Though Weary Now, Rest In Him!

And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you. And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-8 NLT

Promoting The Gospel of Jesus Christ can wear some people out, if we let it. Those of us who understand that the world is not really receptive to hearing the Good News, know we must continue to move forward, promoting The Gospel even when people don’t want to hear it. 

One would think if a person didn’t want to hear something they would just ignore or tune-out the person speaking, but tuning us out isn’t good enough for the harbingers of demonic influence. Under that influence, those who do not want to believe or hear Truth, take great pleasure in persecuting those of us who promote Truth. They love to see if they can get us to act as they do and get even angrier when we don’t take the bait. Ugliness rises from the tide of verbal abuse to physical abuse in some cases. This doesn’t mean that Believers have to succumb to the abuse or act like a doormat and defend self. But that’s a topic for another blog.

What we have to understand in all of the turmoil and conflicts in being obedient is that we can rest in Christ Jesus–knowing that He will take care of all those who persecute us--in His timing and avenge us so the world will know–we are not our own, but we belong to Him.

Every time the enemy raises his ugly head we stare him in the face, fully armed to do battle in the spirit and come out victorious. Victory is not always easy and is certainly nothing the lazy will ever experience. Pursuing victory in anything means working hard and diligently, never willing to give up. Ask any professional athlete how hard they work to win, but when they win–they can rest in aftermath–knowing their hard work paid off for them.

We too can rest in the aftermath of each victory–every time we see the light come on in the minds of those who choose to believe Truth and then live it. In fact, after every victory–every new believer coming to Christ–we can expect the enemy to attack, but we can continue our journey knowing that resting in Him can be as easy as focusing on what He would have us to do, not what the enemy is doing.

Though the rest we desire does not come without a price–we will survive and rest in Him–knowing we have been faithful to His calling and in bringing Truth to the masses so all can be judged according to His judgment.

Keep going–though weary with all the world’s foolishness and prepare to rest in Him, allowing Him to minister to our hearts so we can rise up and get going again.

Believers’ Instructions for Daily Living (Part 4)

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation” Then you will shine among them likes stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:12-16 NIV)

Did you ever think about the phrase–“when the cat is away the mice will play” and what it means? In this analogy, the cat is the authority and the mice the subservient to the cat. So, while the cat is in their presence, they do what they must do–play hide and seek to keep from being destroyed. When the cat is away–the mice roam freely and are totally unconcerned about being caught.

Some people honor the authority in their lives only when the authority is present–right there–can’t be missed. Employees will do their jobs while the boss is in their office, but if the boss is out of the office, many can hear a collective sigh of relief and most get lazy and lounge–doing absolutely nothing.

When teachers are out of their classrooms for a day or days–a substitute teacher can count on not getting anything done because the students have determined–the teacher isn’t here and we don’t have to do any work–even if work was left for them to do. I’ve heard all the stories–“the sub lost it; I didn’t know we had to turn it in, the sub didn’t give us any work, I took it home and forgot to bring it back.” Students make up so many excuses for not doing work that they could have saved themselves some time by simply doing the work.

Paul understood that when he was around, the people honored his presence and he’s commending them on doing so and encouraging them to keep on doing the right thing–whether he’s there or not. And that is what all Believers should be doing, right now. Living like we know (because it’s true) that God is present–in our midst at all times–and we should do the right thing at all times.

I know many won’t understand this because they’re thinking on a carnal level. “I can’t be good all the time.” Yes, we can. When we know God’s Word and have a relationship with Him, we can be good all the time. The thing that keeps us from being good is our flesh–when we give in to temptation to fit in with others who don’t know Him. I’m guilty–not intentionally, but guilty nonetheless. Sometimes, my flesh overrides my spirit and I’m immediately impressed by Holy Spirit that I need to repent for the things I allow to escape through my lips. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit” I hear every time I mess up. The bottom line is–I’m more careful to not mess up, but when I do, He reminds me–He’s right there and hears everything I say and sees everything I do.

The biggest problem for Believers is when they tend to act like God can’t see or is deaf. He’s always in the midst of everything we do and yes–He can see and hear it all. Now, we have a decision to make–to honor Him at all times, recognizing His presence or to act like He’s only around in church on Sundays. It’s our choice, and the world needs us to make it right now–for our time on this side of eternity is almost over and we have many souls to introduce to Jesus before He returns. Let’s do all things as unto The Lord, desiring to please Him only!

Run and Tell That!

“For if you return to the LORD, your relatives and your children will be treated mercifully by their captors, and they will be able to return to this land. For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his face from you.” (2 Chronicles 30:9 NLT)

When King Hezekiah sent runners throughout the nation, urging the people to return to God and His ways, many ignored the runners and the admonition the letters contained. They laughed and made fun of them, but there were some who listened and obeyed. And God, turned the hearts of the tribe of Judah to one heart, in obedience, and blessed them for their obedience.

We may not have “literal runners” who are running through the land with a cry of “return to The Lord,” but we do have many people who are using whatever access they have to people to encourage all to “return” to The Lord. Our fingers are running through keyboards typing messages of encouragement and repentance. Our satellites are transmitting messages of hope and encouragement via televisions, Internet, and still–radios. So, in a sense, we have runners who are still urging people to turn to God. And the message–is pretty much the same–if you return to The Lord and His Ways, your children will be treated mercifully…”

When I wrote my blog yesterday about “Cursed Children” I was remembering all those things that I was taught as a child: how to clean house, make a bed, respect elders, say grace over food, say prayers at night, work to do good in school, knowing right from wrong, never lie or steal, and most of all to remember there is God–who sees everything and knows everything we do and will reveal it to others. This is what I was taught and the lessons were deeply embedded, thoroughly entrenched in my mind and soul to the point that these are the same things I taught my children. I pray they will teach them to their children.

If the time comes–that I can no longer be a runner for The Lord–I want my grandchildren to pick up the baton and run on–urging all they meet to return to The Lord and be blessed.

Simply put–if we don’t return to The Lord and His Ways (not our own), we will remain captive to the dictates of our flesh and soon see the results of that captivity that may even result in captivity by enemies of God. Nothing is out of the realm of possibility. If we refuse to acknowledge God, why should He acknowledge us when we are assailed from every side by those who hate Him and then–some of us–laugh and make fun of those who were runners–trying to tell us the truth?

I’m sure there are a number of people who are laughing and making fun of my blog-posts daily. I’m sure they share the laughter with those who are like-minded. But I am equally sure that there are some who will read and heed what is being said and encourage others to return to The Lord before it’s too late.

If you must laugh at what I do–laugh–full belly-laughs with tears running down your face and your body shaking so hard you can barely stand. The more you laugh at what I say, the more The Lord will bless what I do–because it is all about Him, not me! He knows those who are His and He also knows those who are counterfeit believers–pretending to know Him, but really do not have a clue. If they did know Him, they would not promote hatred of others–for any reason.They will receive the reward for their actions and it will not be a place reserved for them in heaven, unless they “return to The Lord” completely and allow Him to govern their lives and especially their tongues and fingers.

Now, Run and Tell That!

Do It Today!

“but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13 NKJV).

Since none of us knows when a day will be our last, we must use every opportunity we have to–exhort–caution, advise, with an urgency that will resonates in the hearts of all who either hear what we say or see what we say. There is no better time than now–today–to encourage all to come to know the Risen Savior for themselves.

“It’s not my mother, not my brother, but it’s me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer”

“Not my sister, not my daddy, not my uncles or my aunties, not my grandmas or my grandpas, not my friends or my enemies, but it’s me standing in the need of prayer–for salvation and courage to share the Good News!”

The first quoted line is from a song, sung by many from a long time ago.

The second quoted line is an addition–by me–to express the urgency in our message. While we do what we can to share the Gospel, we must always be mindful, that we also need prayer–to stay in relationship with God because this journey is not so easy that we cannot be tempted to fall back and away from all He has taught us.  And we need the encouragement of others to keep going–prayer for courage to continue no matter what happens. Those of us who know The Lord, are not exempt from the enemy’s attacks; indeed we are the target of his attacks so we need much prayer–from ourselves, for ourselves and from others who love The Lord.

No one said this journey would be a bed of roses–and if anyone believed that it would be–they forgot that roses come with thorns.

Sometimes the walk with Christ can be rockier than a roller-coaster in an amusement park and there is nothing amusing about it. Sometimes, the walk can be more slippery than a muddy mountain climb, with nothing to hold onto but our faith. Sometimes, the journey has more chaos than a violent storm, but in the midst of the storm, we have the power to speak peace and journey on.

Today–yes, today–make sure you share the Good News with all you know and even those you don’t! Today, may the be last chance they will have to hear, believe, and accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Let’s get it done, today!

Planter or Waterer?

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth” (I Corinthians 3:6 NASB).

Within this text we understand that Paul’s response to the church at Corinth was a reminder to them about humility. He went on to say that neither the planter or the waterer had anything to brag about because it is God who causes the growth of the church. What does this mean for the 21st Century Church? The exact same thing. None of us should get caught up with thinking we are more than we are simply because of what we say or write to people.

Whenever we do what it is we do, we usually do not know if we are planting the seed of The Gospel or watering the seed that someone else planted. Since this is true, we cannot take credit for anyone acknowledging their coming  into the knowledge of Christ, because it is not what we do, but what God does–creates a change of heart–within the person receiving the Good News.

This is a passage of scripture (the entire chapter) that many should read, over and over again–especially when they start thinking  their church is the only one people should attend. While I believe we certainly don’t need more churches, I would be hard pressed to say that any one church is the only one teaching the truth of God’s Word. There are many people who attend large churches because it is a status statement. There are some who attend small churches because they love the personal attention. Whatever a reason people attend, someone had to say something to create in them a desire to come. Chances are–it was not those in leadership who shared The Word, but someone else and God spoke to the person’s heart and guided them there.

Let’s face it–we are nothing without God. We can do nothing great without God. What we can do is our assignment–with His guidance–never knowing which role we are playing–as planter and waterer and leave the final results up to Him.

We have a job to do, so let’s get it done. Whether you are planter or waterer, you have a role to play in spreading the Good News. Let’s fill up on The Word so we can move out and see the glory of the Lord upon all who are willing to receive.

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to better understand our role and create a desire in us to do all things with humility, giving You the glory for all we do.