Thursday, January 30, 2014

Not Qualified, But Not Disqualified

 

1 Samuel 16:1 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.”


Our second sermon out of the ten week series “God of the Underdogs” was the final sermon preached by Pastor JJ at our church. I pray that you are blessed by my notes and thoughts that I wrote down.

God is doing something big in this world. We are conditioned to think that we need a Super Bowl sports star type to tackle life situations and think that if we only had one more of them, then we’d be alright. Why? Because we think that we are not qualified for the job and take ourselves out of the game. The Israelites wanted a king that they could touch, see and hear (like other kingdoms and other countries had), even though they had the ultimate King of kings in Almighty God in Heaven. They asked God for an earthly king of their own. A king under God’s authority and direction, but human kings lose sight of God sovereignty above them, and lost the reality that God wanted to do something big in this world now. Not only kings, but everybody needs to get over themselves to get onboard with what the Lord is among His people. It is by Devine appointment that God wants to do something new in our lives. But thinking that we are not qualified for God’s bigger story, we start trying to write our own. We are right that we are not qualified; nobody is, but we are not disqualified by God, because God uses “underdogs.   
   
1 Samuel 16:10-11a Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.”

When we are open to God’s plans and open the door to Him, He’ll make things new in our lives. But, we are fearful of God’s new ways, because we do not know that way. Doubt creeps in and we do not think that we can do it, so we make excuses why not to and request that He send someone else. Excuses like, “You can’t use me because of my past, because of my weaknesses, or because others tell me that I don’t have what it takes.” Do you hear their voices or God’s? There will always be someone there to try to trip us up; someone with every excuse against us, to keep us down, but who does not see our potential. But that is not God’s dream for us; His plan different from our plans, on a different path. Have we limited God to follow our safe and comfortable planned-out life? Do we see that we serve a God of the impossible? Is our reality different than we thought it would go? The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned by us, something may still go wrong with it, but God takes “underdogs” to accomplish His purposes on earth.

1 Samuel 16:11b-12 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.” So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!”

But God believes in us and wants us. God is saying that in our life, but are we listening? He sent His son to hang on a Cross to remove all the excuses and dream dreams as big as we can imagine. God always chooses the “underdogs” to change the world in our little sphere of our influence. Almighty God is on our side, and because of that we can be not qualified, but not disqualified. I know an All-powerful God that can teach you, that can train you, that can change you and your world. No Super Bowl superstars needed; He calls us. God has placed you and me here and now for His purposes. Respect the Lord. Be faithful and obedient to what God calls us to do. Take on the giants, like David did in the very next chapter, and be a part of what God is up to.


In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Help Them Back Up


2 Timothy 2:22-26Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

The whole idea of chastising or rebuking should be seen as of correcting or instructive training those who have fallen by their faults, and bring them back to an upright position, out of pure love. That's what God, our Father in Heaven does for us (Hebrews 12:4-7). Restoration to righteousness is the goal. Always remember, but by the grace of God go I. Help them back up.

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"God Be With Ye" Pastor Jason Jahn


1 Corinthians 7:17 “As God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.”

For five years, Pastor JJ has shepherded a flock in central Anaheim, California. He re-baptized my wife and I to join this congregation. He married both of our sons here. He showed us how to hold a great Bible Study and delivered outstanding Sermons that challenged the members and visitors alike to step out of their comfort-zones, dig deeper into their faith relationship with the Lord and reach out beyond obstacles to reach this and the next generation for Christ. He married the love of his life within this sanctuary and started his family in front of our eyes. He pointed to the Words of Holy Scripture for our compass in life, to the foot of the Cross for forgiveness of Sin and the hand of Father God for purpose and true relationship, then reflected his heart for the Lord towards the children of God, the unsaved culture and community within our touch, and the work that our sovereign Creator was doing among us, in this time, for this community. A mission of "Knowing Christ and making Him known" and living out the true Christian life daily, while keeping the eternal perspective that we are citizens of heaven in the Kingdom of God.

Today, is Pastor Jason's last Sunday sermon here. His horizons have expanded as God has opened a door and called him and his family to a new flock that will be blessed by his faithful pastoring and pasturing, as he feeds Gods sheep in Hesperia, California. The word "good-bye" is an old English contraction of the phase "God be with ye" and that is exactly what we wish for this honorable "Man of God". Godspeed to you, as you bloom where you are planted.

In Christ, Brian 

Friday, January 24, 2014

What’s on the ‘Other Side?’




John 14:2In my Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, 'Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.'

Very quietly, the doctor said, 'I don't know.'

'You don't know!? You're, a Christian man, and don't know what's on the other side?'

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, 'Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

I know little of what is on the other side of death, But I do know one thing...
I know my Master is there and that is enough.'

1 Corinthians 2:7-9 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, ”What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”

Philippians 3:20-21 Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.


Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”



In Christ, Brian

Thursday, January 23, 2014

God's Banquet Invitation


Luke 14:15-24  Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”

As Pastor JJ wraps up his five year tenure of shepherding the flock and prepares to move on to the next act in this Play of life that God knows the end from the beginning, he begins a ten week Sermon series and associated mid-week study on “underdogs” performing extraordinary accomplishment to overcome great odds in their personal acts, time and place, which Pastor Phil will take the handoff and run with, to spiritually bless and feed the flock in this Play called life. Everyone that God used to change the world were underdogs, called to live the lives that God designed us to do. As Jesus parable above explains, distractions and idols create excuses that come to keep you and I from where God is working today. But we can overcome the great challenges and associated excuses to succeed, by pushing past fleshly and worldly expectations. Others may give up, but the Master of the banquet in the kingdom of God never gives up because “still there is room”. This story relates to us because we are common people whose life is “our story” that we are living in the great Play of life. Jesus told stories with ordinary people and common situations on earth to illustrate a truth about heaven with a kingdom message of God moving in our lives, and we can tell our own story to share to others how God has moved in our personal life.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Knowing the gospel truth of heaven and hell, it is shockingly surprised and overwhelmed about the casual excuses that people have to avoid Jesus as Savior and Lord or go to church, coming to the banquet of salvation. What keeps them from coming to Jesus and the kingdom of God? God’s anger is righteous indignation against the rejection of salvation, because it is motivated by love and the desire that nobody to perish in hell, as fellowship in restored relationship is refused. Why is everything else more important? Are possessions, work, entertainment, money, etc. our god? Why are false gods worshiped? Why is the free gift of forgiveness, salvation, and citizenship in heaven declined? John 1:9-12 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.

The Master said, “Go quickly”. When there are “lame excuses” within the church, there  is remains a compassion for the crippled, the poor, the blind and the lame (those who need a touch from Jesus) … to urgently reach those destined for hell. God is inviting people now, today, this moment, to have a relationship with Him and has called His people to physically, prayerfully and urgently be a part this calling too. He does not want to see our friends, neighbors, co-workers, friends to perish in sin. Whatever it takes, get them to salvation’s banquet. It’s that urgent and important! Jesus turns lives around. In life, we don’t always get what we deserve.

The crippled are those who have been injured and broken by the weight of this world. The poor are those who have been cheated by the world, impeding their path forward, keeping them from knowing God. The blind are those who have never had the chance to see the truth of Christianity and the kingdom of God because they don’t hear the Word of God or the Word explained. The lame symbolizes those who need a touch from Jesus to bring strength (physically, spiritually and emotionally) in their life. All of them are pre-Christians because they are open to the truth but “kingdom truth” and eternal consequences are unknown. People have value. The banquet is set, so go get them and bring them to the Master’s table. The Lord wants his banquet full and still there is room. The truth is that “it matters”. We need full churches, not excuses. There are plenty of excuses out there today and we do not need to add to them. It’s not too late. Don’t take yourself out of the game, the story, or this act in the grand Play of life.

Romans 10:14-15 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Invite everyone to join the family at the banquet feast in the kingdom of God, here and now. They are not too far gone. They need to hear the truth of God. The God-rejecting world system puts labels upon people, but we are not defined by this world. We are defined by the God who created the universe, the earth and everything that lives and breathes upon it. God loves you, me and them, and has a wonderful plan and purpose for our lives. “In God We Trust” is the American National Motto for this reason. We are really all “underdogs in life, and their story is our story. Speak the truth in love and tell them the gospel truth of Jesus Christ. Salvation is by Christ alone by faith alone. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to reach this generation, and the next, for the advancement of the kingdom of God by invading and decreasing the population of hell?
Here in the power of Christ I stand, bought by the precious blood of Jesus. Come.



In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Who Holds Tomorrow

Matthew 6:24b-34 "You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Monday, January 20, 2014

I’m not perfect, but God is - Part Two




Hebrews 2:6-13 But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”  And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”
Continuing from the last post on Pastor JJ Sunday Sermon series “God of the Underdogs”. It was Inspector (Dirty Harry) Callahan that said: “A man has got to know his limitations.” Nobody’s perfect. We are average and ordinary, doing the best that we can, but called to do what God designed us to be and do; not just “good enough” morally, ethically, industrious, godly and holy, though we are no different than others. Don’t settle at “measuring up” using the wrong standard and scale, just God’s matters. Our perfection is not found in cloning others, but in growing into the likeness of Christ. For us to assume that we don’t have to seek and find God by His holy Word, Will and Way is a flawed ideology, as much as following other flawed people as a life pattern is a flawed ideology.  
  
Hebrews 2:1-3Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him."

God choose, by His grace, His redemptive work on the world, for a purpose. It’s not about “I’m trying the best I can” or “I messed up once or twice, but I want to do better and will try harder”, in a self-sufficient society. The true issue is that we cannot do it all, but can’t neglect God’s work for the sake of our own work and accomplishments here at God’s expense. Are we saying: “My Will be done, not Thy Will be done?” It is not about glory be to me, but the glory of God. We tend to neglect our own spiritual life, forgetting that nothing is done without God (John 15:5). We cannot press on by ourselves; we were not designed to. What do we get by continually trying harder and longer by human effort, excluding the Lord? It is God who brings the glory to His creation and creators.
  
Psalm 69:30-34I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bull, which has horns and hooves. The humble shall see this and be glad; and you who seek God, your hearts shall live. For the Lord hears the poor, and does not despise His prisoners. Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them."
Maturity comes by being open to the Holy Spirit of God’s leading. Everything else is “sure” frustration and can lead to “bitter” frustration. We are His people; the sheep of His pasture. We are called to completeness in Christ. But do we see Jesus and His sacrifice for us or are we distracted? Seek Him, Trust Him, and obey Him for it is in Christ that we find our completeness and perfection will come. In Jesus Christ everything changes to glory. There is blood, sweat and tears in His redeeming death on that cross in our place. It starts there. We do not see how our life may go or be, but we can, and do, wee Jesus when we look. All that we can hope to be, made perfect in His suffering to make us children of God.
Hebrews 2:14-18Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted."
Look at the cross of Calvary for His glorious love, which we were unworthy by our sinful rebellious thoughts, words and deeds, by what we have done and by what we have left undone against our Just and Holy God. I cannot make it on my own. I’m not perfect, but God is! The cross has spoken mercy unto us. We have a Redeemer Savior that is perfect. Let us pray: “Lord God expose those areas of my heart that are not pleasing in Your eyes and need to change, to become more and more like you. Not to live a life “just getting through”, but living the abundant life in Christ (John 10:10-11) with meaning and purpose, being the person that You created me to be, complete and mature.” Amen.  Allow God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) to change us. Worship and Praise Him, for He is worthy.



In Christ, Brian

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I’m not perfect, but God is - Part One




Hebrews 2:1-5Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 

I’ve heard that the “only” thing on earth that never changes is the fact that “everything” changes. Last Sunday, our Pastor JJ announced that he has officially resigned to take a new pastoral call up in the California high desert town of Hesperia and will be departing at the end of the month. I hope that you will miss the enjoyable plethora of great Sunday Worship sermons weekly on biblical topics that touch our daily thoughts and lives as much as I did, listening to and writing about them. Best wishes and Godspeed (a phrase meaning " God spede you" or " God prosper you,") in the next chapter of your family’s life and your shepherding of God’s flock in this new futile pasture.

Pastor JJ starts a new Sunday Sermon series titled “God of the Underdogs, based upon a book of the same title. We are the “underdogs” that God uses to change this world. An “Underdog”, meaning a person or group that is perceivably disadvantaged that is expected to lose a contest or struggle. Here are my notes and thoughts from the first sermon message in this series. Nobody’s perfect; we all know that. Perfection is God’s standard, but the Bible is realistic and truly doesn’t expect fallen humanity to be perfect; and doesn’t suggest that it is even possible, because it is not. Romans 3:23 states clearly: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” I read a great explanation on the reason that fallen humanity chooses to sin against their just and holy Creator God. Mankind was created with the natural ability to be morally perfect inasmuch as we have the natural equipment to perform moral acts of obedience to God. Man has a mind and a will; but in order to exercise that mind and will to obedience, we have to have some kind of proper inner disposition or desire to please god. We always make our choices according to the strongest inclination we have at the moment of decision. For example, if we desire to obey God were always greater than my desire to sin, we would never sin. When we sin, on the other hand, it is because we want to sin more than we want to obey God. Nobody forces us, thought many may entice and encourage us to sin. It is precisely because we sin according to my desires that God holds us responsible for our actions. The determining factor in moral decisions is the self. Mankind has a free will, but in our falleness that will is under the power of and in the bondage of sin.

Then what is the purpose of God’s “perfect” law as our standard if we cannot obey it perfectly in our sin nature? Galatians 3:22-24 explains, “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Forgiveness and Salvation by faith, consecrated and sanctified, holy and blameless, to become “all that we can be”, through Jesus Christ, as perfect Almighty God designed us. We must know in our heart that “I am not perfect, but God is” and He has a loving purpose for His children as we, underdogs, look at and mature into the likeness of Jesus. We’ll look at: “Not perfect (and neither is anyone else), but working on it by God’s calling” looks like, next post.


In Christ, Brian

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Glorify You In All I Do


1 Corinthians 6:20  “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Amen.
Will I and do I?
In Christ, Brian

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Judging Sin Issue


Matthew 7:1-6 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

My cousin asked me to explain what I meant by "the speck and plank issue, but not allowing it to paralyze true Christian love and care". Of course that comes from the Sermon on the Mount Bible passage by Jesus (above). Saved or unsaved, we are all sinners, and this side of heaven we have the sinful flesh desires of adamic fallen mankind. So, the saved by grace through faith Christian must say, "except by the grace of God, there walk I”, having compassion on the lost in sin". Pride has no place, but God's holy Word, Will and Way does because salvation is completely by way of the grace of God. I love the way that Jesus uses emotional word-pictures of massive contradictions as illustrations. We can picture how ridiculous it would be to try to take a speck of sawdust out of our brother’s or sister’s eye, while we have a full-size 2'x6"x8' board sticking out of our own eye. The point is clear that we must "clean up our own act" before we can be critical of others. That is the speck and plank issue. We "get our act together" with the Lord in repentance, forgiveness and regeneration to a restored relationship with God, than help other find forgiveness of sin and salvation at the foot of the Cross through the blood of Christ. There is no time for prideful hypocrites among the children of God / Kingdom Workers.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I heard that the first verse of this seventh chapter of Matthew passage from Jesus in the "sermon on the mount" discourse is the most quoted verse in the Bible now-a-days - “Judge not, that you be not judged." When skeptics say, "Don't judge me!", what they are saying isn't that they only want God judging them. They actually want nobody judging them because they love their sin and hate God's law against it, which is the standard that all are measured and judged against. "Don't judge me" is usually followed by: "you holier than thou," or "you narrow-minded bigoted hater". They have to counter because their willful immorality of sinful thoughts, words and actions are being exposed by the “light of truth” (John 3:20). The best defense is a strong offense, so they attack with verbal abuse and lying accusations to discredit the Christian character and reputation in an attempt to paralyze the opposition. This is the "not allowing it to paralyze true Christian love and care" part. We are to proclaim "truth" and "expose sin" (Ephesians 5:11), so how can we not judge right from wrong. Realistically, to let someone die in their sins without hearing the gospel truth from a child of God wouldn't be fulfilling the "Great Commission". The Bible does not say that we are to live and let die in sin. It was explained to me that the first word in the passage ("Judge") is actually in the "present and active" tense in Greek, so can be correctly translated: "Do not be continually judging."- aka judgmental. That makes sense in light of the last verse in this passage: “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you." How do you tell if someone is unholy without knowing the holy scriptures of God and judging if they are or not by those scriptures? God's Word is truth. Christians have to judge right from wrong based upon the Bible. Acts 17:11 "These (the Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

Jesus wouldn't say "don't judge ever" in one verse and say "judge" in the next. The purpose is to get as many as possible off of the wide road to destruction because the highway to hell is the consequence of sin (Matthew 7:13-14), and get them on the "straight and narrow" path to heaven via the gospel of Jesus Christ. To correct; not condemn. There is an old saying: “All it takes for evil to advance, is for godly people to remain silent". You don't bring the love and light of Christ by keeping your mouth shut, but by proclaiming and living out the gospel of Jesus Christ. See clearly, walk purely and speak the truth in love. This little light of mine; I’m going to let it shine, that the lost may be found and saved, saying: Psalm 18:1I will love You, O Lord, my strength.” 
Does that make sense?

1 John 3:9Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.”

In Christ, Brian



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Storge - Family Love, Touching Lives

 Proverbs 8:31 And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!

The old saying is that you don't know what you got till it’s gone. We are only given an allotted amount of time on God’s green Earth, here in this specific time, in this specific place, within our specific biological family of blood relatives, so we need to make the most of our God-given kindred relationships before they are gone and we missed the natural experience of “Family Love”. I have discovered that I love my family and those family reunions that we have; finding that "blood is thicker than water" means a foundational love identity and bond in the ties "my family". They are all mine and that means something deep and solid. We can pick many things, but God picks the family that we are born into and maybe that's the glue. Sure, I have to distance myself socially from some worldly family members because of their willfully lifestyle that contradicts Christian values and are hostile to them on a argumentive level, but they is still my family, so you never stop loving them. 1 Peter 4:8 says, " Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." Be more Christ-like. Family love never changes and if they were in trouble, I shall help, but not to be used as an "enabler". We don't accept or ignore sin, just as God doesn't, but there is grace. We must remember that "except by the grace of God, there walk I", but we live there no longer, as a child of God, we walk in the Spirit following Christ ... tripping, but getting back up holding the Lord hand.

Proverbs 7:4  “Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family.”

Relationships, including family relationships, can be complicated (by different personalities, desires, devotion, direction, or the lack thereof), yet family love (the Greek word -Storge) can be one of the deepest feeling next to the love of God (Agape) and the love of a spouse (Eros). I love my grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts, brothers, sisters and cousins, nephews and nieces  ... my God-given family. We seem to lose sight of this in the busyness of our daily life routines and the distractions of life, if we don't keep our hearts right (the mind will follow). But, who do we long for and call and write and go see, and cling to for deep comfort when the house (metaphorically) falls (small or big problems) but that foundation - Agape, Eros, Storge, then Philia love? Love is the foundation. Care is the natural outflow of love. Action is the natural outflow of care. As I wrote above, If we seem to lose sight of real true love (God, spouse, family, and friends) in the busyness of our daily life routines and the distractions for life, (its there but not in our mind's eye), we lose the care (we don’t make the touch), because our immediate care is for what is currently in front of us (eyes & mind), and we lose the action of seeing, calling, writing, etc. - touching. The old saying is: “the proof is in the pudding” – translated means “the care is in the action (the touch) that demonstrates the love”. I see older family members now, honoring their roots in the love of their family with their own personal reunions before they go to be with the Lord, the heavenly family of God, and it touches my heart.  They demonstrate their love of family by taking the action of driving and visiting family because they truly care. They realize that they have more days behind the cart than are in front of their horse (so to speak) and nobody is promised tomorrow, so love while you can. They love the family all the time, even when they is not visiting, because (storge) family love is the foundation ... its always there. The care for family is there based upon the foundational love of family ... its there too. But “demonstrating” that love and care touches the family and experienced in action ... seeing family, hugging family, giving them a kiss, talking to family, doing something with them or for them, even writing to family (a card, an email, or a letter) ... giving them love by making the time, taking the time and touching. Can your family see that you love you them? How? I know that this is deep, but love is deep when it's right. Spiritual even. But talk is cheap, and I need to work on improving my love and care of family too, Some family members are more gifted in giving (Storge) family love, but the rest of us need to learn to love family as God intended us to and express it more. What on earth are we here for? Don’t miss the opportunities for (Storge) family love.

Ephesians 1:5 and 2:19b God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.


In Christ, Brian

Sunday, January 12, 2014

TOP TEN PREDICTIONS FOR 2014

 This was shared with me at our church's monthly Men's Breakfast yesterday and I thought that (as the author states at the end) they would be encouraging for you, as they are for me. Blessings, Brian


TOP TEN PREDICTIONS FOR 2014:
 
With all the problems the World is facing, it can be unsettling to the mind.
Today, I share with you ten predictions that are true!
 
1. The Bible will still have the words of God.
 
2. Prayer will still be the most powerful thing on Earth..

3. The Holy Spirit will still move..

4. God will still honor the praises of His people.

5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.

6. There will still be singing of praise to God.

7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.

8. There will still be room at the Cross.

9. Jesus will still love you.
 
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.
Isn't it great To Remember Who Is Really In Control, and that;
"the Word of the Lord endures forever." ( 1 Peter 1:25 )

I hope you found this encouraging!!!!
Sometimes we need the reminder of just WHO is really in control.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Promises to God

 

Nehemiah 9:38 “In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it.”

Pastor JJ preached an enlightening, yet challenging sermon last Sunday at our Worship service. Here are my notes and thoughts. What does it take to get our attention and change us; changes in our life? What will drive us to a binding agreement, compulsory covenants, fervent oath, earnest pledges, and solemn vows with the Lord? Swearing hastily-made empty promises do not accomplish anything, but sincere promises to God are important and shows how important our faith is to others; making a clear statement of our change: who we are, who we love and who we belong to (Jeremiah 31:33).
Numbers 30:2 When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.

We don’t succeed as Christians because of what we promise to God, but by the promises of God being faithful to us. Christianity evaluates the performance of mankind not by a low common denominator of human behavior. Christianity asserts that normal natural man is a “fallen” man. The standard of goodness is found in the holiness of God and the blood of the new covenant from God to us. Some make no commitments to God, but all need to “stake their lives” on the Lord; examining our hearts and our lives, discovering where do we not conform to Christ and change to be faithful, that God has every part of us and proclaiming: “I will follow the Lord!” 
Nehemiah 10:28-29 “The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, musicians, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand— all these now join their fellow Israelites the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the Lord our Lord.

Four areas of our lives that we need to commit to the Lord are:
(1)            Submission to God’s Word (obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the Lord our Lord). Be serious about everything spelled out in the Bible. Listen to, trust and obey what God says and make His holy Word our guide for life. Focus our life on the Lord: to know Him and know Him more in devoted regular appointment of personal relationship and prayer as our path.
(2)            Separate ourselves from the God-rejecting secular world system (all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God). Be in the world, but not of the world by distancing ourselves from ungodly and unholy people and situations as a regular way of life in where we stand and walk compared to what is pleasing to the Lord. Add godly people, places and things to our lives, and subtract ungodly people, places and things that are sinful and harmful to worship of and obedience to the Lord 92 Corinthians 6:14b). Holy means set apart by God for God’s purposes. In our relationships, who changes who? Don’t be drug away and lost. We are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16).
(3)            Renew your covenant with a vow, seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness. The word “Sabbath” literally means the seventh day of the week. It is a planned day of rest and worship of the Lord. We need to sit down, relax and refresh our mind, body and soul together with family, while trusting in and declaring the truth of God’s supremacy and sovereignty; resting on the promises of God. Saying, “No” to a life of busyness, distractions and covetousness’.
(4)            Restore the temple, supporting the house and work of God: proclaiming the power of God, assuming responsibility and owning it, obedient and committed to the Word of God, systematically with structure, time and place. Nehemiah 10:39“We will not neglect the house of our God.” Give sacrificially of yourself, back faithfully of resources: time, talents and financial tithes and offerings: not what we can spare. Give with the right motive, for the kingdom of God and the advancement of the Christian faith; to God, for God’s work and purposes in this church, community, nation and world. Be a part of that work and this journey in the time and place where the Lord has placed you.

Ecclesiastes 5:4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.

What is the plot of your life on God’s stage? Who do you make promises to and why? What in the world do we commit to? When we examine our lives, despite what the world says, we find that it is not really all about us. In our promises to God, we discover who we truly belong to, who we are in Him and why? So, what is your next step?


In Christ, Brian