Archive for October, 2012

Psalm 37

Don’t worry about the wicked

or envy those who do wrong.
2 For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
5 Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Trust him, and he will help you.
6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
7 Be still in the presence of the LORD,
and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.
8 Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm.
9 For the wicked will be destroyed,
but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.
10 Soon the wicked will disappear.
Though you look for them, they will be gone.
11 The lowly will possess the land
and will live in peace and prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the godly;
they snarl at them in defiance.
13 But the Lord just laughs,
for he sees their day of judgment coming.
14 The wicked draw their swords
and string their bows
to kill the poor and the oppressed,
to slaughter those who do right.
15 But their swords will stab their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
16 It is better to be godly and have little
than to be evil and rich.
17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered,
but the LORD takes care of the godly.
18 Day by day the LORD takes care of the innocent,
and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.
19 They will not be disgraced in hard times;
even in famine they will have more than enough.
20 But the wicked will die.
The LORD’s enemies are like flowers in a field—
they will disappear like smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and never repay,
but the godly are generous givers.
22 Those the LORD blesses will possess the land,
but those he curses will die.
23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the LORD holds them by the hand.
25 Once I was young, and now I am old.
Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
or their children begging for bread.
26 The godly always give generous loans to others,
and their children are a blessing.
27 Turn from evil and do good,
and you will live in the land forever.
28 For the LORD loves justice,
and he will never abandon the godly.
He will keep them safe forever,
but the children of the wicked will die.
29 The godly will possess the land
and will live there forever.
30 The godly offer good counsel;
they teach right from wrong.
31 They have made God’s law their own,
so they will never slip from his path.
32 The wicked wait in ambush for the godly,
looking for an excuse to kill them.
33 But the LORD will not let the wicked succeed
or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.
34 Put your hope in the LORD.
Travel steadily along his path.
He will honor you by giving you the land.
You will see the wicked destroyed.
35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people
flourishing like a tree in its native soil.
36 But when I looked again, they were gone!
Though I searched for them, I could not find them!
37 Look at those who are honest and good,
for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.
38 But the rebellious will be destroyed;
they have no future.
39 The LORD rescues the godly;
he is their fortress in times of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them,
rescuing them from the wicked.
He saves them,
and they find shelter in him.
You may be asking yourself why I posted this entire psalm here this evening. It’s rich with God’s promises, promises that we need to continually remind ourselves about. So, I would challenge you to find a few in here, write them down, and keep them close enough to you this week that you can read them whenever you feel discouragement begin to creep up on you. We serve a faithful God, and it’s our responsibility to remember that. ALWAYS!
Until next time, be blessed.

Who’s Keeping Time?

I’ve been a little AWOL the last week or so, and I must apologize. Thing is, last week was life changing. Along with the other members of our Destiny Church Worship team, I spent 3 glorious days basking in the presence of God. It was an experience the likes of which I have NEVER been privy to before, and when it was over, I felt sad. I understand that we were in a bubble for that period of time, and the things that were spoken, prophesied, and declared were to strengthen us for when we left that bubble. Now I am truly strengthened, knowing what God told me about the future, and resting in what He reaffirmed as a calling and direction for my life. It’s exciting times, family. Which leads me to another thing, the issue of timing.

 

See, if I learned anything from my dad, it is that timing is everything. My dad was the kind of man who would be early for everything. Being late made him absolutely livid! I find that I am the same way. When my wife and I were dating, if I told her that I would pick her up at 6:45, I would always be pulling up at around 6:20. It wasn’t that I was hoping that she would be ready sooner. To me, it was just the principle of showing her that I value her time so much, I wanted to be early just to make sure that everything was in place. Even in marriage, nothing chaps my hide more than being late. It’s been a source of a few disagreements over the 9 years that we have been wed. So to say that my sense of timing is hardwired, well, that would be a major understatement.

 

And while I sometimes think that is a bad thing, I also believe that God created me like this, with some kind of innate sense of the timing of things. I also understand though, that due to my own human leanings and agendas, I take this to far, and seek to dictate to God what timing should be, and how it should work. But when God says that His timing is not my timing, I have experienced enough of this to know that it is true. I go back to Ecclesiastes 3:1 which simply says that there is an opportune time for everything in the earth. That time is God’s to decide.

 

I was recently having a discussion with a good friend of mine about this very thing. God has shown this person a very powerful vision for what will be in the future, and it has left this person a little dissatisfied with the present. In my opinion, this is a natural reaction. I would liken it to someone who died and went to heaven, and experienced all of the goodness of being directly in the presence of God, only to be told by Jesus that it wasn’t their time yet, and that they had to go back. I would think  that being back among the “lesser” things would create a deep sense of depression, and a realization of the true lack of the earth.  But what happens in those situations is often completely the opposite of what God intends. When God shows us a vision or a dream of what is to come, it is to strengthen us. It is to give us resolve to fight tooth and nail to obtain what God has shown us. In my opinion, there is nothing more frightening to the Devil than a Christian who knows what lies ahead, and is willing to plow over him repeatedly in order to get it. That kind of dogged determination is often missing in our lives, so God helps us refocus sometimes.

 

Here is the other part of it though. We have to expect Satan to try and steal that vision away from us. We have to know that he will try and disrupt the word that was placed in our hearts, that very word that causes us to burn with desire for God’s will. It’s just like the “Parable of the Sower” in Luke 8. Some seeds were planted, but were immediately taken up by birds and carried away. This signifies how Satan will try and steal God’s best for our lives by distorting our sense of timing, sending hardships to cause us to lose focus on the vision, and ultimately killing us spiritually because our faith and hope both fall by the wayside. This is something that I have to be cautious of. As I said before, God showed my wife and I something that is really exciting. It is something that was totally unexpected, and while it would be easy to dwell on that day in and out, it would diminish the present-day work that God is doing in my life to hopelessly pine away for the future.

 

God’s timing is perfect. I told my friend that the vision God showed Him will happen, but while we wait on the fulfillment of it, God will show us ways to become better, so that when the vision becomes a reality, we are better prepared to nourish it and care for it, and grow it out to it’s full potential. It’s hard to wait. I know for sure that it is, but when we place our faith in God’s timing, things have a definite way of working out in a way far better than we could ever have imagined.

 

We have to remember that God is not slack concerning His promises. If He said it, if He showed you the vision, it’s gonna happen. The true outcome rests with our faith in His perfect sense of when.

 

Until next time, be blessed!

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

“The Relationship Rut” We work ourselves into these relationship ruts and become comfortable. Then when someone breaks that routine, we miss God appointments in our lives. We fabricate social networks based on our own personal walls and boundaries. Relationships arent meant to be comfortable. We have 2 kinds of relationships: missional and inspirational. Matt 28: 19-20- Go make disciples in all nations, baptize, and teach them to obey commands of God. Missional relationship- anyone in your path who needs to develop a new or stronger relationship with Christ. The purpose of this is to turn it into an inspirational relationship. John 4: 3 – Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. In this story: A. Don’t let their status affect your mission. Jews looked down on Samaritans. Samaritans didnt like Jews. Sometimes we get in our heads what a good prospect would be, but everyone we come across is a prospect. There are no prerequisites for becoming a Christian. B. Don’t miss an opportunity to be missional. Jesus was hot and tired when he went to the well. Jesus discerned that the Samaritan woman was hurting. She was an outcast. He didn’t miss an opportunity to minister to her needs. C. Don’t be afraid to go deep. Jesus didn’t waste time cutting through her walls and barriers. He went straight to the root need in her life. We can’t be afraid to move past surface conversations. Jesus wasnt satisfied with surface conversation. Not every moment will be life changing, but we must be ready when the moment arises. Inspirational- any fellow Christian that you come into contact with. Prov. 27: 17- a friend sharpens a friend. Acts 2: 42- the early church devoted themselves to teaching, sharing meals, and prayer. A. Devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. Getting together and delving into the word helps in growth and maturity. B. They fellowshipped and shared meals. There is something about sharing a meal that induces conversation. Food is merely a medium for sharing and developing relationships. C. Prayer. Praying together with other believers is powerful. Acts 2: 43- a deep sense of awe came upon them all. 1 Cor 12: 7-10- the giving of spiritual gifts. Heb. 10: 25- don’t neglect coming together with other believers

I Choose to Love

I’ve come to a decision on one of my beliefs. It kind of happened last week while I was showering. I can’t remember what I was thinking about, or maybe I was praying. Who knows. At any rate, this kind of hit me, and I believe it was God speaking to my heart, but I won’t say with 100% certainty that it was. As you know, I’m skittish about saying “Thus says the Lord”, and all of that jazz. I’ve seen too many people burned by it. So here goes my thinking…

 

Jesus was not tolerant. Jesus simply loved.

 

In itself, I don’t think this is anything groundbreaking for anyone. I mean, we all know Jesus loved. We sing the song from the time that we are kids, “Yes, Jesus Loves Meeeeeeeeee”. Yet, I also believe that there is something profound about this truth. The world that we live in today stresses tolerance. We must be tolerant of other people’s belief systems, or the ways in which they choose to live their lives. Sometimes to me it seems that in our striving to be tolerant and politically correct, we compromise what we truly believe. This wasn’t Jesus. People knew where He stood on everything. He was not tolerant. He just simply loved us.  Check out this definition:

 

Tolerance (noun)- a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, religion, nationality, etc differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.

 

Fair, objective, permissive. Doesn’t this sound like our world? And while I can understand the need to not judge, because the Bible tells us this, I can’t help but think that we use that scripture as a basis for not standing up for the Gospel. I know that I have no room to speak ill against anyone for anything. God’s grace is too powerful for me to even be that ignorant. I’m merely saying that Jesus was not fair, objective, or permissive. Jesus spoke the truth, because He loved! Jesus came to teach us that God’s grace demanded more of us than the law ever could. This is why Jesus says that He did not come to repeal the law. If we are Christians, the Law of Grace pushes and presses us towards higher standards than the law can even hope to aspire too. This is why it is so important for us to understand what power love can have when we do it as Christ IS it. When we love others as Christ does, then we understand the flaws that we have, but we also see the opportunity for grace to abound. When we love others as Christ does, we can look at lives not as reflections of a sinful world, but as Christ intended that life to be when He created it. When we truly learn to love, tolerance is the least of our worries, because we understand that fairness has nothing to do with grace. Objectivity has nothing to do with grace. Permissiveness has nothing to do with grace.

 

God was not objective when He decided that He would save us all. He was focused only on the fact that He loved us fiercely. He was not fair, either. Fair would be leaving us to die. Justice demands it. He is not permissive of our sin. He simply loves us. And in His unfailing love, He demands that we live our lives in the same manner, not dismissing sin, not nodding our heads in approval to the ills of this world, but also not turning our noses up at people who are different from us. His love demands that we accept all in love, and allow His Spirit to change them.  To me, tolerance is simply a false pretense. It’s nodding your head, but closing off your heart. I don’t want to be tolerant. I want to love.

 

Lord, search my heart. Find the areas of my life where I have tolerated sin and chosen not to deal with it. Open my eyes to the areas of life where I have tolerated people, and not loved them. Forgive me for not living up to your will in this area, and help me, by the power of your Holy Spirit, to love as You love me- without regard for anything else aside from the fact that you LOVE me. You have not called me to be tolerant, but to love. And as I love, YOU will do the work that needs to be done in the lives that you send me out to. I thank you, Father. Amen.

 

Until next time, be blessed.