Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Don't miss it"

Matthew 11:20-24, 12:1-14 Jesus had performed mighty miracles in the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. But they refused to repent (Matthew 11:20). And because of this Jesus pronounced a terrible judgement on these towns. They missed it, God had come to them and was offering more than miraculous signs, he was offering freedom from their sins and salvation in God ( Isaiah 53). But they refused to turn away from their sin and follow God. When you reject God salvation you accept his wrath. The Pharisees followed Jesus only in the hopes of trapping Him. The questioned Jesus about following strict Jewish laws. For centuries they had followed their interpretation on what it meant to keep the Sabbath day holy. To the Pharisees any form of work or healing on the Sabbath was unholy. Even after Jesus told them something greater than the Holy Temple was among them in Matthew 12:6 (Jesus was speaking of Himself) and proclaimed that He was Lord of the Sabbath in Matthew 12:8, they still missed it. Jesus was telling them that in fact He was God and to follow Him means that you are following after the Lord. But the Pharisees could not see past their pride. Instead of following Jesus the Pharisees continued to plot His crucifixion (Matthew 12:14). The question that comes from all of this is, am I missing Jesus too? Are you missing God like the unrepentant cities? Are you still freely sinning, totally disregarding what God has done in your life or where He has bought you from. The Word makes it very clear that if we continue to practice sin then we are not a child of God (1 John 3:6-9). And our fate is that of the unrepentant cities. Or maybe we are like the Pharisees who were more in love with their interpretation of God's Law as opposed to following God Himself. They viewed Jesus as the devil (Matthew 11:24) and not as the Savior of the World and Lord of us all. But Jesus told them what their end will be. He called them evil trees that bear evil fruit and in the end they would be condemned by the very words they spoke against Him (Matthew 12:33-37). God had appeared to them in the flesh and yet they rejected Him. They said Jesus was under demonic influence and denied God's Spirit working through Him. In essence He was telling the Pharisees that they were unbelievers. When we decide to follow our own path instead of God's we openly accept our destructive end (Matthew 7:13) Do you reject God and embrace your own ideals and beliefs. The Pharisees moved to the beat of their drum and not God, are you doing the same? It is easy to get lost in what we think God should be like, what He should do, and what parts of the Bible we should not follow. But understand this God's way is the only way that leads to salvation yours will only lead to destruction. This is nothing more than a gut check. We all should consider our ways and make sure we are not missing God. Stay focused, you can do this! "In His JOY!"

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Do what He wills not what you wilt"

Psalm 119:105, Matthew 7:24-27

We live in a world that tells us "Do what we will" as opposed to do what God wants. We hear the message of "self-satisfaction" over pleasing the Lord in music, movies, television, and our literature. The phrases "Do you Boo and I'm going do me", "It's your thing do what you want to do","I did it my way", and "this is me and this is who I am" scream of a destructive end. When we follow the idiocy of "Do what thou wilt" we are heading down a dangerous and deadly path. 

When we depend and rely on God's Word to lead and guide us His Word becomes a light to our feet and a light to the path that God has set out for us (Psalm 119:105). His words will make a our steps sure because we are standing on the truth of God's Word. And the direction we need to go becomes clear because we are trusting that God will guide us every step of the way. But there will be perilous times ahead on our journey. Matthew 7:14 tells us that we will face hard times when we choose to follow God's Direction. When we follow the word of the Lord we will have a firm foundation that enable us to stand against the struggles of life.

However if we choose to forsake God's Word and do what we want we will face destruction (Matthew 7:13) and will falter under the pains of life (Matthew 7:26-27). Following after our own evil desires gives us a false feeling that we obtained all we ever wanted but the temporary joy will quickly fade. And we will be left with the disappointment over a wasted life.

So I ask you where are you standing on the firm truth of God's Word or standing on loose foundation of your own desires? Are you walking down the narrow path that leads to life or are you sprinting down a path head towards destruction? Where are you? Don't waste your life, stay focused, you can do this!

"In His JOY!"

"Hate is the Highway to Hell, but love is the Stairway to Heave"

1 John 3:15, 4:19-21

As a Christian you cannot hate someone and expect to see Heaven. Hate will only lead you to Hell. But unrestrained and unconditional love is what God expects from us. God is concerned about your feelings and the hurt you feel (Psalm 147:3). But please understand what you went through, have endured, or are suffering does not condone you hating someone. Simply put hating the person instead of the sin will lead you to Hell. But loving them as Christ loved you will lead you to Heaven. Don't like this blog, say amen, and then turn around and hate someone. Because you have missed the point and I am not saying we act as door mats to others. But rather through God's Spirit we are able to see past sin and extend the love of God. Jesus did it for you, I think it is time we all return the favor. Stay focused you can do this!

"In His JOY!"

"Behind the music"

Ephesians 4:17-32

(I want to preface this by saying "I LOVE MUSIC!!!!" always have and always will. And I am not judging anyone but I am comparing what I am listening to the Word of God )

There are songs that I know that are decades older than me. I have listened to almost every genre of music on planet Earth. But one day I had to really think of what I was listening to. I heard the arguments about the Illuminati in the music industry, The all-seeing eye symbols in the media, and artist wearing the Goat of Mendes on their clothing. Theses arguments and this evidence offers a lot of persuasive reasoning to stop listening to music that does not promote Jesus. Because it does not glorify the Lord but the beat and flow was "sick son!!!"

However there are many Christian Artist who do not have all the things mentioned above in their music but they are just as corrupt. Some are in it for personal gain and their songs show their lack of spiritual maturity. Their personal lifestyles are contrary to what they were singing/rapping about. But the label of Christian kept me coming back.

So I had to learn to compare the music to the Word of God. If we read Ephesians 4:17-32 it is a good chopping block for music. For instance, is the music I am listening to promote my sinful past or my new life in Christ Jesus (4:17-18)? Are the Lyrics to my favorite song encouraging me to give in to my sensuality and sinful indulgence or does it motivate me to surrender to Christ (4:19-20)? By the end of the song does my soul feel renewed in Christ or does it feel life I have taken a step back in my spiritual walk (4:21-24) ? Does the song invoke me to act out in anger and sin, lie, and/or did it just give the devil a spot in my heart to spread his lies (4:25-27) ? If I took these lyrics and spoke them to my child, brother, cousin, friend, etc. would they feel built up or torn down and violated (4:29) ? But most importantly would the song itself grieve God's Precious Spirit (4:30) ?

Friends I urge us all to consider what we are listening to and watching. And to take it seriously because you speak what you hear and you act what you see. Stay focused, you can do this!

"In His JOY!"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"I don't pity the fool!"

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

The idea that a God would become a human being that died for the sins of the entire world and resurrect Himself seems to be foolishness to a lot of people. I heard one person say, "it just seems pretty impossible". And I agree, it seems ludicrous but at the same time for someone to do what Jesus did it proves He is God. Only a God would be powerful enough to make Himself a human being and be mortal wounded, then turn around and come back from death. No one has ever declared that they allow someone to kill them and then proclaim that after being dead for three days that they would return to life. And even if someone else was bold enough to make that claim they have never been able to produce any results.

But this makes it clear to me that to believe in Jesus I have to consider my wisdom worthless when compared to God's. Our wisdom does have value, don't get me wrong. But when compared to the wisdom of God it pales in comparison. And though faith appears foolish to some, this foolishness has transformed lives for over 2,000 years.

Some people want a sign that Jesus lived and/or is alive. Others are looking for a logical reason to believe as opposed to faith. But if you ask for one sign it is not enough to cause you to believe. If you ask for a logical explanation it won't satisfy. Only faith can satisfy belief and trust in God. Only faith can please God, our eyes deceive and shake our beliefs. But faith in Jesus sustains us. As always it is a choice we make and to believe in Jesus. And you do not need to believe it for it to be true.

Stay focused, you can do this!

"In His JOY!"

Here I am Lord, a Disciple and not a Pharisee

Matthew 10:1, 1 Corinthians 1:26-30

It's a great misunderstanding as to whom God sends out.  Our education, up bringing, status in life, title, etc.  does not decide whom He chooses to spread His message.  We must first all realize that God has called us all to share the Gospel and make disciples  (Matthew 28:18-20).  This is charge and commandment to everyone who calls themselves a Christian.  Secondly please remember that God looks at the heart of a man and not the outward ( 1 Samuel 16:7). I say all this because when Jesus sent out his twelve disciples they were not well-educated men.  They where not Scribes, Pharisees, or Sadducees.  They were doctors, fisherman, and tax collectors.   There was nothing special about them except they had spent time with Jesus.

Sometimes we think that only the Pastor, Religious Professor, or the Elder are qualified to speak and teach about the Gospel.  Spending time immersed in the Word and Prayer is what qualifies you.  Gaining  true understanding of the Word and getting wisdom from God qualifies you.

You may not be the brightest light bulb in the bunch and you may be lacking in public speech techniques but this does not mean God cannot use you.  In fact you are exactly who God wants to use (1 Corinthians 1:26).   Jesus could have used the a Pharisee because they rigorously kept laws.  He could have used a Scribe because they knew ever law.  Or He could have used the Sadducees because they had status.  No instead He used a fisherman named Peter, who at times struggled with his faith, He used a tax collector named Matthew who was known as a sinner, and He used two brothers named James and John whose mother wanted them to be famous.  Jesus saw something in these men that He did not see in the religious leaders.  He saw a heart that wanted to see the Will of God done.  He saw men who sat at His feet and learned what the Good News was all about.  He saw men that could recognize Jesus as God and not see Him as an enemy.  He saw disciples. What He looks at you what does He see,a Disciple or Pharisee? He can use anyone friends, so let him use you.

Stay focused, you can do this!

"In His JOY!"

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Life Consultant

Genesis 13

Lot was following Abraham as Abraham was following God's Direction. Wherever Abraham went Lot was close behind. As time grew on Lot's family and his herdsman began to grow and Abraham also grew in wealth and possession. Between them they had so much stuff that the land they inhabited could not support them. Fighting and quarreling broke out between Lot's servants and Abraham's servant. Abraham spoke with Lot and said "Let's end this senseless violence because we are family, choose any part of the land you and it is yours. If you choose to the land to the left then I will take the land to the right or vice versa (paraphrased from Genesis 13: 8-9)." Lot looked up and choose the land that seemed best to him (Genesis 13:10).

It's here I think about Lot choice. He chose the land that was pleasing to his eye. I wonder if his decision was based of greed. I know that Abraham was the one who proposed the separation but Abraham's motivation appeared to stem from wanting to restore peace and he humbled himself by offering Lot the land of his choice. But Lot gave into infatuation and followed his eyes and not his heart. Not taking the time to pray are seek the Lord. Lot choose a land the was physically beautiful but spiritually dead. Lot choose Sodom and Gomorrah.

I think about the outcome of Lot decision. Lot was kidnapped by rival kings along with all his possessions were taken as well and had to be rescued by Abraham (Genesis 14:12). Lot's wife turned into salt ( Genesis 29:26), Lot's son-in-laws died in Sodom and Gomorrah because they thought he was being foolish by leaving so they ignored his warning of God's coming judgement (Genesis 19:14). His daughters became the mothers of his children ( Genesis 19:30-38). Now it is important to note that Lot was a righteous man who made a poor decisions. God sparred him from judgement because He considered Lot to be righteous ( Genesis 18:22-33, 19:29). One choice led to multiple complications that Lot could not foresee.

I wonder if he had consulted the Lord instead of trusting his eyes how different the outcome would have been. If he had walked by faith instead of sight how the story would have ended. What about you? What decisions or you making today that are based on what you see and not based on what God has told you. Because it is extremely easy to trust in our eyes, follow our hearts, and be led by our selfish desires. But the Bible makes it very clear we are to walk by faith not our sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) because when we walk by faith in the Lord we will always please Him (Hebrews 11:6). When we are walking by faith we are actively seeking after the Lord and following Him. Our hearts are deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) so we should not follow after it or seek to fulfill its desires. Instead we should seek after the Lord and His Righteousness (Matthew 6:33). We should not be led by our evil desires, we should rather we should be led by the Spirit of God and trust that He will make the clear to us if we ask for His Wisdom (Galatians 5:16, James 1:5-9).

So I implore you friends to seek the Lord before making a life changing decision. Trust in the Lord's direction and courageously follow it despite what you feel. Because you simply don;t know the outcome of your decision. But He knows the outcome of His plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Stay focused you can do this!

"In His JOY!"

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Stand Alone Judge

Matthew 9:1-8

A group of people brought a paralytic man to Christ probably because the believed Jesus could heal him.  At the sight of their faith Jesus said to the paralytic "Take heart son, your sins are forgiven", this statement sent the Teachers of The Torah into a mad frenzy.  They said to each other "This man blasphemies!" but Jesus knew they where thinking evil in their hearts and asked them "What is easier to say ''Your sins are forgiven'' or "Get up and walk?"  And just to prove to The Scribes that Jesus had authority to forgive sins, Jesus healed the man.

What struck the Scribes was that Jesus told them man he was forgiven.  The only person in their eyes with the authority to forgive sins is God.  Only God was able to pardon because He alone is the Judge of all humanity.  There is not another judge who with the authority, ability, and wisdom to pardon sin or pronounce a sentence  (Exodus 33:6-7).  And Jesus made it very clear in that statement that He is that judge, He is the one who with the authority to forgive as well as sentence.  Jesus was essentially saying that He was God.

So this brings back to us, sometimes we are quick to pronounce a sentence on someone.  We look at their life, situation, or maybe even their circumstance and we judge them.  With limited information and poor detail we make a quick determination about someone and neglect to extend grace and mercy.  We are not qualified to judge.  We do not have the infinite wisdom, ability to punish, or the authority (James 4:11-12).  Judging is God's department.  We do not know the heart of men but God does (1 Samuel 16:7), He alone is able to decipher someone's intent, the meaning of their actions, and make a sound judgement.  We are lacking in this area.

Now this does not mean we cannot hold each other accountable because we do (Luke 17:30, Galatians 6:1).  But it is not or place to judge one another, it is our place to restore each other and help them in their fight against sin (Galatians 6:1-2).  We do not sit in the seat of judgement against our fellow Christians, instead we are standing with them in need of God's Grace, Mercy, and Forgiveness.  Stay focused you can do this.

"In His JOY!"

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"You remember me!"

Deuteronomy 31:6

We all have been there where feel we are forgotten about and totally abandoned. It makes us question what exactly is going on in our lives or makes us say "God where are you?" We feel as if God has forgotten us or maybe even as if He has failed. But this is where we look to His Word and see that God never fails us or abandons us.

Three Hebrew boys were taken from their home land, given slave names, and forced to serve a king they refused to worship. For their disobedience they were bound by rope, placed in a furnace, and set on fire. But they weren't forsaken in the midst of the fire God appeared (Daniel 3).

Joseph was beaten and thrown in to a deep well. He was sold into slavery and later falsely accused of sexual assault. He was sent to jail and left to rot for the rest of his life. He helps out two fellow inmates by telling them what the nightmares they had meant and years later He was brought before the most powerful men in the country to interpret another dream. God gives him wisdom and the next thing you know he became the second in command (Genesis 37 - 41).

Job had the good life, everything was going well for him. And then one day it all fell apart. His house was a wreck, business in the red, countless deaths in the family, and health issues that seemed to change like the wind. He laid on the ground and struggling to understand just what was really going on. His friends offered poor advice and said it was all his fault. He was told "God is anger at you!" Hope seemed to disappear but yet He trusted that his Redeemer was alive. God appeared to Job and his friends, and completely brought clarity in the midst of confusion. God not only put everyone in their place He also changed Job's life forever. Everything that Job had lost was given back too him with interest. He gained two times more than what he lost (The entire Book of Job)

We could go on and on with countless stories about how God has never failed or abandoned His People. What I want you to know is that "Your Redeemer Lives (Job 19:25)" I want you to urge you remain faithful and continue to seek after the Lord and His way because He will take care of you (Matthew 6:25-34). And you will see God stand strong on your behalf. That all this mess around you has purpose. That God is not letting go through purposeless pain and agony. He has a plan that you may not understand. And if you allow Him to work in your life, the person you where when you started this test will be nothing compared to the person you will become in the end (James 1:2-4). Your Redeemer is actively working in your life and He has not forgotten you. Stay focused, you can do this!

"In His JOY!"

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"Stress Reliever"

Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7

Our hands are not capable of fixing the problems of this world. Our worries are real and they hurt us deeply. We are not immune to problems, fears, doubts, and horrible circumstances. But we have A Living Solution and A Real Answer in Jesus. We can go before him and offer all our fears, tears, worries, and stress. We can give these to Jesus and trust in Him. We are confident that our Redeemer lives (Job 19:25) and that He will sustain us and bring us through. We stand on the side of victory because the Champion is our Father who is above all rulers. Praise God for His Word, His Truth, His Grace, His Mercy, and His Unconditional Love. We have a hero.

There is peace and assurance if you know Jesus. If you think it is all a lie and it will not will never know peace, all you will ever know is worry and unrelenting stress. But for those who accept Jesus , they can take their problems, lay them down, and experience sweet sleep. Stay focused, you can do this.

"In His JOY!"

"Looking for a ram"

Genesis 22

Abraham had enjoyed the many years he had spent with his son Issac. I am sure he was a proud father and he had learned that the Lord is faithful to His Word. He had learned that what ever God says He will do no matter how wild or difficult the task, Abraham understood that God is faithful. But God was not done with Abraham, there was still room for Abraham to grow.

God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Issac as a burnt offering. As crazy as it sounded Abraham was content with doing the Lord's Will even if he did not understand it. He did not tell a soul about God's commandment to him. A secret Abraham kept until the time of sacrifice. Abraham arrived at the mountain and told his servant "Me and my son will go there to worship the Lord (Genesis 22:5). I do not think Abraham was trying to deceive anyone, I think he had already determined in his heart that at the end of the ordeal he and son would praise God for the outcome. Issac seeing that there was no animal to sacrifice asked farther "Where is the lamb?" (Genesis 22:7). Abraham simply replied "The will provide the lamb" (Genesis 22:8). Abraham was confident that God would work this out and provide the lamb. He knows that God is faithful to His promise so he knew matter what it looked like or how God was going to do it, God would provide.

But the moment was upon us. The time had come and a burnt offering was required. Issac laid down and offered himself as the burnt offering (Genesis 22:9). Abraham lifted the knife and prepared to strike (Genesis 22:10). But the Lord stopped Abraham and said "You are a man who fears the Lord" (Genesis 22:11-12). Sometimes we need reassurance that we are doing the right thing. Sometimes we need to hear that we a good and Godly person. Sometimes we need a test to build us up and mature us to be more like Christ (James 1:2-4).

Abraham looked up and there was a ram in the bush. The offering that Abraham knew would be provided was before his eyes. Th time of worship he had said would happen was now happening. Abraham knew God would be the hero. He knew God would save the day. He knew that obedience to God would be rewarded. He knew that THE WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD, PRINCE OF PEACE, KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS, THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE GOD, and SAVIOR would provide. Simply put Abraham knew God and that He was faithful to the end.

So friends I urge you walk the path the Lord has lite before you with His Word and seek to do His Will because wherever the Lord leads you, tells you to do, or has you to go He will always provide (Matthew 6:33). Stay focused you can do this!

"In His JOY!"