repent of our ‘sins of choice’ and thank God for His goodness, forbearance, longsuffering, abundant grace, and mercy.
A well-placed cliché makes conversations, speeches and even sermons more interesting. One very popular cliché used when people have misfortune is or difficulty is, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade”.
BUT WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANY SUGAR?
What if you have a health condition that doesn’t allow you to have sugar?
Sometimes in life we have to faith our way through some difficult days…
Sometimes we have to take some medicine that just doesn’t taste good…
Sometimes you have to swallow a really big pill that’s hard to get down…
Some people can’t have sugar in their diet…
Sometimes your healing comes from something bitter.
AREN’T YOU GLAD THAT JESUS DIDN’T MAKE LEMONADE ON THE CROSS?
2 Timothy 2:3 tells us to endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 12:2 teaches us to look to Jesus, who endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him.
People love quoting Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me” when they are trying to make their dreams come true, but this verse is most powerful when we are enduring life’s most difficult situations.
God wants us to always be able to make something good out of difficult situations, and to always see His will in them. As good soldiers of Jesus Christ, sometimes there’s nothing to make some situations feel ‘or taste’ better.
We just have to faith our way through and learn to sometimes drink lemonade without sugar.
Psalm 3:19 (ESV)
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
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Have you ever ‘stepped back’ and examined your personal motives behind your worship?
If we aren’t careful we can go to church expecting God to ‘worship’ and focus on our personal issues, family problems, professional struggles instead of us focusing on worshipping Him in spirit snd truth.
If we aren’t careful, we can make our worship about our hopes and dreams rather than praising God and making Him feel welcome in His house.
If we aren’t careful, we can spend our entire time in worship lamenting about our health and everything going wrong in our lives, instead of rejoicing in Him and giving thanks for His goodness, grace, mercy and faithfulness!
If we aren’t careful… we can make church about us rather than worshipping the Lord God of Israel from Everlasting to Everlasting through our Lord and Savior Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ!
Please watch the short video above from a worship service back in 2019.
The devil is real, and an adversary that we can’t ignore. However, God has given us the power to resist him though our Lord and Savior, Yeshua, Jesus Christ.
We learn much about the devil when we read about his encounter with Job. I’m not going to tell the story of Job, but I want to call out some insights that can help us deal with and claim the power that God has given us over the enemy…
2 Corinthians 2:11 (NKJV)
11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices
10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where[a] the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
THE DEVIL IS NOT OMNIPOTENT
The devil DOES NOT have all power, and the power that he does have, is only what God ALLOWS him for a season. When God pointed out one of his most devoted children, Job, the devil complained that he COULD NOT touch him because he enjoyed God’s protection and favor…
Job 1:10 (NKJV)
10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
…The enemy COULD NOT touch Job or his family unless God allowed him access to them.
God allowed temporary access to Job for a purpose, but did not allow the enemy to take his life….
Job 1:12 (NKJV)
12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
The same holds true in our lives, the enemy has no power over our lives that hasn’t been allowed by God. He will allow temporary access for a purpose, but when we remain faithful, we are guaranteed power over the enemy…
The devil doesn’t even have power or authority over Hell, but he will share everlasting punishment and separation from God with all those who follow him. God will eventually strip the enemy of all power at the appointed time…
10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where[a] the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
THE DEVIL IS NOT OMNIPRESENT
The devil CANNOT be everywhere at the same time. Only God is omnipresent…
1 Kings 8:27 (NKJV)
27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!
The enemy is a spiritual being with limitations. Even he responded when asked by God from where was he coming (for our benefit because God already knew)…
Job 1:7 (NKJV)
7 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
You can’t physically go somewhere that you already are. God doesn’t have to go anywhere, because He is already there.
The devil has agents, those fallen angels that were cast out of heaven with him (demons) to assist him in interacting with our lives.
Only the Spirit of God is everywhere at the same time.
THE DEVIL IS NOT OMNISCIENT
The devil does not know everything. The devil does not have all knowledge, but only that that God allows.
He doesn’t not know EVERYTHING about your life. He knows your family’s history…he knows your history…he observes your strengths and weaknesses and tries to manipulate both you and them. And most importantly…
He doesn’t know your future. The enemy did not know if Job could resist that terrible trial. One of the reasons that God allowed it is because He already knew and want to prove to Satan and leave an example for us of Job’s faithfulness.
He doesn’t even know when his end will be, that’s why he relentlessly goes to and fro seeking who he may devour…trying to steal, kill and destroy.
Go back and read the account of Job. Look closely at the fact that through it all, the enemy was still subject not only to God, but to Job’s faithfulness.
Be encouraged, we have power over the enemy if we remain aware of his limitations, how he works and most of all, remain faithful to God.
James 4:7 (NKJV)
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Even those who don’t believe in God have heard of it. The mark of the beast. The ‘mark’ that many will submit to showing that they have rejected Christ and accepted the antichrist.
Revelation 13:16 (KJV)
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark IN their right hand, or IN their foreheads:
The purpose of this quick post isn’t to discuss whether or not the church will still be on earth when it takes place. But, what will it actually be. This could be a long post, but I’m going to keep it short so you can digest it…and pray about it.
There are those who talk about a chip being implanted, a bar code that will be required for buying, selling and living everyday life. There are others who speak of a literal mark or tattoo on the hand and forehead. How many warnings have you heard in sermons or seen posted on social media or in sermon?
I say neither. That’s too simple. That’s too literal. Check out this verse…
Jeremiah 31:33 (NKJV)
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Notice that God says, “I will put My law IN their minds, and write it ON their hearts.”
If you take an x-ray, will you find actual words written on your brain or heart? Of course not.
When God places something in your mind, it affects your thinking. When He places something in your heart, it affects what’s most important to you.
It’s the same with Revelation 13:16…
“In their right hand…” In the way you do things.
“In their foreheads…” The way you think.
John told us that the spirit of the antichrist was already here way back then…
1 John 4:3 (NKJV)
3 and every spirit that does not confess that[a] Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
The spirit of the antichrist has been at work for years affecting how Christians ‘do things’ and ‘think’. Convincing us to compromise when it comes to our Lord and Savior Yeshua, Jesus Christ.
Here’s a quick example…think about Easter. What does the name ‘Easter’ have to do with Jesus? Nothing. What do bunnies and eggs have to do with celebrating His resurrection? Nothing. But, you can’t convince well-meaning Christians to celebrate without calling it Easter because it has been to deeply ingrained in the way they ‘do things’ and the way they ‘think’. Why not celebrate His resurrection without calling it by a pagan goddess’ name?
Think of all the ways that the enemy is convincing the people of God to compromise.
Think of how the thinking of this world is changing to accept what God has forbidden.
It’s not what you accept on your skin…it’s what you accept within.
Simone Biles’s decision to withdraw from Olympic competition to protect her mental health was met with varied responses.
One can’t help but notice how many people who call themselves Christians were highly critical and down-right MEAN in their reaction.
Simone didn’t meet their expectations…
They feel Simone let her team and country down…
They feel she wasn’t tough enough.
Some of the same people who criticize her for ‘folding under pressure’ watch the world from their smart device or television while never stepping outside the safety of their own daily routines. Many of her critics are much older, yet they haven’t reached her level of accomplishment. And, many claim to be loving, kind-hearted, compassionate disciples of Christ.
We who call ourselves believers need to be careful as to how we define ‘TOUGH’.
If many Christians are honest with themselves, based on how they react to things that happen today…
Many Christians would have called Jesus a failure!
It has been speculated by many that one of the reasons Judas betrayed Jesus is because he didn’t meet his expectations of a deliverer.
Think of the behavior and accomplishments that so many people today consider to be STRENGTH and SUCCESS relative to the behavior that God says is evidence of His Spirit…
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [a]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
James 3:17 (NKJV)
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
Matthew 5:39 (NKJV)
39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
Unfortunately, too many Christians today consider the above mentioned Godly attributes to be weakness.
Just as they say Simone Biles isn’t being tough enough…
Just as Judas turned on our Savior because he didn’t meet the expectations of a Messiah…
How many Christians, if they were living around 2,000 years ago would have concluded that Jesus…
Was a failure…
Let His followers down…
Wasn’t being tough enough…
Wasn’t what He claimed to be…
Our visceral reactions prove what is inside of us.
To be clear, I’m not judging you as a Christian. Examine your reactions. Examine yourself. Judge yourself.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV)
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you [a]are disqualified.
We prove where we would have stood in history by how we react today.
When you think about it, our relationships here on earth horizontal examples of our vertical relationship with God.
Example: Parents, think about your relationship with your children. You brought them into the world. You love, provide for, and nurture them. You took care of them when they couldn’t take care of themselves.
How does it make you feel when your children don’t appreciate what you do or have done for them?
How much does it hurt you when your children only come to you when they want something?
But, how great does it make you feel when your children are truly grateful?
How does it make you feel when they tell you that they love you just because…
When they want your advice…
When they just want to talk to you…just want to be in your presence?
Think of how you feel when someone mistreats them. Sometimes you run to their rescue, but sometimes you teach them how to be strong for themselves.
When they’ve done wrong think of how after you punish them and correct them, you quickly remind them of your love.
In our earthly relationships (horizontal), sometimes we are selfish and hurt the ones we love the most.
Sometimes we take advantage of their love.
But, sometimes love is so rich and wonderful; we wish the moment could go on forever.
Genesis 1:27 tells us we were made in God’s image.
We look like Him. But, how can we look like an invisible God?
God created us with the capacity and ability to love like Him…
To feel like Him…
To hurt like Him…
To have His character…
When we display the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22 in our lives, (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) we are ‘looking like Him’.
The next time you get frustrated about the way that your children, husband, wife or those who are supposed to be closest to you treat you or make you feel(horizontal), be reminded of how God feels when we treat Him the same way (vertical).
Be careful of what’s in your heart when you decide to “KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS”.
That IS NOT what God told us to do. He told us to love our enemies.
Love’s intention is to give life, not kill.
Love’s intention is to build up, not tear down.
God says don’t seek revenge, that belongs to Him. God says don’t repay evil for evil, but instead to help your enemy.
The problem is, that many of us choose to ‘kill them with kindness’, ONLY to “heap coals of fire on their heads“. Many of us are only being kind because we see heaping coals of fire on their head as just another way to get even.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we may just be showing kindness to show them up, to annoy them, to make them feel bad…if that’s the intention then we’ve totally missed God’s meaning.
Helping your enemy is an exercise in developing God’s character. It is planting seeds of love for the enemy and those who witness. It’s allowing everyone to see the power of God. The goal is overcoming evil with good. Well, what about the coals of fire on their head? That’s just the end result of how acts of kindness affect an enemy…it’s a result, not an intent.
The goal is REPENTANCE AND RECONCILIATION. Remember, ‘kill them with kindness’ is catchy, but not of God. Romans 12:19-21 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This post is not meant to be negatively critical of the church, so I ask that all ‘church haters’ don’t use it as fuel for their “I told you so’s!”. God’s church is comprised of imperfect people, so just like anything else on this earth, it’s a work in progress. That’s what this article is about…progress.
This is for people in the Body of Christ who want to make the church what God would have it to be.
Do you have great worship? Great praise? Great Fellowship? If so, that’s great because you should. But, we all know that’s not the ONLY reason God has His church on the earth. It is an extension of His love reaching out not only to SAVE, but to SERVE.
Unfortunately, many churches, big and small, have become social organizations that only serve the members or the other churches within their circle. Yes, God told us to do good, especially to the household of faith….
Galatians 6:10 (NKJV)
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
But, it doesn’t and shouldn’t stop there.
Look at these often overlooked and rarely preached verses of scripture in Luke…
Luke 14:12-14 (NKJV)
12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
How many churches have fellowship dinners and special days for themselves and invite the churches in their circles, and are subsequently invited back by those ‘sister’ churches, while totally ignoring the homeless, hungry and destitute in their communities? Does yours?
Now look at Luke (parable of unfruitful fig tree)…
A tree planted to bear fruit but only has leaves is using up the ground. Using all of its resources to sustain itself, but not reproduce…
Luke 13:6-9 (NKJV)
6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that[a] you can cut it down.’”
Most of us learned at least by middle school that leaves use sunlight (SONlight) to photosynthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. Their purpose in a sense is to ‘feed’ the tree. We also learned that the function of fruit is reproduction. So, we can conclude that a fruit tree with all leaves and no fruit is only serving itself, because its not reproducing. Just as Jesus’ parable that tree is ‘using up the ground’.
That’s true for any church that uses its resources and light from the SON only for and on itself. If it has no programs to aggressively pursue converting sinners, make disciples, reach out to those in need, and share God’s love, it’s just like that tree in Luke Chapter 13…using up the ground…self-serving…ALL LEAVES AND NO FRUIT.
Is this your church? I hope not. Here’s a quick assessment, self-check that you can do yourself to see if this is your church.
ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10, HOW DO YOU HONESTLY RANK YOUR CHURCH’S…
Serving Members 1-10?
Serving Community 1-10?
Outreach to Community 1-10?
Outreach beyond Community 1-10?
Missions or Supporting Missions?
If you scored high for worship, praise, fellowship, teaching and serving members, but low for what goes on outside the four walls, then there’s work to be done. Or, if you just don’t know whether or not your church goes beyond the four walls…that’s not good either because you should know.
Quite frankly, it’s inexcusable for some of our churches to be decades and over a hundred years old and have NO outreach, NO evangelism efforts or support, NO concern for the community.
We do what’s important to us, and don’t do what’s not.
Your success, effectiveness and peace is not only determined by how well you relate with people you DO TRUST…but how well you are at relating with people that you DON’T TRUST.
Our ultimate trust is in God, but He didn’t put us on this earth alone.
God has also ordained it that there is little that we can accomplish alone.
Even God Himself uses His angels to relate to us…
Hebrews 11:14 (NKJV)
Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
God let the captives in Babylon know that though they trusted Him, they were to pray for the peace of the city in which they lived because their peace was dependent on the city’s peace…
And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.
Jesus sent the first disciples out in pairs (Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1)…
The apostles worked in pairs, teams and even depended heavily on the early church for help.
As much as we are interdependent on another in this life, God also warned us about putting our trust in people rather than Him…
Psalm 118:8 (NKJV)
It is better to trust in the Lord. Than to put confidence in man.
Of course we all want to be in relationships and situations with people we trust, but that’s not always possible…Sometimes we can’t even trust our own selves.
It seems it’s getting harder and harder to trust people these days.
We have families, jobs, churches, communities, organizations that we are all a part of in which to live, but the fact is that you KNOW you can’t trust everyone…
In your family…
On your job…
In your church…
In your community…
In our government…
Sometimes we go through seasons and situations when we can’t trust our spouse, children, parents or even friends…because we are human beings being human.
Do we abandon these relationships and resources because of the lack of trust or total trust?
Of course not!
Your ability to be successful, effective and have peace in your life is just as dependent upon your ability to work and relate with people you DON’T trust as well as those you DO trust.
How do you do it?
First of all trust God first. If He has you in a situation, or you have allowed yourself into a situation where trust is limited…you still have to lean on His word, truth, character and TRUST HIM.
Second pray for wisdom and discernment so you can know WHO to trust and WHO NOT to trust.
Third pray for those whom you don’t trust that they submit themselves to God through our Lord and Savior Yeshua, Jesus Christ. It’s bigger than just you or me…Ultimately it’s more about their relationship with God than ours with them.
Fourth, remain in God’s character so that you can set a standard and example of behavior and plant good seeds for God’s Kingdom. You do this by walking in the Spirit as defined in Galatians 5:22, 23.
Fifth, always make are always faithful and trustworthy in all your relationships.
And finally, remember that God had equipped you with everything you need for this LIFE and GODLINESS in this life, through His divine nature that is now inside you…
2 PETER 1:2-8 (NKJV)
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
No you can’t trust everyone…
The fact that we aren’t always faithful means that God can’t always trust us. But, we can always trust Him.
And remember, GOD IS GREATER THAN THOSE WHOM YOU DON’T TRUST.
Add this to your prayer life…”Lord give me the ability to relate with those I don’t trust.”
What do you hope for? Think about it for a moment. Both big and small, what do you hope for in life? For yourself? For your family? For the world?
Please don’t ever take hope for granted. Hope gives us a reason to get up each morning. Hope gives us a reason to live. Hope gives us anticipation beyond this life.
Hope is a blessing from God…
Romans 15:13 (NKJV)
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, [a]we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces [b]perseverance; 4 and perseverance, [c]character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
As much as faith is evidence of what we can’t see, hope is the expectation and desire of what we can’t and can see. Faith is the belief that we can actually have what we hope for…that it can and will happen.
Faith is hope’s fruit…
Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The reason so many rich people are unhappy is because their ability to hope has been challenged.
A life of having everything you want when you want it is a life with literally, no hope!
Those who can put their hands on everything they want can find themselves unhappy and unfulfilled because God wants our hope to be in Him…
Psalm 39:6-8 (NKJV)
6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they [a]busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them.
7 “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions; Do not make me the reproach of the foolish.
Take a moment to thank God for the ability to hope, and ask Him that your hope always be in Him.
When God has given you a creative anointing, and you’re passionately sharing it with the world…
When you’re investing your time, your money, your heart, your reputation…
When your family even has to sacrifice along with you…
It can be very disappointing and discouraging when people don’t react the way you thought they would have, or thought they should have.
You know in your heart that you prayed about it, and you feel in your heart you’re doing what God called and equipped you to do…but it didn’t take off as you expected. And, sometimes it’s been years.
If you aren’t careful you can find yourself WHINING!
WHINING about the fact that you aren’t getting support…
WHINING about the fact that others’ are having the success that you would love to have, even if on the surface they don’t seem worthy…
WHINING that others’ may seem to be an over-night-success…
WHINING that others younger than you are doing so much more…
WHINING that others who haven’t worked as hard or sacrificed as much are doing so much better…
WHINING about the system that is holding you down…
WHINING about the corruption in the system and how you will make it different when you get the influence you hope to have.
WHINING! WHINING! WHINING!
I have to admit that when my wife, Gospel/Jazz recording artist Mechelle Johnson, and I first entered the Gospel music industry, I was very disappointed to have so much of what I heard confirmed. That it’s just another business. That it’s filled with people who are unholy. That it is extremely cliquish, and exclusionary…all true!
I was disappointed to see so many artist within our genre who seemed to be more concerned with begging for votes for awards than begging for souls.
And yes, I found myself complaining.
If this has ever been you too, I have a word of admonition and encouragement for US.
STOP WHINING AND DO WHAT GOD CALLED YOU TO DO!
PLAY YOUR INSTRUMENT!
LEAD! Yes, it is not a good example when The President of the United States, leaders and Pastors are whining about how bad they are being mistreated. Just as the bible says “Endure hardship as a good soldier of Yeshua the Messiah 2 Timothy 2:3…SHUT UP AND LEAD!
WORK WITHOUT WHINING!
Notice in the bible when the leaders God called began to whine how He told them to get up, snap out of it, and get to work…
Joshua 7:6-10 (ESV)
6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord God, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?” 10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face?
Notice how God doesn’t allow us to mope and whine after He as disciplined us…
Hebrews 12:10-12 (NKJV)
10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no [a]chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
When you read your bible, the people complained against Moses for 40 years in the wilderness.
The apostles would have loved to have captive audiences rather than getting run out of town and beaten.
And, most of all, Yeshua our Messiah (Jesus Christ) went to the cross, and though He has already arisen from the dead, He is still waiting on His glory and giving more people time to come to God through Him.
The fact is, if our Savior can wait to receive His glory, so can we.
Remember this, If you truly believe that God is in control, and you truly trust Him, you will reach everyone He intends for you to reach in His timing.
Joshua 1:6-7 (NKJV)
6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall [a]divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may [b]prosper wherever you go.
There’s nothing wrong with being recognized and awarded, but it can be a problem when we come to expect it. I was recently watching a Gospel music industry award show. The glitz. The glamour. The red carpet. The speeches… It almost seems like sometimes we’re saying, “The world has a red carpet, and we want one too!”
Here again, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with it, but we must be careful that those of us in Gospel aren’t conforming, but reforming.
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
And as I said, we also must be very careful that we don’t allow pride to slip in to the point that we EXPECT rewards, awards and recognition.
I wonder how many artists, songwriters, producers, etc., were actually disappointed or angry they didn’t win, or jealous of those who did? How many thought in their hearts, “They didn’t deserve it!”. Not to mention the thousands of people laboring for Christ, whose work is just as good, but are never recognized. In fact, in many cases, it tends to be the same group of people who continue to win or be honored.
We are human, and sometimes we can feel hurt when we see others getting all of the attention…especially when God’s anointing is working powerfully in your life.
On those days, remember this…
Remember that during His earthly ministry Jesus wasn’t:
Nominated for an award…
Accepted by the establishment…
Appreciated by those who needed Him most…
The ONE and ONLY time He was triumphantly celebrated (Matthew 21:1-11)…
Some of the same people shouted for, consented to, mocked at and celebrated His death (Matthew 27:16-26).
If you feel that you aren’t ‘getting what you deserve’…
If you feel that others are getting recognition while you’re being ignored…
Don’t get caught up complaining, whining, lashing out at the world for ignoring you.
Stay focused and work your ministry.
Our Lord has been waiting over 2000 years for His glory. If He can wait. So can we.
John 17:24 (NKJV)
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
Sometimes you have forgive people over and over again NOT because they keep hurting you…
But, because they haven’t hurt you again…
They are truly sorry…
But you can’t get past it.
Sometimes 7 times 70 isn’t because of them, but because of you.
Matthew 18:21-22 NKJV
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
There’s a very popular Comedian/Actor/Show Host who has an exceptionally successful career. One of the many hats he wears is that of a radio show host…the show is fast paced, fun and entertaining.
However, he begins his radio show each morning with a very emotional and impactful spiritual monologue. His statements are encouraging and inspirational, and he always gives God glory, BUT during the remainder of his show, he often uses strong language, frequently using profanity that the bible clearly tells us that we shouldn’t do…
Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Ephesians 5:3-4 (NKJV)
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
In reference to ‘cussing’, he will often assert, “God is not through with me yet.” Which is true, but we ALL need to be very careful about our attitude when it comes to this statement.
First of all, I’M NOT JUDGING THIS MAN because we have all (and still do) sin and fall short of the glory of God. We all have room to grow. I have respect both for him and his accomplishments, but I have to be responsible as a minister of God.
Calling out sin, correcting, encouraging, admonishing, instructing and warning one another is not judging…it’s our responsibility.
Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
When you have a level of prominence that allows you to reach and influence millions, you bear a great level of responsibility when you are speaking on behalf of God in the name of Yeshua, Jesus Christ.
Here are two problems with sometimes FLIPPANTLY saying what we want…doing what we want…then stating… “God ain’t through with me yet!”
First of all, we must not be guilty of validating our sinful behavior and bad habits to those who may be weaker in the faith or unbelievers by ‘justifying’ our behavior at the time with, “God is not through with me yet”…
Second, we must not use “God is not through with me yet” to hold on to habits, behavior and attitudes that we simply aren’t trying hard enough to stop. Especially when we know better and can do better.
The word of God has commanded us throughout the New Testament to…
“Put off” Colossians 3: 8, Ephesians 4:22 (NKJV)
“Put away” Ephesians 4:25 (NKJV)
“Let all…be put away from you” Ephesians 4:31 (NKJV)
“Lay aside” Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)
God has given us the power and responsibility to stop ourselves.
Many people pray that God will, “Take the sin out of me”…however, there’s no personal level of accountability, effort, commitment or love and dedication in being so weak that God has to make us stop.
We as believers must be very careful not to take for granted or take advantage of God’s abundant grace and mercy.
Remember what God told us through the Apostle Paul…
Romans 6:1-2 (NKJV)
6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
So many times we can find ourselves saying…
“God knows my heart.”
“I’m taking baby steps”
We want to always make sure that we aren’t taking baby steps, when God is ready for us to walk.
You don’t want God to become ‘through with you’ before you put forth enough effort to change.
I’ve found the most intimate refreshing place to pray at my home. I love sitting in my chair on my front porch and enjoying quality time with God in prayer. When I’m out there, it’s like it’s just Him and me. Yes I pray everywhere. But, that place is special.
And yes, I said sitting.
You see, it’s good to get on your knees in submission to God, but contrary to what many may have been taught it’s not mandatory. That is not the exclusively acceptable prayer posture.
Your proper prayer posture isn’t the position of your body, but of your heart and spirit…
To a humble spirit… it’s about humility.
Psalm 51:17 (NKJV)
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise
1- On Your Knees
Ephesians 3:14 (NKJV)
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[a]
2 – In Your Bed
Psalm 4:4 (NKJV)
Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
3 – Out Loud
Psalm 34:6 (NKJV)
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
4 – Silently
1 Samuel 1:13 (NKJV)
13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk.
5 – Hands Lifted
1 Timothy 2:8 (NKJV)
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;
6 – Eyes Open
John 17:1 (NKJV)
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,
7 – Head Bowed
Genesis 24:26 (NKJV)
26 Then the man bowed down his head and worshiped the Lord.
8 – Prostrate
Matthew 26:39 (NKJV)
39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
9 – Standing
Mark 11:25 (NKJV)
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
God just wants you to be humble. Many have even misunderstood “come boldly” in the book of Hebrews…
Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
It’s not about ‘telling God what to do’, but direct access to Him. We don’t have to go through a priest, or a preacher to talk to Him…just submit to Him humbly in prayer through our Lord and Savior Yeshua, Jesus Christ.
So, bow your head, lie in your bed, fall on your knees, lift up your hands, as long as you’re sincere…God will hear.
Have you ever been caught up in thoughts, behavior, habits, relationships, etc, that you wanted to STOP, but found STOPPING to be an enormous struggle?
Are struggling toSTOP doing something right now? Are you fighting that battle between the flesh and the spirit?
The Apostle Paul even admitted to and described this struggle…
Romans 7:18-20 (NKJV)
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to willis present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
Galatians 5:16-17 (NKJV)
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Many times, in the heat of this struggle, one might ask God, “Lord, please MAKE me STOP!
Remember this, YOU MAY NOT LIKE THE WAY THAT GOD MAKES YOU STOP!
When you read God’s word, He doesn’t want us to ask Him to make us stop. When we choose sin, we are choosing sin over him. It’s a relationship decision, much like a spouse choosing a rival over his or her spouse. No one wants to make a husband or wife stop choosing someone else over them. A spouse would want their loved one to CHOOSE TO STOP seeing someone else.
God gives us the power, strength and responsibility to STOP ourselves.
Notice where God places the responsibility in these verses…
Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)
12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, LET US LAY ASIDE every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Ephesians 4:31 (NKJV)
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking BE PUT AWAY from you, with all malice.
Colossians 3:8 (NKJV)
8 But now YOU YOURSELVES ARE TO PUT OFF ALL OF THESE: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (NKJV)
7 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, LET US CLEANSE OURSELVES from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
It is clear that God does not want us asking Him to make us STOP doing anything that is displeasing to Him.
Have you ever thought about how many well-respected coworkers leave work and go to ‘happy hour’ before going home? I’m not talking about sloppy drunk alcoholics, but those who finish their work-day with laughs and drinks with their coworkers… it happens every day. Sometimes it’s even expected in some work cultures.
Have ever noticed people swerving because they’re using their cell phones?
How many times have you adjusted the radio… checked your GPS… snacked on chips, fries, carrots or sipped on coffee while driving?
And, how many times have you noticed yourself MILES down the road after daydreaming or being DEEP in thought while driving?
In any of the situations mentioned above, any one of us could have innocently CAUSED an accident that resulted in a life-long injury or death of someone else.
That fly, mosquito or bee you swatted or that unexpected sneeze while driving in your neighborhood could have caused you hit a child on his or her bicycle.
In this day and time, when someone harms someone else through carelessness, the public is QUICK to immediately vilify and criminalize them.
Many people are quick to jump on the bandwagon about how it’s inexcusable as if they have never been careless.
Yes, we have all been disciplined by God for many of our sins, but the truth is that God has delivered us from the consequences of our carelessness more times than we can count.
One of the greatest weaknesses of our human flesh is CARELESSNESS.
And it’s only through God’s mercy and grace that our carelessnesses hasn’t caused us to become ‘criminals’ because we hurt or even killed someone.
Be careful before you jump on the bandwagon when someone’s carelessness becomes tragic…even when someone tragically leaves a child in the car.
Instead of criticizing them, stop and thank God for delivering you, time and time again, from your own carelessness. Stop and think about the times your mind being elsewhere, for what ever reason, could have changed your life forever.
When you’re thanking God for delivering you from your sins…from your darkest days…from your most shameful moments…from dangers seen and unseen — Don’t forget to thank Him for delivering you from your own carelessness.
Now is a great time to thank God for brand-new mercies EVERY MORNING and His faithfulness towards us…
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
One of the most frustrating things I remember from childhood is being ignored. You know, when one child says something and the other pretends that they don’t hear them…. They may even say “La…La…La…La…La, I’m not listening to you!”
Have you ever done that?
Well the frustration of being ignored doesn’t stop with childhood. But, I have a quick word of encouragement.
When you can tell you’re being ignored. When it seems that what God places on your heart is going unnoticed by those whom you would like to notice it. Not, those who didn’t see it, but those who did…
They saw you. They saw what you said. They saw what you did. They heard you. They read it. They listened to it. They even liked it. It blessed them. They even used it…
You can’t ignore something that you haven’t noticed!
And, best of all…God always notices and never forgets…
Hebrews 6:10 (NKJV)
10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of[a] love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
I think I can… I think I will.. I think I want to… I think I don’t need to… I think I won’t.
Sometimes the ‘The Little Train that Could’, should be the ‘The Train that Didn’t’…
Discipline. Control of one’s self. This is something that many of us struggle with our entire lives…at least in particular areas of our lives.
It’s possible to very disciplined in some areas, while being out of control in others.
Disciplined in one’s finances, but not in one’s diet.
Disciplined with one’s credit, but not with one’s relationships.
Disciplined with exercise, but not with one’s prayer life.
Disciplined with work, but not with worship.
Most of the time we say we need more ‘will power’…meaning discipline over one’s own will.
But, maybe we need more power over our ‘won’t power’ or our ‘want power’.
Too many times our problem is the fact that…
We will do it. We will say it. We will eat it. We will drink it. We will smoke it. We will watch it. We will, because we are driven by our wants. We let the power of wants (fleshly, carnal desires) overpower the power of our wills.
Maybe instead of praying for more will power, we should pray for more won’t power!
We won’t do it. We won’t say it. We won’t eat it. We won’t drink it. We won’t smoke it. We won’t watch it. We won’t because we aren’t driven by our wants.
Galatians 5:16-21 (NKJV)
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[a] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[b]drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God
Did you know that God has provided a spiritual exercise to strengthen your ‘won’t power’? The problem is either we don’t take advantage of it enough, or we do it to manipulate blessings out of God to feed our ‘want power’.
The exercise is fasting.
Fasting is an exercise in putting our flesh and desires under subjection so we won’t be ruled by our carnal desires, or even needs.
Look at what the Apostle Paul said through the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit…
1 Corinthians 9:27 (NKJV)
27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Now, look what God says about fasting in the book of Isaiah…
Isaiah 58:5 (NKJV)
5 Is it a fast that I have chosen,
A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush,
And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Would you call this a fast,
And an acceptable day to the Lord?
And, don’t forget about how Jesus told us we can release the faith to move mountains…even the mountains of our desires (our ‘wills’ and our ‘wants’)…
Matthew 17:20-21 (NKJV)
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief;[a] 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.”[b]
Every physical battle that you fight is a spiritual battle over your ‘will’, your ‘won’t and your ‘wants’.
I pray that God gives you the strength to overcome whatever seems impossible to you today in the name of Christ Jesus the Son of the Living God.
Have you ever stopped and realized that someone was trying to…
Take advantage of your kindness, your resources, your love?
Many times they will think that you are naive because you are allowing them to use you.
Many times others will think you’re weak because from the outside looking in, they think you’re allowing yourself to be taken advantage of.
But, if you are fully aware that someone is ‘using you’ but you’re using their manipulation for your purpose to help them, to help someone else, to give them time to grow, to exercise godly patience, kindness, love, or self control…then they really aren’t using you.
If someone thinks you’re naive when you’re aware of what’s going on, does that make them naive themselves?
Think about it. When God continues to lavish us with His love, provision, protection, grace, mercy and forgiveness when HE ALREADY KNOWS we will hurt Him again, is He allowing us to USE Him?
When Yeshua demanded that we continue to forgive someone 77 times if they continue to hurt you and ask for forgiveness…is that allowing yourself to be used? (Matthew 18:21-22).
When Yeshua taught us to turn your face to allow them to strike you on the other cheek…is that teaching us to be used? (Matthew 5:39)
When Yeshua teaches us to loan looking for nothing in return… is that exposing us to be used financially? (Luke 6:35)
Look at how God Himself used Assyria to punish His disobedient people and then dealt with them later. He used their arrogance, ambition and pride for His purpose…
Isaiah 10:5-7 (ERV)
5 The Lord says, “I will use Assyria like a stick. In my anger I will use Assyria to punish Israel. 6 I will send Assyria to fight against the people who do evil. I am angry with them, and I will command Assyria to fight against them. Assyria will defeat them and take their wealth. Israel will be like dirt for Assyria to walk on in the streets.
7 “But Assyria does not understand that I will use him. He does not think of himself as my tool. He only wants to destroy other people. He only plans to destroy many nations.
Isaiah 10:5-7 (NKJV)
5 “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. 6 I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets. 7 Yet he does not mean so, Nor does his heart think so; But it is in his heart to destroy, And cut off not a few nations.
The fact is that life as a disciple of Christ will set you up ‘to be used’. Real, unconditional love sets you up to be ‘used’ sometimes.
But, an emotionally intelligent, godly minded person who is walking in the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22-23) know how to make the most of every opportunity to share God’s love and leave behind a testimony…
Ephesians 5:16 (NIV)
Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Let me preface this piece with the statement that if we as ministers of the Gospel don’t hold ourselves accountable, that we threaten our own credibility and are no different than the Pharisees, Scribes and leaders who were pissed off at Jesus for challenging their traditions.
Let me also say this doesn’t apply to ALL preachers, ministers and pastors.
Please read the following post from Facebook that was published by a preacher who happens to hold the office of Pastor.
“PREACHERS...I came up in the old way as an associate minister. We honored and respected our pastor/leader. We didn’t speak unless spoken to, we didn’t come into the office unless invited, we didn’t sit in the pulpit unless asked, we didn’t do anything on program unless we had permission, we didn’t preach anywhere out or in unless we had clearance, we didn’t teach outside unless it was permitted, we held bags, coats, hats, keys, we chauffeured, valeted, ran errands, and we were grateful to do it. We weren’t rogue preachers, but we tried to be respectful and respectable. I believe my preaching career has been further blessed because of it (18 years later and almost 9 years Pastoral). Preachers, if you came up like that drop your witness in the comments…”
This quote was made in the primary context of the historical culture of many Black churches.
It almost sounds like how ‘massa’ treated his ‘house n*****s. Some Pastorsperverted ‘Pastor’ into ‘Master’.
Unfortunately, many old school preachers treated their ‘subordinates’ like children. It definitely wasn’t respecting their ‘associate ministers’ as fellow anointed MEN of God, husbands, fathers and fellow laborers with an equal calling and anointing , but different ‘office’.
I, as a young minister, years ago was taught protocol and respect. I had, and have much respect for the Senior Pastor who mentored me then, and for my current Senior Pastor…but I’m thankful to say neither of them EXPECTED me to hold their bag, coat, hat, or keys…they didn’t and don’t expect me to chauffeur them around, to be their valet, run their errands or to SERVE them to that level. In short, they didn’t treat me like a child.
I as a minister, I don’t have that expectation of anyone either.
That is not the servant leadership that Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, demands. Remember what He said…
Matthew 20:25-27 (NKJV)
25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—
Remember Jesus’s example of the humility He expects of leadership…
John 13:12-17 (NKJV)
12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you [a]know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Yes, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had their riches and servants…
Yes, Joseph of Genesis brothers knelt before him in submission…
Yes, David had his amour bearers and mighty men of valor…
Yes, Elijah had Elisha to serve him…
And yes, I think we should give honor to those who labor in the Gospel. The bible demands that…
1 Timothy 5:17 (NKJV)
17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
And, yes I think that Pastors should earn their living from the Gospel and be comfortable…
1 Corinthians 9:13-14 (NKJV)
13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
However, God never intended for leaders to LORD over those whom He has given responsibility, but that we be their servants.
There are some preachers who want to be Abraham, Isaac and Jacob..
There are some preachers who want to be Joseph of Genesis…
There are some preachers who want to be David…
There are some preachers who want to be Elijah….
Some even want to be the temple-table-turning over Jesus…
But, many don’t want to be the ‘feet-washing Jesus’.
And, none of us want to be John the Baptist. I admit that I don’t.
Too many preachers expect to be put on a pedestal and served. They expect other adult men to be their flunkies. This is an example of a culture that’s been established that contradicts the word of God and His expectations. We must not pervert church culture to become little kingdoms where the focus is on the Pastor/Preachers rather than the God we serve.
I really feel that one of the reasons God allowed worship to be placed on PAUSE during the pandemic is so we can examine how we worship and the culture of our churches.
Just as some of our national traditions need to be reexamined, so do some traditions and cultures in our churches.
We can’t ignore God’s protocol to establish our own.
Ministers who aren’t Senior Pastors, remember that everyone isn’t meant to be an Under Shepherd. You may feel frustration sometimes because you don’t get the same level of respect. But, God expects you to be just as effective.
One of the reasons the establishment wanted to kill Yeshua (Jesus) was because He challenged their traditions…
Matthew 15:1-9 (NKJV)
Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— 6 then he need not honor his father [a]or mother.’ Thus you have made the [b]commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8‘These people [c]draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
”Remember that the disciples ‘warned’ Jesus about how He pissed off the Pharisees and leaders by threatening their motivations and traditions…
11 It is not what enters the mouth that defiles the person, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles the person.”12 Then the disciples came and *said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were [a]offended when they heard this statement?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant will be uprooted.
As disciples of Christ, it’s our responsibility to apply those biblical examples to contemporary life.
America has many traditions, that are good traditions, but still they are only traditions. Traditions become bad when people’s level of devotion to them go beyond respect to reverence.
Traditions become harmful when one person judges what’s in another person’s heart based on how loyal they are to the tradition rather than the country… the cause… the faith…
It’s then traditions morph into idolatry!
From Genesis to The Revelation kneeling is an act of humility, both to God and great men or women…
Genesis 42:6 (NLT)
Joseph was the ruler of the land. He was the one who sold grain to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed to the ground in front of him.
Philippians 2:10-11 (NKJV)
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Standing before the American flag is an honorable tradition, but it’s still a tradition. The fact is that there are some people in America that feel standing and placing one’s hand over their heart is an act of worship, and even though they LOVE THE COUNTRY, they would rather not follow the TRADITION… and that must be respected.
The fact is that kneeling before the flag DOES NOT DISRESPECT the flag…it’s an act of humility. It does however threaten a man-made tradition.
Remember this. The ‘fathers’ of this country were great, wise men, but they weren’t ‘holy’. The fact that swearing an oath on the same bible that explicitly forbids swearing oaths is an established tradition that is in direct conflict with the word of God…but instead of immediately stopping it, well-meaning Christians begin looking for reasons to justify the TRADITION.
Matthew 5:33-37 (NKJV)
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of [a]old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let [b]your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
It proves that many people living today would have sided with the Pharisees.
It’s arrogant for one to determine someone else’s patriotism or loyalty because they choose a posture other than the ‘tradition’, even if it’s to draw attention to a cause they feel is important.
Even the Boston Tea Party, which is revered as a heroic act of patriotism was really an act of vandalism that was meant to be blamed on Native Americans. It’s all about the narrative. One can’t celebrate that act while vilifying a contemporary apples-to-apples comparison.
Patriotism isn’t determined by POSTURE!
Watch the comments, someone is going to question my patriotism because I felt led to write this piece.
YAH bless America in the name of Yeshua the Messiah!
If my blog blesses you, I gladly accept donations of $2 or less. 1 Corinthians 9:14 (CJB) 14 In the same way, the Lord directed that those who proclaim the Good News should get their living from the Good News.