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.
Ephesians Chapter 5 is one of the most powerful scriptures that gives the true meaning for good preaching beyond salvation…
Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJV)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
In short, good preaching not only saves the soul, but equips God’s people to be mature, productive, in agreement and not easily swayed.
The scripture above defines ‘good preaching’, but unfortunately the opinion of ‘good preaching’ depends on the church culture. And, unfortunately, good preaching to many isn’t defined by the content, but by the delivery.
Yes, a good preacher has to be able to engage the audience and keep their attention, but there is a thin line sometimes between PREACHING and PERFORMANCE.
I’m also a firm believer that charisma helps a preacher be effective in delivery…
We must not confuse charisma with anointing. Some people can get up and recite “Mary Had a Little Lamb” with such passion and exuberance that they can have a room full of people shouting…at nothing.
Here are 4 quick ways to tell PREACHING from a PERFORMANCE
Have you ever heard a sermon that didn’t have a scriptural foundation? A text? What was that? It was nothing more than a motivational speech or a pep talk.
Beware of sermons that either have…
Not enough scripture…
Or, twisted scripture…
Remember, a sermon without a strong scriptural foundation is nothing more than a motivational speech or a pep talk…which have their place. But real preaching…
Sometimes upsets us…
It doesn’t JUST make us feel good and entertain us…ALL the time.
CLICHES & CONJECTURE
As I said in a previous post, that a well-placed cliché can enhance a sermon and really help engage the listeners. However, be very careful when you’re listening to a sermon that is…
FULL of clichés…
Full of the popular religious catch phrases of the time…
Full of language that is only intended for emotionalism and not edification.
You have to read the bible for yourself so you can know what’s scripture and what’s a cliché. I once heard someone say, “Like the bible says, give them their flowers while they live”…uhhh, that’s NOT in the bible.
You have to study the word for yourself so you can watch out for putting too much of personal opinion into how the scriptures are interpreted. To make sure the sermon is not full of conjecture and conclusions based on the preachers opinion rather than inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
DID IT APPEAL TO YOUR FLESH OR YOUR SPIRIT?
Yes, God wants us to have a good life on this earth. Yes, God wants us to enjoy ourselves according to His will.
But, be careful about sermons that ONLY appeal to ‘the good life here’. Be careful of sermons that only appeal to please your flesh and not strengthen your spirit. Many prosperity preachers have congregations full of weak and ineffective believers because they never hear…
The consequences of sin…
The consequences of bad decisions…
The necessity of self-denial and denial of flesh…
The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross…
LEAVE OUT/ OR MISREPRESENT JESUS
Have you ever sat through an entire message only to not hear the mention of Jesus Christ once? That’s not preaching. In fact, the Apostle Paul warned the Galatians of those who come preaching “another gospel”…
Galatians 1:8-9 (NKJV)
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Again, as sermon that leaves out Jesus Christ is nothing more than a motivational or inspirational speech…not preaching. Sometimes this is meant to entertain, or convey what the preacher wanted to say…rather than what God wanted the people to hear.
Listen carefully at how Jesus is presented. Jesus is the Living Word, the Son of the Living God…He and the Father are One.
Be very careful about those who present Him as a ‘genie in a bottle’ who is on standby waiting to do what you want. Again, those messages are meant to appeal to your flesh.
I AM NOT CONDEMNING CHARISMATIC PREACHERS…
There is nothing wrong with a preacher who can with great energy and charisma deliver a message in a matter that the congregation is entertained as well as edified is fine…but real preaching has substance.
Too many people who call themselves Christians have a perverted view of strength.
They equate being proud, angry, loud, aggressive, insulting, retaliatory, impulsive, impatient, mean, ruthless, hard-hearted, violent and unforgiving to being strong…
While equating being humble, meek, quiet, patient, kind, gentle, self-controlled, merciful, willing to yield, soft-hearted, forgiving and turning the other cheek to being weak.
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.
On social media and verbally, people brag about how easy it is for them to…
Cut people off…
Hold onto a grudge…
Revert back to their less patient, less forgiving, more hard-hearted and ready to ‘strike-back’ self.
They say, “You don’t know who I used to be” with pride rather than regret.
They boast, “I haven’t always been saved”.
They assert, “I can come down to your level.”
They lament about not being able to ‘cuss you out’, and brag about how they would have ‘back in the day’.
They infer that in some situations, they have to let Satan handle it instead of God through their behavior.
All-the-while these people who claim to be in the Body of Christ are impressed by people who ‘keep it real’ and say ‘just what’s on their mind’, even though the word of God prohibits that behavior…
Proverbs 29:11 (NKJV)
11 A fool vents all his feelings,[a] But a wise man holds them back.
When called out on either engaging in or celebrating overly assertive behavior that clearly doesn’t meet God’s expectations, they quickly want to call out Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) turning over money changers in the temple…as if that was an example of strong behavior, but allowing Himself to be beaten and hung on the cross wasn’t.
But, even when the Lord was turning over money changers, He didn’t strike one person. New Testament Christians love to revert to the violent Old Testament to justify their visceral behavior rather than the New Testament that doesn’t give ONE example of Jesus allowing us to violently respond…
Matthew 5:38-40 (NLV)
38 “You have heard that it has been said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not fight with the man who wants to fight. Whoever hits you on the right side of the face, turn so he can hit the other side also. 40 If any person takes you to court to get your shirt, give him your coat also.
When challenging so-called ‘strong words’, too many people mention when Jesus was calling the Pharisees hypocrites, a brood of vipers and sharply rebuking them, as if remaining silent before Pilate wasn’t strength.
People brag, “MY CUT-OFF GAME IS SO STRONG!”
People are competitive about how assertive and aggressive they can be to ‘get ahead’ in the world.
What if people bragged, “MY FORGIVENESS AND KINDNESS GAME IS SO STRONG!”
What if people were competitive about how gentle and willing to yield they can be to ‘get ahead’ in the Kingdom of God?
God doesn’t conform to the demands of our culture and standards…
We conform to His.
Matthew 5:5 (NKJV)
5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the [a]earth.
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.
In His darkest moment, those closest to Him abandoned Him…
Matthew 26:31 (NKJV)
Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
But, I think that Jesus was cool with that. I know He wasn’t surprised. It was prophesied and He knew they would all scatter.
He knew Peter would follow, but far away. He knew he would deny Him three times to the point of cursing…
Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”
Many times, in the comfort and conveniences of our 21st Century lifestyles, we will read about or hear in a sermon about the disciples scattering and deserting Jesus just before He went to the cross. We may even think to ourselves, “What a shame”.
We may wonder what we would have done had we been in that situation. I can quickly and confidently answer that…we would have done the same thing.
How do I know that?
Because it was God’s will that they scatter.
What could they have done to prevent Jesus’ crucifixion? Nothing…because it was God’s will.
What good would it have done if they had died with Him, because that’s exactly what would have happened had they stood with Him.
Had they stood with Jesus at that time and were crucified with Him, how would we have gotten the Gospels? Who would have told us of what they experienced while they were with Him?
He was preparing them to spread the Gospel, not to die with Him.
He was preparing them to GO….not DIE….at least not yet.
Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Think about it like this…
Jesus could have stayed here longer. He could have put off the cross until His disciples were stronger…but He didn’t.
Jesus left them while they were WEAK enough to scatter and desert Him, but STRONG enough to get it back together and continue.
I believe that Christ was glad they scattered.
So, stop worrying about those who have…
Stop and look for God in it.
The next time that someone leaves you…look for God in it.
And, remember, that sometimes we must share in His sufferings…
Romans 8:17 (NKJV)
And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Yes, they scattered and deserted Him, but that’s not how the story ended…And, that’s why I believe that Jesus was glad they left Him alone.
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.
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.
Most of us lead very busy lives. How many times have you thought, said or heard someone say…I don’t have time to read, or study my bible, pray or go to church?
How many feel that God happily accepts being an after thought or ignored?
How many feel it’s okay to say you believe, but never live like God is real or like they are in true relationship with Him?
How many people say through…
Youth Sports and Activities…
Even church activities…
That they don’t have time for God, prayer, reading and studying their bible or worship?
The truth is that God doesn’t give us blessings to replace Him.
Our blessings should never become barriers or burdens to our relationship with Him.
Here are a few simple, easy suggestions to carve out quality time with God.
1. WHEN YOU CAN’T SLEEP AT NIGHT
We all have those nights when we can’t sleep. You may not even necessarily be worried. You may be excited about the next day. You may have awaken to use the bathroom and couldn’t go back to sleep. For whatever reason, you just lie there in the bed. You may turn on the television. Maybe God is trying to squeeze in some quality time with you before you get busy during the day. It’s the ideal time to be close to Him. No distractions. No noise. Just you and God. You can lie there and pray…get on your knees…get up and lift up your hands and praise God…You can go outside and adore His awesome creation…You can read your bible, or even study a specific topic. God can give you fresh revelation during these intimate times. You will find yourself feeling so much closer to Him, but most of all you will please and bless Him. Best of all, you will find yourself yawning and going back into a wonderful restful sleep for the rest ot the night (or morning).
Psalm 16:7 (NKJV)
7 I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
Psalm 63:6 (NKJV)
6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
2. WHEN YOU FIRST WAKE UP
I used to be in the habit of going to the gym early in the morning to start my day. I would say a short prayer and then go ‘work out my body’. I ruptured my Achilles tendon one day and found myself in a boot and a cast for several months. Not much later, God cultivated out of that the practice of going outside on my porch, and spending rich quality time in prayer and praise before I do anything else. I replaced worshiping my flesh in a sense with worshiping Him. Now, you don’t have to go outside, but it’s not difficult to kneel and pray as soon as you wake up. Before you drink your coffee. Before you watch the news. Before you check your social media. I think it is a foolish thing to begin the day without submitting ourselves to and talking to God first. Even if you don’t get on your knees…lie in your bed…get up and bow your head…lift up holy hands…just make sure your heart is humble and your prayer is sincere and not rushed.
Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)
63 O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
3. WHEN YOU ARE USING THE BATHROOM IN THE MORNING.
This is something we all have to do when we wake up. Keep a bible in the bathroom, or use your bible app on your phone. This is another time when you are alone and can choose a verse of the day on which to meditate or even read a chapter each morning. A verse of the day is good for memory or meditation, but it should never take the place of real in-depth bible study. God doesn’t mind you making His word #1 while you do #2.
4. THANK GOD FOR AND BLESS EVERY MEAL (EVEN SNACKS)
Make it a point to thank God for every meal you eat. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out prayer, but a sincere thank you for the awesome blessing of having food to eat. Don’t be ashamed to thank Him for your food while you are in public…at lunch with co-workers…at a lunch meeting. Also, it’s very important to bless each meal and ask God that it nourish your body and not harm it. Much of our food we don’t prepare ourselves and we don’t know how it could harm are bodies…Always bless every meal and shack.
1 Timothy 4:4-5 (NKJV)
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
5. WHILE YOU’RE DRINKING YOUR COFFEE
Whether you have a relaxing cup of coffee, tea, juice or whatever your morning beverage may be, it’s an ideal time to read God’s word…pray…or even praise God each morning. What do you read or watch while you sip on your coffee? Why not make it God’s word?
6. WHILE CHECKING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STATUS
How many times a day do your check your social media? Many people check their’s as soon as they wake up…then claim they don’t have time to read the bible. Check out what God has posted in His word before you check out what’s going on in social media. There’s nothing wrong with checking you Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever. Of, course there are even devotionals on there just like this one, but never let it take the place of reading and studying your bible.
7. DURING YOUR LUNCH BREAK AT WORK OR AFTERNOON BREAK
Your lunch break is your time. Why not dedicate a few moment of it, or even an entire lunch break once a week to reading and studying God’s word. You can even volunteer at a mission or serve others in some way during your lunch break from time to time. It’s just another opportunity to spend quality time with God during your day. To prove to Him and yourself that you really value time with Him and love Him. You will find it to be not a burden or task, but a time of refreshing and fellowship to help you stay focused and make it through the rest of the day.
8. TAKE A VACATION DAY JUST TO SPEND WITH GOD
Most of us have vacation days. Have you ever taken a vacation day just to spend in prayer, study, praise and fellowship with God? Devoting one of your vacation days to God is an awesome mini-sabbatical opportunity to grow closer to the God of our salvation through our Lord and Savior, Yeshua, Jesus Christ.
9. LISTEN TO GOSPEL MUSIC SOMETIMES OTHER THAN IN WORSHIP
Of course there’s nothing wrong with fun music or love songs as long as they don’t contain ungodly lyrics. But, there’s a world of good Gospel music of every genre that you can use to turn your leisure time into worship time. It doesn’t have to be a hymnal. Like my wife, Gospel Jazz Artist Mechelle Johnson (Yep that’s a plug:-) But, good Gospel music is another way to help stay focused while you work or play.
God knows that we make time for what and who are important to us. These are just a few suggestions of how to make more time for God. There’s no excuse to say we are too busy for Him.
Proverbs 3:6 (NKJV)
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct[a] your paths.
Asking forgiveness isn’t repentance. In fact, God doesn’t emphasize asking Him for forgiveness as much as He does telling us to confess our sins (Psalm 32:5, Psalm 38:18, 1 John 1:9) — then He will forgive us. Yes, we should ask God for His forgiveness, but He knows that words are cheap. How many times have you asked for forgiveness only to do it again…and sometimes again and again and again?
God demands repentance.
Repentance doesn’t begin with your MOUTH it begins with your MIND
Look at how God beautifully defines repentance and then gives us a beautiful promise through the prophet Isaiah. There are others like 2 Chronicles 7:14 and 2 Corinthians 7:10, but I love the way God says it here…I’m just going to let you read it and allow it bless you because the Word speaks for itself.
Isaiah 55:6-7 (NKJV)
6 SEEK THE LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked FORSAKE HIS WAY, And the unrighteous man HIS THOUGHTS; Let him RETURN to the Lord, And He WILL HAVE MERCY on him; And to our God, For He WILL ABUNDANTLY PARDON.
Most cake recipes call for a little salt. Many of us like to satisfy our sweet tooth with a good slice of cake. In fact, when it’s really good, one bite just makes you want another. The right amount of salt makes cakes taste just right…making you want more with each bite. However, too much salt will make us quickly spit it out of our mouth.
Colossians 4:6 tells us to let our speech be full of grace and seasoned with salt. Ecclesiastes 7:16 says, “Do not be overly righteous,” Nor be overly wise:..”
It’s good to have passion for the Kingdom of God, but when we are over-zealous, arrogant, mean-spirited self-righteous, we can turn people away rather than attract them to Christ. All things in moderation. If we are trying to talk about the Lord in EVERY conversation, claim we never do anything wrong, or down people who are unbelievers, we can make people avoid us, dread seeing us coming and destroy any influence we may have. But, if we cleverly chose the right moments to ‘sprinkle the salt of the word’ when it’s applicable, people are more likely to listen, receive it, and even soften hardened hearts.
We need to ‘love out loud’ and ‘live out loud’ to let people see God in our character rather than beating them with the bible, making every conversation about God, or punctuating every sentence with a spiritual cliché. Wisely ‘sprinkling the salt’ of God’s word in conversations can make people hungry for more, and establish you as the go-to person on your job, your team, your school, your family when people want to know more about God. Being over zealous makes us seem crazy, and people can conclude, “I don’t want what they have.” God expects us to use wisdom and do everyone His Spirit of excellence. Notice how Paul reasoned with the Epicureans, Stoics, and people of Athens with respect and wisdom in Acts 17. He didn’t ‘beat them over the head’ or talk down to them. He wetted their appetite so that some wanted to hear more.
Psalm 19:10 proclaims God’s word is sweeter than honey in the comb. Yes it is! I love it. But if we don’t handle it wisely, people will spit it out, and we can do more harm than good.
How many times have you prayed and God answered your prayers?
He’s done it more times than I can count, sometimes prayers that were for me and sometimes prayers I have made for others.
What unbelievers, skeptics, and critics call COINCIDENCE…believers call CONFIRMATION.
But, one of the things I really love about God is when He sometimes hits the bullseye by answering a prayer so specifically that there is absolutely no way it can be a coincidence.
Every now and then God does something completely amazing to be a reminder in your moments of doubt so that they don’t become seasons of doubt.
How about stopping what you’re doing right now and give Him some love by praising Him. Tell Him thank you! Tell Him you love Him! And, tell Him you trust Him I’m the name of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
Psalm 28:6-7 (NKJV)
6 Blessed be the Lord, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications! 7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.
Have you ever noticed how a negative person can sap the energy out of a room? Have you ever noticed how negativity can steal the joy from a moment? Have you ever noticed how a person who complains can convince a person who is completely content and satisfied to be unhappy?
Remember that God had promised Israel victory, but they had to go in and claim the Promised Land that He had committed to giving them. As they travelled in the wilderness, Moses sent out spies to ‘check out the land’. To make a long story short, Joshua and Caleb brought back positive news in the form of a good report. However, the other spies brought back negative news and pessimism in the form of a ‘bad report’…
Numbers 13:21-33 (NKJV)
21 So they went up and spied out the land from the Wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, near the entrance of Hamath. 22 And they went up through the South and came to Hebron; Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 Then they came to the [a]Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs. 24 The place was called the Valley of [b]Eshcol, because of the cluster which the men of Israel cut down there. 25 And they returned from spying out the land after forty days.
26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly [c]flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb quieted thepeople before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the [d]giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like[e] grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
Numbers 14:1-4 (NKJV)
14 So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why has the Lord brought us to this land to [a]fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”
This pessimism and negativity pissed off the God of our Salvation because it discouraged the people! It pissed Him off A LOT!
Numbers 14:11-25 (NKJV)
11 Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject[a] Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the [b]signs which I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”
13 And Moses said to the Lord: “Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them, 14 and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, Lord, are among these people; that You, Lord, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying, 16 ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’ 17 And now, I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying, 18 ‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’ 19 Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”
20 Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; 21 but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord— 22 because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 they certainly shall not see the landof which I [c]swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. 24 But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. 25 Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.”
How many times have you negatively influenced someone who was perfectly content? How many times have you spread the contagious spirit of negativity?
God gets just as angry now as He did then. As a matter of fact, His extreme judgments in the Old Testament are recorded for us as examples of how angry pessimism, negativity and complaining makes Him…
1 Corinthians 10:1-10 (NKJV)
10 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us [a]tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
As much as we are working hard to prevent the spread of contagious diseases, please make sure that you aren’t responsible for contributing to the pandemic of pessimism.
The enemy doesn’t mind you going to church as long as you take him with you. He wants to distract and infect your worship. One way he achieves this is through division in the local church. Division in the Body of Christ is strictly forbidden, and is sin…
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, FACTIONS
1 Corinthians 1:10
10 “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
We as people tend to want to be in groups of people with either common interests, or people who can benefit us. Sometimes these groups can form in the church with an unwillingness to let others in…that’s a CLIQUE (FACTION) .
Church can become like high school – The Cool Kids, The Jocks, The Nerds…
Church can become like the outside world – The Haves and The Have Nots…
Church can become like the secular (or Christian) music industry – Pastor, his Entourage, his Groupies and Fans…
Are you in one of these CLIQUES?
These are all distractions from the enemy to make our churches carnal, unfruitful and unproductive.
Don’t let your small group, your ministry group, your choir, your circle of friends be a CLIQUE in disguise.
Clique- ‘ISH’ even tried to creep into the early church…
1 Corinthians 11:18-22
18 “For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.”
The Body of Christ is one body with many members (1 Corinthians 12:12) and EVERYBODY IS SOMEBODY!
Even though we as people have a tendency to be CLIQUE-‘ISH’…. we need to keep that CLIQUE-‘ISH’ out of God’s church.!
We encourage others when we testify of the depths of sin from which God delivered us… when we admit how low we allowed the devil to convince us to go. It can help others who are going through the same struggles, but be careful…especially with the details.
You must use wisdom, discernment and discretion when sharing your ‘testimony’. You don’t have to and sometimes can’t tell ALL YOUR BUSINESS and give all the details when sharing your lowest and worst. Why?
Because just as others can and will draw strength from your story of ‘how low you allowed yourself to go’, and how God delivered you…others can and will be discouraged or feel justified in their sin.
Some details are best not shared.
Some experiences that God allowed to remain secret, should remain secret.
We all know that Saul/Paul persecuted the church, but God didn’t give us all of the details.
We all know that Saul/Paul had a ‘thorn in the flesh’, but God didn’t allow us to know what it was.
We all know that Peter denied Christ, but we don’t know any of his other sins.
Think how Paul expressed his internal battle with good and evil…
Romans 7:15-20 (NKJV)
15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is 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.
Some people aren’t concerned about the spiritual lesson in your story, they’re just nosey.
Yes, we should encourage others who can benefit from what we’ve gone through, but pray for wisdom in what needs to remain between you and God.
Anyone who reads my writing knows I love to clarify anything that can be misunderstood or twisted. Anyone who has read my writing or watched any of our #SONdayBlessing videos knows I love, cherish, respect and honor my wife. I consider us to be equals in our marriage and I am fully aware of God telling us in 1 Peter that we are to honor our wives, and not doing so can hinder our prayers…
1 Peter 3:7 (NKJV)
7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
I am fully aware and happily accept the husband’s responsibility to love our wives as Christ loves the church. This is the sacrificial love that’s is defined in Ephesians…
Ephesians 5:25-29 (NKJV)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
That being said, now let us consider what the word of God says in 1 Corinthians Chapter 11…
1 Corinthians 11:8-9 (NKJV)
8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.
I feel that each husband should treat his wife as if she is his QUEEN, and vice versa. However, anyone who believes the bible is the word of God knows what God said before He created woman…
Genesis 2:18 (NKJV)
18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
God created man to be the head. But, as my father-in-law Pastor Lonnie Black has said for years…
“God created man to be the head and not the headache.” Pastor Lonnie Black
We live in a society today that more and more behaves as if man was created for woman than woman for man. That the husband is to submit to his wife, rather than woman submit to her husband.
Even thepopularcliche, HAPPY WIFE, HAPPY LIFE eludes to that.
We live in a society today where the husband is expected to ‘answer to his wife’…to go out of his way to make her happy…to work himself to the bone in order to get her whatever she wants…to submit to her when there is a disagreement…that if a woman allows her husband to ‘tell her what to do’ she is being weak. And, that if a husband isn’t giving his wife everything she desires, he is less than a husband.
Television, film, music and especially reality shows and social media support this (Think of all the “HOUSEWIVES” shows…there’s one to target various cultures). It’s art imitating life and art further shaping behavior and the narrative of male/female relationships.
In a sense, we have made our QUEENS…KINGS.
Marriage is not 50/50, it’s 100/100. It’s woman submitting to her husband’s authority in the home and enjoying his covering and protection. But, at the same time, marriage is the husband not abusing his authority, and considering his wife as an equal in all decisions. However, when decisions are made in the home, God will hold the husband (head) accountable…especially in regard to worship being established.
If you haven’t already, step back and take a look at what’s on television, movies and social media. Listen to much of the popular music these days. Listen to many of the conversations. Many people have gone beyond treating wives like QUEENS, to making them KINGS.
Husbands and wives…let’s be good to one another. Let’s love, trust, honor and support one another, but let’s not forget God’s order.
Have you ever noticed a child throwing a temper tantrum when he or she doesn’t get something that they want? This is a natural reaction that must be overcome as the child matures. The reaction is natural…innate…the child was born with it.
As you know, the debate continues as to whether people are born gay, or is it a choice. The purpose of this article isn’t to debate that question, but to address this fact…
The truth is that we are all born with innate desires, feelings and proclivities that we did not ask for.
Many Christians reason to excuse some behaviors by saying, “I or they was or were born this way”.
This doesn’t mean that God made a mistake because the scripture clearly reminds us that we were all born in sin…
Psalm 51:5 (NKJV)
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
We were all born with desires we didn’t ask for…that doesn’t make them ALL okay. Just because it comes naturally doesn’t make right. Some natural desires we must resist with the help of the Holy Spirit…
…ALL come from natural desires and they are ALL EQUALLY wrong.
Even David, a man after God’s own heart was born with an insatiable desire for women…but that did not make it right or acceptable to God. Those who read the bible know what that led to.
Some people are naturally more greedy, more lustful, more promiscuous, more selfish, more aggressive, more violent that others…does that make it okay? For those who wish to argue these are learned behaviors, some people have these behaviors modeled and ‘learn’ them, while others witnessed these behaviors and didn’t succumb to them.
Pedophiles don’t feel they ‘choose’ to be attracted to children…does that make it okay? No!
The desires of our flesh war against our spirit…and these vary from person to person.
Galatians 5:17 (NKJV)
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.
It is only by walking in the Fruit of the Spirit can we overcome our fleshly desires that displease God.
Galatians 5:16 (NKJV)
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
By the way, calling out something as sin is NOT judging. And, it’s not saying it’s any more wrong than another sin!
That’s why fasting is so powerful. It is a tool we can use to bring our flesh into subjection, overcome our weaknesses and prove to ourselves that our desires won’t rule us. It’s our tool to move those mountains in our lives.
Matthew 17: 20-21
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting
Use this as post ammunition when someone presents to you the argument, “I was born this way, so it can’t be wrong”.
Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s okay.
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who [a]made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 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’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
God also makes it clear that He HATES divorce…
Malachi 2:16 (NKJV)
16 “For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.”
However, as stated above, people divorce for many different reasons…
And of course…
God also clearly says that if one divorces his or her spouse for a reason other than that which God allows commits adultery and causes the one he or she marries to commit adultery…period.
Many Ministers quickly say they would not officiate a homosexual wedding, as I wouldn’t, but I also ask heterosexual couples if they were previously married, and if so, why they got divorced.
Matthew 5:31-32 (KJV)
31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Matthew 19:7-9 (KJV)
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 (NKJV)
10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
That’s very strong and very clear. In God’s view, if one puts away their spouse they are bound. Entering into another marriage is viewed by God as adulterous.
So, ask yourself. Does God accept your marriage, or are you living in adultery?
But, what about the spouse that has been put away and wanted to stay married? Are they bound?
1 Corinthians 7:15 (NKJV)
15 But if the unbeliever departs, let himdepart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.
Here the Apostle Paul is talking about an unbeliever leaving a believing spouse, but it makes it clear that if your spouse leaves you, then you are not bound. (Please read all of 1 Corinthians Chapter 7 for context).
This is a difficult subject, but one that is not discussed enough. God is clear in His word, and He does not expect us to justify fitting it to our will, but we are to submit to His.
So, is adultery when the spouse has asked for forgiveness an excuse for divorce? For more on that topic, read this…
36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Nor do theyl ight a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.16 Let your light so shine before men,that they may see your good works andglorify your Father in heaven.
Hebrews 10:24 (NKJV)
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)
19 Go[a]therefore andmake disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Anyone who believes in God has been asked these questions.
Most if not all believers, if they are willing to admit it to themselves, have asked some of these questions.
Not only are there some difficult things to understand in the Bible, but there are things God does today that are difficult to explain.
Why does God allow babies and children to suffer with terminal illnesses?
Why does the bible not explicitly forbid slavery?
Why does God allow abusive parents to have children, while others who would be loving, nurturing parents to go childless?
Why does God allow some people to be healed but other people, some we would even call ‘good’ people, to not be healed?
Luke 4:27 (NKJV)
27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
There are countless questions that atheists and some believers ask concerning God, either arrogantly or anxiously waiting for answers.
God gave us the example through the Psalms that He will allow us to question Him in humility, as long as we continue to trust Him…
Psalm 13:1-2 (NKJV)
How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death; 4 Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
5 But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 6 I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
If you’re like me, sometimes you feel pressured to give a quick and definite answer to ‘defend’ God. Sometimes you want a definite answer to satisfy yourself.
But the truth is that some things we simply don’t know.
That means sometimes the best answer is…
I DON’T KNOW!
Even those who depend on science to shape their beliefs have to admit that with all of our advances in science and medicine, there is still more that’s unknown than is known.
Scientists still have to sometimes say…
I DON’T KNOW!
Doctors have to sometimes admit…
I DON’T KNOW!
There are times that after a deadly diagnoses that the illness sometimes disappears and the physician has to admit…
I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED!
So, no one should really scoff when a believer says they simply don’t know.
The fact is, there is great peace in admitting that even though you don’t know…you still trust God. He has told us that there are things that will be beyond are human minds, and even science helps prove that. There is much in science well beyond the reach of scientific knowledge.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Don’t deny yourself the blessing and peace of simply saying…”I DON’T KNOW!”
Psalm 131:1 (NKJV)
Lord, my heart is not [a]haughty, Nor my eyes [b]lofty. Neither do I [c]concern myself with great matters, Nor with things too [d]profound for me.
Admitting that you don’t know doesn’t confirm God isn’t God, it just confirms that we are human.
God uses imperfect people to carry out His perfect will. That being said, we know that the church is made up of those imperfect people. It’s unavoidable that the church has historically made some mistakes. What’s important is that we continue to learn from those mistakes…and change.
I feel that one of the most damaging mistakes that’s been made in many churches is about GIVING. I’m not talking about HOW MUCH. I’m talking about WHY?
Too many people have been taught to GIVE SELFISHLY. Too many people have been taught and are being taught to approach God and give carnally. The ‘prosperity’ movement has reduced giving to a selfless act, based on our culture of greed, as a ‘tool’ to get what you want out of life from God. This allows the idolatry (Colossians 3:5) of worshiping oneself to pervert faith. They believe God can do it, but the motivation is wrong.
This actually comes from a biblical truth in the concept of giving when the bible says…
Malachi 3:10-12 (NKJV)
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
Says the Lord of hosts; 12 “And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
Again, this post isn’t about the AMOUNT, but about the WHY. Of course God can and will bless you for giving from the heart, but when they’re honest with themselves…too many people give so they can release the blessings of verses 10 through 12 into THEIR OWN LIVES, “open the windows of heaven”…”pour out a blessing that there will not be room to receive it”, “rebuke the devourer for your sakes”, “all the nations of the world will call you blessed”.
When they’re honest with themselves, many Christians only give so they can get. It is their BLE$$ING bill, their BLE$$ING note…no different than their utility bill, cell phone bill, mortgage, rent, car payment…that if they DON’T give God will cut off their blessings.
They prove this in their behavior. These same people who won’t get caught missing an opportunity to give don’t seem to have a problem with not reading regularly, not praying regularly, not sharing their faith with unbelievers, not being generous beyond what they think is the minimum, not helping those in need, and not even having a regular prayer life.
When we’re honest with ourselves, even when we help others sometimes, we aren’t doing it to be a blessing, but so we can feel good about ourselves, or so others can see what we’ve done. A good example…so many people rush to feed those in need in shelters during Thanksgiving, as if these people don’t need to eat 365 days per year. Jesus clearly tells us that when we do things for our own glory, that we have already received our reward…
Matthew 6:1-2 (NKJV)
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
Does that mean that it’s always wrong to share when you’ve blessed someone? No, because we are told to let our light shine…however God also knows the reason why we shared it.
We must always be honest with ourselves of even why we do good.
God wants us to give unselfishly, wishing for nothing in return. He wants us to give to fund the growth of His Kingdom in the earth. He wants us to give to simply plant seeds of His love. He wants us to give to be A BLESSING and not ONLY TO BE BLESSED.
Look at some of the verses concerning unselfish giving, and think of how infrequently you hear some of them or all of them…
Luke 6:34-35 (NKJV)
34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
2 Corinthians 9:5-15 (NKJV)
5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God I sable to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:
10 Now may[c] He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men,14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
Ephesians 4:28 (NKJV)
28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
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?
There are many more verses where God makes it clear that we should give unselfishly.
Yes, we should always be obedient and give as God told us to do. We should be generous as God told us to be.
But, we must always be honest with ourselves as to why we’re giving or being generous…because He already knows.
The rich young ruler in the books of Matthew 19 and Mark 10 told Jesus that he kept all of the commandments from his youth up, but the Lord quickly reminded him that he was lacking something.
That’s true for all of us. No matter how much we may try to live upright, we will always remain lacking in some area.
You may not be a fornicator, an adulterer, a drunk, a murderer…you may go to church every time the doors open. You may be very generous in your giving …
BUT DO YOU COMPLAIN?
God HATES complaining. He doesn’t hate complainers, but He does hate it when we complain. One of Israel’s greatest, most consistent sins while in the wilderness was that of complaining and murmuring. In fact, it was their complaining that made an 11-day trip last 40 years.
God hates complaining so much he allowed His own children to suffer death to serve as an example of the level of judgment that complaining deserves…
1 Corinthians 10:10 (NKJV)
10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
But, don’t we have a right to complain sometimes? Especially when some things are beyond our control? Why does God hate complaining so much?
HERE ARE 7 REASONS WHY GOD HATES COMPLAINING SO MUCH…
1.COMPLAINING IS THE OPPOSITE OF THANKSGIVING
It doesn’t get more clear than this…
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Plain and simple…God expects us to be thankful and content in all things (Philippians 4:11-13). There is not one situation when one is complaining that they could not instead find a reason to give thanks or praise. In all of the Psalms where the psalmist was questioning God about troubles did the Psalm not end with praise and thanks giving. (Psalm 6, Psalm 13, Psalm 35, Psalm 94 are just a few). There is a difference in a humble lamentation and an arrogant complaint.
2. COMPLAINING POISONS YOUR ATTITUDE
If we’re honest with ourselves, complaining never makes us feel better. To the contrary if we’re angry it makes us more angry. If we’re frustrated it makes us more frustrated, if we’re discontent it makes us more discontent. Whatever our negative attitude, complaining just makes it more negative. Most of the time we even wear it on our expressions. We look angry and unsatisfied. It takes us from beyond a bad mood to a bad attitude. When we have a bad attitude long enough, it becomes our character…more on that in a moment.
3. COMPLAINING INFECTS THE ATTITUDES OF OTHERS
How many times have you felt perfectly fine and content about something or someone until someone complained? Complaining is contagious. When we share our negative discontent it can have the same negative affect on someone else’s attitude as well, especially if they are spiritually or emotionally weak.
When we spread discontent, animosity or just a negative attitude we become a stumbling block, and we must always remember that is something that the Lord hates too…
Matthew 18:6 (NKJV)
6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
4. COMPLAINING IMPLIES WE DON’T TRUST GOD
This is huge! God had led Israel and promised them ‘a land flowing with mild and honey’. However, when things got tough, they continually complained and lamented that they wished they had never left Egypt.
Exodus 14:12 (NKJV)
12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”
Exodus 16:3 (NKJV)
3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Complaining in difficult circumstances said to God then and still does today, that we don’t trust Him. Remember that through everything that Job went through did he never BLAME God of charge Him foolishly (Job 1:22).
Even if our circumstances are beyond our control, we must remember that God is sovereign to do what He pleases with His creation for however it suits His divine purpose, and we must trust Him in that.
5. GOD TAKES IT PERSONAL WHEN WE COMPLAIN AGAINST HIS ANOINTED
It’s God’s prerogative to choose whom He pleases to lead His people. Even though these leaders are mere men and women, He still expects us to submit to them. Notice God’s level of anger when the people murmured against Moses and Aaron…
41 On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.” 42 Now it happened,when the congregation had gathered against Moses and Aaron, that they turned toward the tabernacle of meeting; and suddenly the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. 43 Then Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of meeting. 44 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. 46 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the Lord. The plague has begun.” 47 Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people.
We must be very careful of what we say about a man or woman of God, even when they make a mistake or have a human moment. Notice that God did not tell David that he could no longer be king even after he slept with Uriah’s wife and then had him killed (2 Samuel 12). David suffered the consequences, but that did not disqualify his anointing.
6. COMPLAINING SHIFTS RESPONSIBILITY FROM OURSELVES
When I’m honest with myself. Much of what I complain about is the consequences of my own mistakes and actions. Yes, there are things that happen beyond our control. Misfortunes, storms, sicknesses etc. But, many times we will find ourselves complaining about relationships, jobs, purchases, situations and circumstances that either we prayed for or God gave us to benefit us.
As early as in the garden of Eden, rather than accept his responsibility for choosing to eat the fruit himself, Adam blamed his wife…
Genesis 3:12 (NKJV)
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.
7. COMPLAINING LEAVES A BAD TESTIMONY
As I mentioned earlier, when we express our dissatisfaction through complaining, and a negative mood and attitude, it can become our character. This is very important…
God expects us to set the standard of how to handle difficult circumstances.
When we react with negativity we have allowed that to become our testimony in that situation. When we allow our complaints to become go beyond moods to attitudes, we can allow that to become or come across as our character, especially in the limited context of other people’s exposure to us, or what they hear about us. Our character or perceived character can become our testimony.
Once we have mishandled a negative situation, our reputation may never recover. We don’t want that to become our testimony.
So, what to you do when you have a legitimate ‘complaint’?
Remember this. It’s not necessarily the fact that you disagree that makes it a complaint. It’s the fact that you disagree negatively. That you express your discontent or lament in a spirit of HUMILITY AND POSITIVITY.
There’s a difference in negative discontent and positive discontent.
Pray to God for the wisdom to handle your negative circumstances with grace and in a positive manner, and don’t get caught up in the sometimes overlooked sin of complaining.
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!
But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— 2 from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love.
Anyone who reads the bible knows that King Solomon is recognized as the wisest man who every lived. They also know that he loved women and had many wives and concubines. So, it very be easily concluded that Solomon’s sex drive and love for women was a weakness. He allowed the women he loved to compromise his devotion to God – the wisest man who ever lived.
King Solomon’s wisdom was his greatest strength. His sex drive was his greatest weakness. And, both of them were given to him by God.
We all have strengths and weaknesses that are God given.
I’m not as organized as I would like to be, and when I put great effort into becoming more organized…I find myself slipping back into being less organized (notice how I’m trying to avoid saying unorganized:-)
I also don’t have much rhythm. As much as I try, there are some things that I just can’t do well physically (dancing for example). I am however very strong physically.
I was born with those weaknesses. I didn’t ask for them. They’re innate…
God gave them to me.
I believe that just the same as we have physical weaknesses, we also have spiritual weaknesses. We have weaknesses in our personalities. Some have difficulty paying attention. Some are naturally poor with words, and have trouble relating with others. Some are naturally poor with numbers and can’t manage money well, no matter how hard they try. Some have learning disabilities, even if the disabilities aren’t severe, they could still be considered a weakness. Some people are poor listeners and have trouble staying focused. The ‘weaknesses’ I’m talking about are things that can’t be taught. They are just a part of who we are. Just as I mentioned about Solomon, some have an unquenchable sexual appetite, that they didn’t ask for. Some have an attraction to the same sex, that they didn’t ask for. Some have a natural propensity for violence…that they didn’t even necessarily learn.
What is your weakness? What are your weaknesses?
The good news is that God is greater than any weakness that He gave us. God can bless you and you can be a blessing to others in spite of your weaknesses.
Moses wasn’t an eloquent speaker. In fact, he considered it to be a weakness. God didn’t allow the weakness He GAVE Moses to get in the way of his purpose…
Exodus 4:10 (NKJV)
10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I amslow of speech and slow of tongue.”
Remember, what the Apostle Paul had a weakness that he didn’t ask for. God gave it to Him, but also remember…
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV)
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. God can and will bless us and use us in spite of your weaknesses!
God wants us and others can know that every blessing, every success, every victory, is because of him and not ourselves. He wants us to bring Him glory and that any glory we have is through Him.
Just as Paul said, when we work through our weaknesses, God’s power is resting on us.
He wants to use our weaknesses to show us His power so we can lean on Him, depend on Him, trust Him and love Him.
Anyone and everyone that you know who is successful has multiple weaknesses. We spend so much time focusing on their strengths, talents and abilities that we think make them successful that we don’t notice their weaknesses…unless one of their weaknesses causes them to fall.
Yes, you are far from perfect, but so is every person that God has ever used.
God fulfills His perfect will through imperfect people.
So, acknowledge your weaknesses that God gave you. Pray for God to help you with them and through them. Leverage your strengths to God’s glory.
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 to STOP 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.
Sometimes it’s difficult to explain how our invisible God can be everywhere at the same time, or omnipresent.
Maybe this example will help.
Where is the internet?
On your smartphone?
On your laptop?
On your tablet?
Is the internet in the air?
Is it in Indiana, Idaho, India or the International Space Station?
Do we have to take turns to access the internet or can we all connect at the same time?
Just because you can’t see it, taste it, touch it or hear it…does that mean the NETWORK isn’t there. Yes, you see the evidence there is a network through the information, videos or audio files…but you can’t see the actual network.
If you can understand how the invisible internet can be OMNIPRESENT in a sense, then you can understand how our invisible God, our Elohim, the Father of our Lord and Savior Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ, can be everywhere at the same time.
It’s very easy to take our blessings for granted. Especially the blessings that some of us might call ‘the little things’…like water.
Plenty of water…
Anytime you want it.
There are many people in this world who consider clean water to be a luxury.
There are many people in this world who bathe and drink from the same water that animals drink from.
They just want clean, easily accessible water to drink and bathe in.
But, so many of us don’t only have plenty of water to drink, we can sometimes catch ourselves saying “There’s nothing here to drink,” if there is no juice, soda, wine, beer, or Kool-Aid in the house because we don’t want water.
So many of us have enough water to water our lawns.
So many of us have enough water to wash our cars.
So, the next time you get ready to wash your car or drive through a car wash, stop and thank God for enough water for this task that could be considered by those who don’t have enough as vain.
Then say a prayer for those who can’t go to the faucet and turn on the fresh, clean water.
Exodus 17 (NKJV)
17 Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, “Give us water, that we may drink.”
So Moses said to them, “Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the Lord?”
3 And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”
4So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone[a] me!”
5And the Lord said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with yousome of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”
And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 So he called the name of the place Massah[b] and [c]Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they [d]tempted the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
God teaches us in His word that wise counsel is priceless…
Proverbs 19:20-21 (NKJV)
20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days.
21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
It’s good to get the benefit from the experience of others. But do you know anyone whose advice you really don’t want? Why? How do people feel about taking advice from you? Why?
Do people make any of these statements about you?
Is _____________ going to be there?
Is______________ going with us?
Are you inviting _________________?
Oh no! Here comes _______________?
HERE ARE 5 REASONS WHY PEOPLE MAY NOT WANT TO TAKE YOUR ADVICE…
1. YOU CAN’T HAVE A CONVERSATION WITHOUT GIVING ADVICE…
Some people don’t know how to have a conversation without giving advice. I know a young man who didn’t have his father around when he grew up. All the men in his life felt they had to mentor him. That’s fine, but not all the time.! They would never just laugh and talk. Never could just tell jokes. And, if jokes were told, it was about how the young man wasn’t doing something right. “If I were you I would…”, “When are you going to…”, “Ha, Ha, Ha, that’s not how you do that, here let me show you…” He got to the point that he dreaded when they came around. “Oh know, here comes Uncle ________” he thought. Remember this. Every moment doesn’t have to be a teaching moment. Every situation doesn’t have to be a lesson. And, people don’t learn by making fun of what they do wrong.
2. YOU AREN’T A GOOD EXAMPLE…
I had a barber once who loved to give advice about healthy eating. That was fine be he couldn’t cut my hair without his stomach rubbing against me. I also have an acquaintance who is always full of financial advice, but he is not doing very well financially himself. And, most parents get frustrated when people who have never had children try to advice them how to raise their children. I’m not saying people with children can’t give advice, or that you can’t learn from someone else’s financial mistakes, or that someone overweight can’t advice someone else on how to lose weight. But, I am saying that
3. YOU ARE ARROGANT & CONDESCENDING…
Yes, we see your level of success. Yes, we see that you’ve made great decisions. But, know we aren’t looking for advice every time you come around. Because when you give that advice you act as though everyone else is so stupid. When you give advice you belittle what they have done well. When you give advice, your tone is so mean that your advice goes unheard.
4. YOU USE IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BRAG ABOUT YOURSELF & FEED YOUR OWN EGO…
These people really aren’t concerned about helping you, they just want an opportunity to glorify themselves. No, we are not interested in how well you planned, how smart you were, or how hard you worked. Because guess what, we planned carefully too. We made intelligent decisions too. We worked very hard too, but sometimes things just don’t work out. Ask any entrepreneur who had a strong business plan, researched their market, sacrificed for their business, put in ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ and because of factors beyond their control, things didn’t work out.
I’m not saying that unsolicited isn’t good sometimes, but most of the time, if people want your advice, they will ask you. If you notice that someone needs some help and aren’t willing to ask, find a way to BE an example of the behavior that you feel could benefit from their experience. Be creative. Pray and ask God for wisdom, or even let the know you’re available if needed, but blurting out unsolicited advice can be so insulting that it goes unheard.
Remember, advice is only good if it received, so stop, think, and pray before you speak into someone’s life.
The next time you get some unwanted advice, come back to this list to see how many reasons apply.
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.