Friday, August 30, 2013

The trouble is?

Everyone has a problem person in their life, the problem is, most times it's us? Matthew 7:3-4
If we think about that some, we may or may not agree, it depends on where you are with you right now. I have heard it said by many counselors, usually the problem we may have with someone else. Or the thing that aggravates us about someone, is the one thing in us that we do not deal with.

Some examples of this could be in how we drive. Boy can we complain about other drivers! I do personally, somehow, in my mind I am one of the best drivers on the rode. Wrong! I have done some of the same things, change lanes without blinkers on, rush ahead just to turn right away. Be to far over and cross lanes quickly to get to the exit I want.

Anything in just that example spark any memories? I am sure some reading this will say, not me! Well, pay closer attention to yourself for the next few weeks, you may just see. Or have you been shopping and had someone bump you rudely, and they never say excuse me, or pardon me? Yet, have we not at times been in a hurry to get something, and not paying attention bumped someone and moved on?

Pay closer attention over the next few weeks and see if this may not be you. Now I am not saying this happens all the time, but it does happen at one time or another. We need to think about those things. About others that upset us, and even maybe make us angry. Are we, or have we done the very same things to others?

In Matthew 7:3-4, Jesus speaking, "Why do you see the speck that is in your brothers eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?"

Sometimes the problem lies within us, we can be just as aggravating as anyone. I know, most of you out there will say, not me! But, if you will just watch you a little more closely, you may just be surprised at what you allow yourself to get away with. Compared to what you allow others to! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Being a Pastor is much more than a title!

Being a Pastor always takes on a new light once you get past the title. You realize it is more than that, you realize you have been given a task and a gift! A gift to care more, to want more for your church and not just settle. You hunger to learn and grow and draw so much closer to God, that your flock will hunger to do also! 

You realize it's about the whole church and never just part, it takes all the bodies to make it come together. You learn where Pastor begins, and friendship has to take a back seat for a time. You learn how important it is to be able to balance and understand the difference! You learn that your time with God is so important that nothing can take priority over it! 

You learn to rest properly so you can minister functionally. You learn that it is all about God and you are just a small part of that. You are a part of the body that God has called to serve His people with His love and passion, you would do any and all to protect! Truth, trust, integrity, caring, nurturing, training all come with the calling! 

But always, you can never, ever think you can do it all by yourself! You have been blessed with people that God wants to use in the body also, use them! As a shepherd you guide them, encourage them to seek their gifts. You walk along side them on their journey! You want them to have exactly what you do, because that is exactly what Jesus taught! 

Matthew 10:24, 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.

John 21:15-19, 15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time,“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

To be born again the excitement of life!

New birth comes in two ways, you are physically born, and you are spiritually reborn! John 3:5-6
There was this man, his name Nicodemus. He was a religious man yet he was looking for answers to some very important questions he struggled with! Jesus answer to his question was, you must be born again. Nicodemus question, how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mothers womb?

Jesus simple response, "Truly I say to you, unless you are born of water and the spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:5-6

The bottom line was this, unless you believe in Jesus as Savior, by faith, in His death, burial  and His resurrection from the grave. You cannot be born again. Jesus said, " As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life." John 3:14-15

We are born in the flesh, and though a small child, with no idea what the world is about, there is something called sin that has begun at birth to work in us and causes us, as we grow, to do wrong things, and make wrong choices. One example for instance, have you ever watched a small child, when you have told them, don't touch that or else? What happens, as you turn away and just slightly glance back? You see that little defiant hand reaching for the object!

Your response is correcting them to not be disobedient. Basically teaching them the consequences of their actions. Well, the same applies as we grow. We become knowledgeable of right and wrong, and as we choose wrong, it causes us problems. That is sin! And as a consequence of our disobedience, we are punished in one form or another. Something happen inside us that tells us something is wrong, a fight is raging.

Some people will not admit this but others, like Nicodemus, start searching for answers to this battle within them and want to be free from it's torments. That is where Jesus came in and told Nicodemus you must be born again. You must be reborn in the spirit, renewed and refreshed from the inside out. You need a Savior, and that Savior was Jesus. Who bore our sins on the cross and payed our price, took our place, suffered our consequence, that we would not be separated any longer from God.

How does this rebirth take place? Faith, trust, and total belief in Jesus Christ, His death, burial  and resurrection. When we do this, a transformation takes place. When we ask Jesus into our lives the Holy Spirit takes over, sin is driven out and we are renewed, refreshed, restored to genuine fellowship with God! Our lives change, and we no longer want to do those things that have kept us down for so long. 

New birth always brings with it an excitement, an inexpressible joy. When you are holding that little gift, that child God has given. And just like that, when the rebirth takes place, you are born again by the Blood of Jesus sacrifice, an excitement takes over in your life! Like that small child just beginning life, you have been given the same opportunity being born again!

A chance to start fresh, a chance to start new, a chance to begin again, having been given a new life in Christ. A life that does not stop with the grave, but a life of hope, a life of eternal security in Christ to one day rejoice with Him in heaven! Now that is the excitement of life!

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16-ESV  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Do you mean what you say?

When you say what you say, does it actually mean what you say? James 5:12
Truth, is always so important especially in a world that seems to have lost the meaning of truth! You cannot, sad to say trust everyone, even in the body of Christ.The talk does not seem to match the walk at all. The word of God is very plain that our yes should be yes and our no, no!

There should be no confusion, or as much misunderstanding as we have as to how we need to walk and talk with each other! Trust is so important, but with just the wrong words spoken it can be lost that quickly! When our words do not match up to who we are supposed to be in Christ, it causes unnecessary confusion and hurt!

We need to remember, what we say to people, is exactly what they expect to see working in our lives. Not hearing us say one thing, and then seeing us do the complete opposite, this is what we call a type of falsehood or deception. We need to say what we mean, and mean what we say. It needs to match up with who we are in Christ. The one thing we need always remember, God always sees and hears what we say and how we walk.

We need always remember it is God we represent and not just ourselves. We need to remember how we did not like to be deceived and how it felt when we were! God does not want us in this position at all, he wants us to be honest and to love in word and deed! If we feel we need to hold back the complete truth because of hurting someones feelings, we need to commit it to prayer and keep it between God and ourselves.

Than when the time is right you can come to that person and share your heart. They will trust what you say because you are living what you say. They have heard it from you and not through the grapevine, which happens way too much! People out there are still looking for truth, if not in us than who? People need to know there are still people out there that can keep their word!!

James 5:12-"But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your "yes" be yes and your "no" be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation."

Friday, August 23, 2013

Take a deeper look inside before judging anything outside!

When our outward look, is not looking to good, I wonder what our inward look, looks like? Proverbs 27:19
Sometimes what we see on the outside, how our day is going, how our relationships are going, etc.. May truly be just a product for what is going on inside of us. We are very quick to say the day is going bad, things are going wrong. Sometimes we say this daily!

What we may need to do, is take a little deeper look inside ourselves. We may be surprised with what we find. I think more people would amaze themselves, if they took more of a personal inventory, looked more inward, than outward! Most times it is something we have failed to deal with completely. Anger, resentment, jealousy, self-centeredness!

We blame a bad day on everything except what is going on inside of us. Some days are just not as good as others, but what makes it worse may be coming from within? It takes complete honesty, and a good touch of humility to tell yourself, today, could just be a product of what is truly going on inside of me. If we worked on us as hard as we work on them, by the way it is always their fault, I wonder how differently our life and days would go?

Proverbs 27:19 says-"As in water face reflects face, so the hearts of man reflects man."

Matthew 15:18-"But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person."

Luke 6:45-"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaks."

So maybe, just maybe we are where we are right now, not because of what is going on around us, but what is going on inside of us? So before making any judgement call on how bad a day is, or how horrible a person is, or everything always goes wrong for me, stop, take a deeper look in yourself before making any determination on how bad your day is going.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Physical and or spiritual rest, it is needed!

Never underestimate what your body is telling you, if it says stop, slow down, I would!! If you don't, your body will take care of the rest! Matthew 11:28
Jesus said,"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."

The Bible speaks of rest for many reasons, it helps you refocus, and it helps you refresh. We need to do this from time to time, if we do not even our own bodies will take over. God rested from His work in creation on the 7th day (Genesis 2:3) not that God had to rest, but He set in motion the importance of taking time! A time to refresh and renew, revitalize, a time to worship!

It is so important to take a break, all through the Old Testament, and in the New testament it speaks of taking rest. Whether spiritually or physically we need it, we need to do it, if not sickness, stress, worry, just to name a few will creep in and take over! God set an order of things, and one important thing was to, at least take a day and worship, rest.

He set the seventh day apart from all the rest of the week for rest and worship, though some still disagree, that is what Sunday is for. We as Christians celebrate Sunday as our Sabbath rest because Jesus rose On the first day of the week! From that time the church, as it grew, began to meet on the first day of the week. Read through the book of Acts and you will see the transition.

All that said, we are to rest, take a break, give our bodies rest, our land and garden rest. Anything that is overworked will not produce, it is just natural, all needs rest! Somehow we have convinced ourselves, even in the church, that we have to keep going, never stopping, not even to worship and refresh. We wonder why we feel the way we do, run down, sickly, out of sorts have the time.

We need to rest God set it as a natural order of life, if we do not, we get into trouble! I will leave you with a couple scripture references to take a look at I hope you will?

Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:8-11, Leviticus 25:1-7, Matthew 11:28-30, Hebrews 3:7-12, Hebrews 4:1-12, this is just to name a few. Spiritual or physical we need to rest and be renewed some things did not pass away from the OT to the NT! Jesus said I did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Matthew 5:17

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We were not made for that!

Some people no matter what, choose to feel bad. You were not made for that!  Psalm 139:14
King David wrote, "I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well." ESV There were times when David, I am sure felt bad. He put himself in difficult positions and made a very bad choice.

Yet, he knew who he could turn to in his greatest hour of need. Who could lift him out of his feelings of poor self worth. Not to do bad all over again, but to keep him from staying in that feeling bad mode. Sometimes when we make mistakes, we feel we are the mistake, we are not! We are just people who made mistakes in our lives, who need to be lifted up and out of them. Not stay stuck in them.

We were never made to feel bad all the time, even when we make choices that put us in very uncomfortable situations. We have to remember it was a choice we made, not a choice God made for us. That said, we also have a choice to turn to Him, the one who is able to lift us out of any situation that may keep us down and non functioning.

We need, as David did, turn to our Creator, the One who made us for bigger and better things. One of them,  to come before Him with praise and thanksgiving. When we can do this, when we can see ourselves as valuable, we will not feel guilty to come before God and praise Him for the work of His hands!

Psalm 11:7-8-"The work of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. ESV

David repented of his great mistakes, came before God with a broken and contrite heart. He knew he was made for better things, he knew God loved him so much, He did not want David to stay in a state of depression. God wanted him back in a state of praise, because that is what he was created for, he was fearfully and wonderfully made!

So you too, have been fearfully and wonderfully made. You do not have to stay in a position of feeling bad about yourself, only if you choose too! Come back to the One who can and will lift you back up, put you on solid ground, and lead you back into a relationship of praise and worship. If you do not know the One who can do this for you, you can know Him today!

Come to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, come to the One who can transform you and make you new. Repent and ask His forgiveness for the sins you have committed, turn to Him confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe that God raised Him from the dead  and you will be saved! Romans 10:9-11

You were not made to stay where you are to be stuck with bad feelings! You were not made for that! Find a good Bible believing fellowship and learn from His word. Learn that you were fearfully and wonderfully made, and give Him praises!

Monday, August 19, 2013

God's best is now!

If you think ahead to far, you will be out of touch with right now, enjoy the moment! Proverbs 27:1
I have used this verse before, but I have heard, it is by repetition that we learn. We all need to be reminded to slow down a bit and get a grip on the present which is hard enough. When we set our sights only on the future we are missing God's best for right now! 

Other verses talk about stress and worry consuming us. When we choose to look farther ahead than we ought, we still need to be reminded, what we have is only now, today, and it is a gift. We cannot not see God's best for today if we are looking for it in our tomorrows we do not have. Now, today is what we have been given.

This also goes for those of us who hang on to hard too the past. What is done, is done, learn from it and move on. But never move past today, that is what you have been given. That is what you have been guaranteed, now! I have not seen warnings about the past, except learn from it. The hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, teaches us that. But we do have warnings about living for tomorrows we do not have.

Matthew 6:34-"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious about itself. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble."

We have enough to deal with right now, why add to it? If we could just slow down, be still and know He is God and exalt Him for what He has given us right now. How much further ahead we would be in our relationship with Him. The parable of the rich fool is a good example of how not to live. A warning, we are not guaranteed tomorrows!

Luke 12:16-20,"And He(Jesus) told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have no where to store my crops?' And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grains and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have ample things laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, and be merry." But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."

Something to think about when we try to plan our lives, and look to far ahead. It is so important to live with, and for what you have, right now! So slow down, gather your thoughts, and think on the gift of today. For you may not have a tomorrow! God's best is right now, today, this very moment!   

Friday, August 9, 2013

God's will for you is today!

If today does not do it for you, why do you think a tomorrow you do not have yet will? Make the best of right now, tomorrow is not yet yours! Proverbs 27:1
People, most always are living for a time they do not have, looking to a tomorrow that is not yet theirs. Always hoping the time they do not have yet, will make the difference in their lives.

Why do we tend to do that? One answer may be, we do not want to do the work. Or ask God to make the changes in us needed, to make today work. We are so anxious for what we think, is a bad day to pass that we are missing out on the blessing God may have in store for us.

Proverbs 27:1-Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. ESV
Matthew 6:34-"Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ESV

Simply put, what you have is now, today, nothing more and we are to make the best of it. It may be hard, we may have some days better than others. Yet we are to make the best of what we have for certain, today. If we could only learn to be grateful for right now, what we actually have, instead of the uncertainty of  tomorrows that are not yet ours.

Live for today, let the one bad hour pass knowing you have the rest of the day to make a difference. Never look farther ahead of what we have, be grateful for right now. Ask God to do a work in you, ask Him to teach you and show you the lesson for right now. Be different, enjoy the day, do not lose today by trying to live for tomorrow.

Instead, as it says in James 4:13-17-Come now you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit" yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is you life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that. As it is, you boast in you arrogance. all such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Most important approval, God's!

If man's approval is more important than God's approval, we are seeking the wrong approval! If we truly seek God's approval, the other will work out as well! I Thessalonians 2:4

"But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts."

Though we do seek counsel, and we need to, there are times when God has spoken to us, that should be good enough. If we are spoken to by God, and we still seek man's approval about it, then we are missing an encounter with God. Our relationship with God needs to be as such, when we hear His voice we know it's Him! And when we talk to men, just in conversation, His word to us gets confirmed in a way only God could do.

So when we are looking for approval in God's leading, more times than not, God has answered us and has given us the direction He wants us to go. We just need to step out in faith and go! God would not have spoken to you, and caused you to be confused or uncertain. That comes from Satan, not God! He is not the Author of confusion, He will not have you do anything that goes against His word. 

Sometimes it is nice to have that confirmation from others, but not always. God does not need man's approval, just our obedience and a willingness to just respond because we know for certain the voice we are hearing. We have been learning a lot about this type of faith in our Bible study, Experiencing God. I would highly recommend this study to any believer as it will challenge you to grow even more, and take you on a faith journey many have yet to experience.  

Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." John 10:27

Monday, August 5, 2013

Do we believe really?

We have to stop using words like I can't, when we have a God that says I will!! John 15:5, Phil. 4:13
So many times we limit the work of God in our lives when we say we cannot, and do not pray, and wait on God to do His work in and through us. This is not where God wants us in our relationship with Him. Jesus Himself said, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them."

It just takes asking and believing. God does not want you out there helpless, and unarmed! He wants you in His word, and prayer, believing what you ask for. If you do not, then you will not feel His fullness, or experience what He truly has for you, victory! We say we believe, yet tell ourselves way to often what we cannot not do and come to believe, we cannot do!

God wants us to be doers, He wants us victorious, He wants His word hidden in our hearts! He does not want us spending our time on what we cannot do, but what He can and will do if only we believe. It takes more than just saying we believe, we have to believe with out a doubt! So our language as Christians has to change.

Instead of using words like I can't, start using words like I can and will because of Jesus who is in me! He gave us His Holy Spirit for times of need and teaching, for comfort. When we truly think about it we have all the capabilities we need to do whatever He needs us to do. Jesus said,"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."

King David himself talked of Scripture memory when he said, "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against You." Even with his busy schedule as king, he saw the importance of taking time to spend in God's word to help him in every daily decision, to keep him from sin! We need to stop saying can't when we have a God who says I will, just believe!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Wrongly connected?

As a battery has a positive side and a negative side. Properly connected, they produce positive energy. Cross them up you could get burned. The same applies to us!

Proverbs 10:19-"In a multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise."

Sometimes, instead of working with the negative, we tend to work against it. When we do the sparks always fly. Instead, we need to learn to, stop and think it through before we speak to soon! If we can learn to think first, and speak last, wisdom is with us. It is then that we can work through most any negative situations, or negative people around us.

We tend to feel that if we deal with what we are faced with, in the same way, we will get the results we wish. In most cases it never works that way. It is just like hooking up a battery. Do it correctly, and you get the connection you need to move along. Hook it up wrong, let the fireworks begin, or even worse, burned wires, shorted fuses, even injury and unnecessary hurt!

So let us think how a battery works. When used, or dealt with properly, though it has a negative and a positive side, works together in spite of the differences, and creates a positive energy that meets the needs of the whole vehicle. The same with us. If we connect properly in spite of our differences, we will see a bigger picture, that will benefit all those around us!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

You never know until!

You never know what you can do without, until you are without. You would be amazed! Philippians 4:11-12
When you lose something that has been an important part of your life, such as a car, phone, etc.. I just use those illustrations because we are so attached to those items. You will be amazed at how your instincts to get somewhere, talk to someone, basically get things done, will kick in!

My wife has a secular job in which she needs transportation. We had our only car, yes I said only car, in the shop for repairs with the expectation of getting it back the next day. Well as it would happen, that did not happen! Though we did not have the car, and it threw our routine out of whack, we got things done! We had to ask, and borrow, and that is hard, but we did.

Sometime we need to go without to appreciate what we have, and think about how our lives are wrapped around convenience. We never think about how good we have it until we have to go without it. And, if we think about it we have the capabilities to survive. Car or no car, phone or no phone, God gives us a built in survival mode.

We come to realize we are not as inconvenienced as we think we are. Our thinking and planning modes change, we get it done. If we cannot we need to take a look at what is important in our lives, recheck our priorities! Now I know I am talking only about a car or a phone, but think about how attached we are to just those two things!

The Apostle Paul wrote: In Philippians 4:11-13-"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. "

One thing you always want to remember though, when you go to pick up that car you have so desperately needed. Remember to take along the extra key, they may not be there, and the door will certainly be locked. That is another story for another time!! ha ha ha