“Enough of That”

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 26 “But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the Lord said to me: ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter. – Deut. 3:26 NKJV

Deut 3:24-26 ISV

From a human viewpoint, if anyone deserved to enter the Promised Land, it was Moses. When God told Moses to speak to the rock to cause water to flow out, Moses in his anger, struck the rock.  Compared to all of the foolishness of the tribes of Israel, this seems like a small thing to us.  But God views things and events from a totally different perspective.  Whatever His reasons were, God’s answer to Moses’s prayer was “No”.  God gave Paul the same answer when Paul asked God to remove “the thorn in his flesh”.  We are not sure what the “thorn” was nor exactly why God said “No”, but Paul was assured that he needed the “thorn” to keep him humble.  In both cases, God heard the prayer and answered.  Not the answer the men wanted to hear, but He answered.  The prayers that we humans refer to as “unanswered” are the ones when God gives us an answer we don’t want to hear or when we don’t agree with His answer.  Neither Moses nor Paul rebelled against God because of His answer.  They accepted the answer as God’s will and continued to be God’s servants.  God did not “owe” Moses and Paul anything for their obedience. He owes us nothing and will never be indebted to us.  We, on the other hand, owe Him everything and will always be indebted to Him.  He blesses us simply because He loves us and it gives Him great joy to bless His children.  The good works that we do are to show God’s love to others and to show our obedience to God.  

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. — Luke 6:35-36 NLT


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Now Go”

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11 Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” — Exodus 4:11-12 NLT

God has given each of us particular gifts and we use those gifts daily in our secular lives but when God asks us to use them for His work, we suddenly pretend we don’t have those abilities.  Take Moses, for instance, forty years earlier, Moses had no problem taking charge. He killed an Egyptian who was beating a slave. The next day, he comes out and tells the slaves to quit fighting each other.  Those are characteristics of a leader. But, now after forty years of desert training, when God wants Him to use those same talents to free His people and lead them through the desert, Moses suddenly can’t.  If  you think God was happy with Moses, you are wrong.  In fact, He met Moses and was about to kill him and would have except for the actions of Zipporah.(Exodus 4:24-26)

In today’s world, think about the effectiveness of the church if:
Every school teacher volunteered to teach Sunday School
Every CEO or business leader volunteered for a leadership/mentoring position
Everyone who served others in any position served in the church
Whatever talent you have, you used that talent in the church


Just think about this:  The Creator of the universe, the Omniscient God would not ask us to do a job that He has not specifically given us the talent and the training to do. If God knew someone else could do the job better than we could, then He would have called them instead of us! The next time we feel that little nudge to volunteer, before we say “no”,  think about the results in the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30).

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ​ — Eph. 2:10 NLT​

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“They Were Afraid”

13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders. – John 7:13 NLT

John 7:10-13 NLT

Jesus did the things He did and He did them the way He did because of His complete obedience to God the Father. He could have chosen to do otherwise, but then He would not have been the sinless sacrifice.

19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. ​-John 5:19​

When we are faced with non-believers and those who would ridicule and persecute us, what do we say about Jesus? Is Jesus just some “good man” or is He the Savior and Lord of our life? Is he just a historical figure or was He the Messiah? Is He our “strong tower” to run into for shelter or do we live “in the shadow of His wings”? God is not in a contest with other “gods”, He is the only God! In each of our lives, we must decide if He is “Lord of all” or not “Lord at all”. There is a war going on for the control of our minds and there are only two choices, there is no neutral ground.

31 So what should we say about this? If God is for us, no one can defeat us.–Romans 8:31 (NCV)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 04-13-2020

Prisons of Our Own Making

3 Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains.  — Colossians 4:3 NLT

Colossians 4:2-6 NLT

Paul was in an actual prison in Rome requesting prayer for opportunity, strength, and boldness to continue witnessing for Jesus. He wanted to carry on the work that God had called him to do. He was chosen as the apostle to the Gentiles and wanted to set the example for unbelievers. Even in that situation Paul wanted to be kind and pleasant. Even though his cell was cold and uncomfortable, He refused to complain so that his lifestyle would attract others to Christ. Even though we live in the land of abundance, we are in prisons of our own making. We are held captive by our own fleshly desires, pride and public opinion. Our fear of what others think of us has sealed our lips. We are more concerned with pleasing our families and our friends than we are with pleasing Jesus. We need to pray that we will be like Paul, he didn’t witness because of an obligation, he witnessed because of his love for his Lord and Savior. Pray that God will release us from our fleshly prisons and that our love for Him will override our doubts and fears and our lips will be loosed to praise Him.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 08-03-2019

Speak Words of Life

21 The tongue can bring death or life;  those who love to talk will reap the consequences. — Proverbs 18:24

Words are powerful. God spoke the world into existence and He gave Jesus all authority in heaven and earth. Jesus gave that authority to us.  So, we have the power to speak words of life and blessing or to speak words of death and cursing.  Do your words produce life or death?  Since we are indwelt by the Triune God, we have the words of life. The world needs something to believe in and hang onto. Speak words of life to those around you and you will not only bless them, but you will find as you speak those words and they become real to you, your attitude improves.  The Beatitudes are called that because speaking blessings should always be our attitude. James warns us that the tongue is a dangerous weapon that we are unable to control. 

James 3:5-8 NLT

We must allow the Holy Spirit to control our tongues for us and it will produce fruit that brings forth life.  Let the fruits of the Spirit rule over you and you will become a life-giving stream to your family and friends.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 06-14-2019

Show Concern for Others

4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. — Philippians 2:4


Phil. 2:1-5 NLT


If we have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, we will always show the love that we have for others. We must always put Jesus first, then others next.  The only way the world will know that we love Jesus is if we show that love to them and to each other.  Jesus loved us to the point of laying down His life for us, even while we were still sinners.  How much of your life are you willing to lay down to witness to your neighbors?  Laying down our lives for others is about more than just taking time to talk to them, it is also about living a Holy life before them.  Jesus has commanded us and He has also given us the power to speak words of life to those that He puts in our paths.  But they won’t listen to us, if our walk doesn’t reflect our talk.  As the saying goes, people don’t care what we know until they know that we care.  Let each of us show how much we care by showing compassion in every situation. 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 05-31-2019

“Give Me Sense to Follow Your Commands”

73 You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.— PSALM 119:73

Psalm 119:73-80 NLT

This verse is a prayer that I need to pray every day.  When I find myself getting irritated, I need to pray this verse so that I do not hurt others with unkind words.  When I find myself judging others, I need to pray this verse.  When I find myself criticizing, I need to pray this verse.  When I see someone in need and I don’t take the time to help them, I need to pray this verse.  When I feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit to speak to someone about Jesus and I refuse to do it, I need to pray this verse.  When I spend money for things that I don’t need, I need to pray this verse.  When God says “no’ or “wait” and I run ahead of Him, I need to pray this verse.  Most of all, I need to pray this verse when I think that Jesus has done something or allowed something to happen in my life that is not for my benefit.  Because that thought violates the highest command to “love the Lord your God with all of your heart”.  You get the idea, I need to pray this verse a lot.  Hopefully, the rest of you are better at allowing the Holy Spirit to control your thoughts and words than I am, if not, then just join in and pray this with me, “Now give me the sense to follow your commands”.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-19-2019

Speak Carefully

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​1​0  “For the person who wants to love life    and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
    and his lips from speaking deceit.  
​- 1 Peter 3:10 ISV​
 

 Somehow, somewhere, it seems that we have gotten the idea that it is not necessary for us to be careful of the words we speak and the tone of voice we use when we speak those words.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  When I become frustrated and/or angry, I hear myself speaking unkind words in a tone that I should not be using.  I am always convicted of the words and the attitude that caused me to speak those careless words.  Not always immediately, but the Holy Spirit does not leave me alone until I agree with Him and confess my sin. I am so grateful that God loves me enough to discipline me, no matter how long it takes. The passage of scripture quoted here in 1 Peter (originally from Psalm 34:12-16) reminds me that as a Christian, I should not be guilty of speaking words in that tone of voice.  If I truly “love life” and want to “see good days”, I must “keep my tongue from evil and my lips from deceitful speech”.  I must “seek peace and pursue it”, then God’s eyes will be on me and He will hear my prayers.  If I continue to rebel against God with unkind words and a bad attitude,  I have no basis to expect Him to do anything for me. God seems to be teaching me a lesson that “bad things happen to good people” sometimes because He disciplines His children.  The obverse of this is that He doesn’t discipline those that are not His children, but they will receive the full brunt of His wrath in the fullness of time.  Our part, then, is to remain obedient and faithful and He will do His part. As the Psalmist puts it:

8  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.  9  For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.  10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.  11  But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity— Psalm 37:8-11 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

 

Post 08-28-2018

Does My Love Reach the Mark?

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Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – 1 Cor. 13:7 NLT
 
What if our every thought had to pass a test before it could be converted to spoken words or to actions?
Does this thought show others that I have patience?
Does it show kindness?
Is it truthful?
Does it show concern?
Does it reflect my trust in God?
Does it show the hope I have in Jesus?
Will it help me or those around me to endure trials and persevere?

All the above should be answered with a “Yes”
All the below should be answered with a “No” 

Is it boastful? 
Does it make me appear to be envious?
Does it disrespect or harm others?
Is it just for my benefit?
Is it a knee jerk response to something that has angered me?
Is it a resentment caused by past actions?
If it fails in any area, we need to reconsider before we speak or act.

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ​ –​- Matt. 19:26 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-05-2018

“Walk By the Spirit”

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16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.–Gal. 5:16-18 (NIV)

What does Paul mean when he says “walk by the Spirit”? To understand what Paul is talking about, we have to understand that every word we say and every conscious action we take is a direct result of a decision we have made. The decisions we make are a direct result of our thought patterns. Our thought patterns are controlled by what we spend the most time thinking about. We spend the most time thinking about what we feel is most important to us. The more we think about one thing, the more important it becomes to us. It becomes a cycle of our thoughts producing actions that produce more thoughts about the same thing. We are born in sin into a world that is saturated in sin. so we are going to have sinful thoughts. More and more of the things we hear and see are designed to tempt us to satisfy the flesh. But the flesh wants the things that are contrary to what the Holy Spirit knows that we need. The indwelling Spirit is there to guide us and help us break the sinful thought pattern. Does the Holy Spirit audibly speak to us? Yes, sometimes He does. But most of the time, He just nudges us with a whisper that we sometimes think is our own thought. Sometimes He has other Christians speak to us. Sometimes, He speaks to us through God’s Word. When we have humbled ourselves and seek His guidance, He will get the message to us. If we listen to, hear and obey the message, we are being led by or “walking by the Spirit”.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 03-06-2018