The Struggle

For some, the struggle to do what is right is a daily fight. This struggle includes making wise decisions, being considerate of others, standing up for justice, doing what God says to do, and do it well. Why is this struggle so great?

The struggle to do right is greater because it is so much easier to give in to temptation. It is easier to think and act selfishly. It is easier to cuss someone out than to think about how to say what you want to say. It is easier to go along to get along than to stand on principles aligned with God’s Word.

 

If the struggle to do right was easy, many people would be saved and living abundant lives. But it is so much easier for people to live unsaved, without thinking about the consequences of their action, and how what they do impacts others. Since there are so many people struggling to live–without fear, without concern about finances or what the economy will bring or what the politicians will do, we know the struggle is real, we know there are people who have yet to find peace with Jesus, who are yet unsaved.

 

Lord Jesus, help us in our struggles to do what is right and help others to do the same. Help us to fight the good fight of faith in you, not self. Help us to resist the devil and watch him flee from us.

Richly Blessed!

“The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22 NLT).

Contemplate, if you will, the difference between His blessing and the blessings that we often discuss.

In this proverb, the blessing of the Lord is singular, not plural, which can lead one to think there is only one blessing. The blessing–is God’s love towards us–it–the love makes a person rich and He adds nothing to that which will make us sad. The blessings–plural–are those promises we receive from obedience to His Word. They are richly described in Deuteronomy 28:2-14.

What can anyone do when they know they are loved? Just about anything. Love (not lust) moves a person forward, seeking to please others and more specifically God. Love teaches instead of criticizes; love encourages instead of discourages. Love lets go of past hurts and makes room for present joy. Love energizes, not drains. Love motivates, not denigrates. How rich is a person who is loved? Being loved and knowing it is better than having all the riches of the land because many of those with the material wealth–do not understand or have love. This love–is the love that we receive from God and pour onto others–just because Love blesses!

If we are having problems in our lives and cannot seem to have peace in our spirits–maybe we should check our love levels and if the love is depleted, we can always go back to the never-ending fountain of Love for more.

Instead of chasing material riches, we should diligently pursue obtaining and sharing love.

Instead of being concerned with  what others think about us, we should earnestly consider what God thinks about us.

Instead of trying to become something that God never intended for us to be, we should seek His wisdom and guidance in all things and become what He wants us to be.

There is no poverty–or poverty-mindedness in those who have received the BLESSING of the Lord for they are rich beyond measure and seek to do always those things that please God.

Warning, Warning!

“He’s hot, she’s hot,”

Everybody’s hot

But love, they ain’t got

For self or you

So, don’t consider who

They are over who you are

Let ‘em slide on by,

With their slick-willy self

Lying, whining, pretending

To care, but really just using

Anyone they can, used to abusing

All who are desperate for love,

When all they have is lust,

They hit it and quit it and think it’s just

To pass you on to another when

They’ve had enough–of you.

 

Don’t fall into the trap of letting

Anyone use and abuse you to soothe

Themselves out of anger, mischief,

Or just being a jerk, you are more

Precious than that and you need to see

You as God sees you–not a doormat

Or depository for their maleness–they’re not men,

And it’s time your eyes were opened,

And your ears cleaned to hear how they

Talk behind your back, treating you like dirt,

They think it’s cute to use you, not minding the hurt

You feel when they leave you wet, busted, and disgusted

With yourself because you let it happen,

When you defeated self with desperation and self-loathing,

How could you? Why would you–let anyone take from you

All the good that God poured into you

So you could do the things He wanted for you,

But now you have to think about–is there anything left

Of you to be used to His glory

And not those who use you to pacify themselves?

 

Wake up and smell the air that surrounds you,

Make sure the stench doesn’t bind and trap you,

Into a slavery of another kind, created in the minds

Of those who love to use those who are weak

And unsure of self, needing love, but getting lust

Stirred in mind and body and then promoting you as the biggest

Loser because you were lost in them and not in One who

Loves you the most and will never leave you hanging out to dry.

 

So, now it’s time to try Him for yourself-

And see that some males and females

Are just out to get what they want and never

Care about you as a person or worthy of love,

Save yourself–your virtue–your mind and body

For the One who truly loves, from above.

It’s Time!

“And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him” (2 Peter 3:14,15 NLT).

Peter’s letter reminds us of all that will happen “in that day” and assures us that just because it has not happened, yet–it will happen. His admonition is about what we can expect–fiery endings, all things destroyed, and new heavens and a new earth–it’s still going to happen, but he also says, while we wait–we must use the time to make sure everyone is saved–this why God’s promise for Jesus’ return has been delayed–He’s waiting for us to promote a true Gospel in how we live and for others to accept His Son as Savior and Lord.

Now, I know there are some religious groups who believe that the “new earth” is simply this one replenished, but that is simply an error in understanding or deliberate misinterpretation because it is taken out of context. If we look at the entire letter, we see that Peter has predicted “all the elements destroyed by fire”. In other words, everything needed by mere mortals–earth, water, and wind. But for those who have a relationship with God–we understand that the new heavens are not like anything we know, neither is the new earth like the one we know, because we will no longer be mere mortals. The real problem with people trying to determine that “one segment of scripture” means anything by itself is that it is religious propaganda born of a need to control others.

In this letter, Peter also reminds us that when Jesus returns, He will come as a thief in the night–completely unannounced--except for the sound of the trumpet and we’re all out of here in the twinkling of an eye (Paul says). There is no need to pack a bag, save food or money for this event–we won’t have time to grab it and I for one, am glad that all of our needs have already been anticipated and provided as we rise to live and reign with Him. Hallelujah!

At any rate, the message here is clear from Peter’s letter–while we’re waiting–we should “live according to God’s Word” loving and enjoying peace, doing nothing in His sight for which we might be ashamed.  During our wait–we are developing patience and while patience is developing, we are (or should be) promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that none are left to experience the fiery ending that is promised.

 

Morning Joy!

“For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.”(Psalm 30:5 NLT)

No matter how dismal life may seem at any given point, we can see morning joy–if we refuse to give up.

When a room is in total darkness, nothing can be seen, but if we have to rise in it, we can find our way–to the light switch and when the switch is turned on, darkness is dispelled. Our lives can sometimes be the dark room, but we really have nothing to fear; we simply have to “rise up in the midst of the darkness” and turn on the switch–our hope in Jesus–and allow Holy Spirit to dispel the darkness that attempts to invade our thoughts and actions.

When we hurt–we cry and allow the tears to cleanse and then give ourselves time to be comforted.

When we despair–over anything–we should sit still, doing nothing for a moment and wait for it to pass. When we act out of despair, sometimes, we cause the night to linger longer than it should have.

In the midst of life’s trials and challenges, we must learn to wait–though the storms may come, they eventually move out and when they move, we can see clearly.

Our nations are in the midst of storms–the future indeed seems cloudy and few can see any horizon of hope, but we must hold onto to hope; this is just the darkness that will be dispelled with hope and love of one another. We just need to rise up and shout, praising God for His goodness even though we cannot see goodness. We need praise God for His mercy even though we cannot see mercy. We need to praise God for restoration even though it seems like all has been destroyed. While we may be in the throes of darkness and cannot feel our way out, we know that morning is coming–and with the light of the Son–who will dispel the darkness and move us from glory to glory–showering us with His favor–if we would just have hope in Him!

Take comfort in the knowledge that though we may have to deal with dark moments and nights, morning joy awaits us–if we just wait for Him to show us the way!

Smooth Path Ahead!

“But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them” (Isaiah 26:7 NLT).

Trying to do what is right all the time can sometimes be a challenge for most of us. We’re humans–subject to err and as such–subject to do really dumb things. While the things we do may be dumb, they don’t have to be wrong. We must endeavor at all times to stay in right standing with God–not because we’re so good, but because He is.

Many people often confuse being in right standing with God (righteous) as being “self-righteous” and miss the mark when others are completely turned off by their attitudes. We have no righteousness we can claim of our own–the only righteousness we have is His and it is because of Him that we can–when in right relationship with Him–be in right standing with Him, because of Him–not us.

So why bother to do right? When we do the right thing for the right reasons, our journey through life–is not “steep or rough” (no mountains to overcome) and He smooths our path ahead of us so we won’t trip and fall over any obstacles the enemy may put in our way. That’s our loving Father, always looking out for us–making sure we can make it to our destiny–fulfilling the plans He has made for us–to prosper, be in good health, and in promoting the Gospel! Hallelujah to our Risen King and Loving Father!

When the way gets tough (not of your own doing), don’t despair–the way gets smoother just ahead–believe and achieve it to His glory and don’t you dare try taking another path that He has not prepared for you! (Hmmm. Maybe the rocky paths we experience are because we are not on the paths He set before us).

Contemplate deeply about the path you’re travelling and know with certainty that if the path has been rocky, you’re on the wrong path. Allow Him to guide you to the path He has smoothed and removed anything that is not of Him!

As always, I welcome your comments and pray that you are indeed on the right path–the one He chose for you!

 

Teaching With Authority (Part 3)

FOR THIS REASON—no one should be allowed to teach anything to unsuspecting people when they have not been qualified and proved they know what they’re talking about. It is not a sin to get education to teach God’s Word; it is not sin to study The Word with other books in-hand. It’s not sin to ask for help when one doesn’t understand—how to make distinctions in the eras and what was said, to whom and why. It is not a sin to question—this is how we learn! Of course, when we ask of God, He gives us direction, instructions, and corrects through Holy Spirit when we are willing to hear and receive.

Okay, the bottom line is this—Jesus taught with real authority because He knew exactly what He was talking about because He was acting with the authority of God! Imagine that! God gives us authority through Holy Spirit and we, too—can teach with real authority—the ability to simplify with practical analogies so everyone can understand.

So, here’s the question—especially for those in leadership positions teaching—are people amazed with your teaching with authority? If you’re just memorizing scripture to throw in at appropriate places—you have no authority. If you’re just mimicking what others have done—you have no authority. If you’re just preaching from someone else’s book or articles, you have no authority. If you have no authority and people recognize it—they are not going to be amazed with your teaching. If you have no real authority backing up everything you say, you’re not even amazed at your teaching—it’s just something you do to take up time.

If you really want to amaze people and please God at the same time—allow Holy Spirit to provide you with the authority you need in teaching The Word—giving God the glory, and not you or other people. God is not a respecter of persons and if we are truly His children, what He did for one, He’ll do for the rest of us—empower us to teach with real authority.

Teaching With Authority (Part 2)

In God’s Church—led by those who actually seek God for a Word to give to the people and His direction—Holy Spirit leads the service—in praise and worship, shepherding of the sheep, and especially in The Word—they teach God’s Word with authority—keeping everything aligned with The Word. They encourage the congregation, they teach by living The Word, and they are willing to undergo the scrutiny of microscopic inspection and know they live to please God. In God’s church—everyone, from every walk of life is welcomed and encouraged to develop a right relationship with God. In God’s Church, He can make a little—much—and everyone is encouraged to give as the Lord as put on their hearts to give. Every offering is considered a blessing and the biggest giver to the least—are treated equally—encompassed with the love of God.

This could go on and on, but I do not wish to digress from the premise of teaching with authority. No one can teach anyone anything with authority unless they actually know what they are talking about—not just heard about.

This is why, Paul admonishes us through his letter to Timothy to study to show ourselves approved and then seek Holy Spirit in how to use practical analogies to simplify the lesson. This is what the Pharisees could not do because they were so “religious” they had only memorized the law and did not have a clue as to how to present it to people to apply to lives. They were too busy trying to keep people adhering to the letter of The Law, rather than the spirit of the law. They thought it more expedient to hold people in bondage than allowing them the freedom to seek God for themselves. It was their determination to “maintain control” over the people that led to oppose everything Jesus did—from not honoring their rituals of washing hands before eating (which is a pretty good habit) to healing on the Sabbath (a specific day of the week). When Jesus taught them that He was The Lord of the Sabbath, they were incensed—angered at this newcomer—the carpenter’s son—who dared to defy them openly.

The same attitude prevails in many churches today. The congregation is never allowed to question the leadership openly—they just go along to get along. And when people have had the courage to question the leadership openly, they were rebuked and embarrassed and they eventually left wounded. But this is not one of God’s churches; this is one of the leader’s churches. The leader’s churches are always in the hands of a family member—the church is a business of nepotism—instead of God-led inspiration and direction.

 

(Part 3 –tomorrow)