HE AIN’T HEAVY – HE’S MY BROTHER…

Spiritual Blog - Heavy

Galatians 6:1-5 – “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load.”  NKJV

No I ‘m not talking about the song by The Hollies but a biblical principle of caring for each other.  The song says, “The road is long with many a winding turn that leads us to who know where who knows when but I’m strong enough to carry him He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.” 

Most who have preached, taught or studied matters of faith and read various and sundry writings remember the story of Sandhu Sundar Singh and a traveling companion were traveling through a high and rugged pass in the Himalayan Mountains they found a body lying in the snow.  Sandhu Sundar Singh could not tolerate the thought of leaving the man behind even at the objection of his traveling companion.  His companion left him there to care for the man and with incredible difficulty Singh lifted the man onto his back and the heat of his own body gradually warmed the freezing man to the point he revived.  After a time they were both able to walk and found Singh’s companion frozen in the snow.  He was willing to lose his life to save another and in the process found his life and the life of the unfortunate man.  His traveling companion focused on self-preservation, was unwilling to risk losing his life to help another and lost his.

This reminds me of the question of Jesus, “Who is my mother?  Who are my brothers?”  He answered that saying, “…whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister and mother.”  In Luke 10:29 Jesus was asked, “Who is my neighbor?”  Our Lord related the story, account or parable of the Good Samaritan indicating that the person in genuine need is our neighbor and Psalm 19:17 teaches that if we “…give to the poor we lend to the Lord…”  The Psalm reminds us that God never forgets our acts of kindness, generosity or mercy.  I find it incredibly powerful that the Psalmist would use a word translated LEND.  We do not obligate God but He obligates Himself to remember!

In today’s world there are many worthy causes and needy people.  The Bible makes it clear that a truly needy person is never to be ignored by those able to lend a hand.  It also makes it abundantly clear that a person who may be destitute but lazy and unwilling to work is not to receive that help.  Some call me heartless when I say that but if a person adopts a lifestyle of slothfulness and preys upon the kindheartedness of others they are to be allowed to suffer in their plight.  In the case where a person would work if they could I will be at the head of the line offering assistance whenever my means make it possible.  I would never punish children who are not capable of fending for themselves for the dolefulness of parents or caretakers but I would also want to insure the doleful adult receives no benefit for the care of the child.  I believe that is biblical.

So, that person truly in need is not heavy, he/she is my brother/sister and I want to reach out and help.  I want to provide a hand up not just a hand out.  I want to present and manifest to them the love, character and nature of my loving LORD.

            May God be with you as you go through this day!

Advertisements

LIVING SACRIFICES…

 Spiritual Blog - Living Sacrifices

Romans 12:1-2 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  NKJV

Through the years I have observed many people, situations and experiences that involved sacrifice.  We have all observed people making incredible sacrifices for the benefit of others and some so selfless they amazed us.  As I reflect on this thought and passage I felt the Holy Spirit ask, “What is a sacrifice?”  If I take the simplest definition it is “surrendering possession of something and making it an offering.”  It can be something that is slaughtered or simple given up in the pursuit of acceptance.

So if a sacrifice is something that is given to be slaughtered or possession is given to another what is a “Living Sacrifice?”  If we are presenting our bodies as sacrifices to God are we not giving Him possession and thereby complete control?  He is not talking about our bodies being given in death but in life, for we are to make this presentation as a “Living Sacrifice”.  That means that we are acknowledging our willing relinquishment of control of our lives.  Paul called this “reasonable” and identifies that this was to be more than just our physical bodies we are to give our hearts and minds as well.  We are to move from worldly conformation to spiritual transformation by the renewing of our minds.  Therefore, if we are giving ourselves to God as a sacrifice that is alive we are acknowledging that He has the right to total control of our lives.

If I am a Living Sacrifice then why do I still demand my rights and privileges?  I have none, I am a sacrifice.  I am at his disposal to use as He chooses, in the way He chooses, when He chooses and where He chooses.  How is it that we continue to resist if we are truly sacrifices of the living kind?  So many are searching for the “will of God” but when the Holy Spirit nudges their hearts to do some small or even less desirable service they resist.  Some have told me they want to find a church where their gifting is appreciated and utilized.  I can understand that but what if God is not ready for you to be in the front of the room and has a work in the back of the room for you?  If you are a “Living Sacrifice” you will not complain but if you are not truly a sacrifice you will resist.

If I give myself to God as a sacrifice it is no longer I but He that lives in me and through me.  It is no longer my will but thine be done.  It is no longer about me it is about Him, His kingdom and purpose.  The question I often ask myself and others is, “Are we truly living sacrifices?”  Do we place ourselves on the altar and then get up and walk off the altar?

            May God be with you as you go through this day!

IF YOU THINK THIS IS BAD…

Spiritual Blog - Loving Jesus

Jeremiah 12:5 – “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, Then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?”  NKJV

 

Most of us have experienced times when we didn’t think we could go on.  It seemed like everything that could go wrong had, was going or would go wrong and we were weary of life itself.  I recall praying with in a time of incredible hardship and in my lament I cried out to God saying, “I wouldn’t treat my kids like this, what can You be thinking to allow this?”  As I continued to moan and complain over my plight I felt a nudge of the Spirit of God directing me to this passage.  I opened my Bible and began to read.  As I read I felt my face flush, my heart began to race and I had severe shortness of breath.  After I finished reading I could not speak and after a few minutes I cried out, “I’m so sorry LORD!  I am so wrong!  Help me!” 

As I began to reflect on my situation I was ashamed of my reaction and response.  I knew instantly that I was being wearied by footmen and that things could and might get much worse.  I knew that if this was causing my confidence to crumble I would be in deep trouble if horse soldiers were loosed into the battle.  I realized that if the enemy came in like a flood and the banks of adversity overflowed I was in trouble so my response was to repent and cry for help.

Almost immediately things began to change.  We needed depositions from people to confirm our account and resolve the issue.  The attorney handling the situation said, “If we get 25% response we will be doing well.”  There were fourteen people who had firsthand knowledge of the matter and fourteen gave a sworn deposition confirming our position.  He called me and said, “I don’t really believe in miracles but this is a miracle.  I have never had this kind of response.”  We rejoiced in God’s marvelous response.  God had allowed me to be tested by the footmen and allowed me to moan and complain then in His incredible love and compassion brought me face to face with the truth and my response allowed Him to break the chains the enemy was attempting to place on us.

I am fully convinced that in the days to come most, if not all believers, will experience battles with the footmen.  Many are now encountering the hordes of hell’s infantry coming against them.  I plead with you to lift up your eyes and look to the hills knowing you are not alone.  If you will stand firm in the strength of your faith and the power of God you will not only overcome the footmen but when the mounted cavalry arrives you will be prepared for them as well.  When the flood gates of adversity are opened you will know that God will raise up a standard against the enemy and manifest the truth declared in Scripture that we are “more than conquerors through Jesus.”

If you think now is bad what will you do when it gets worse?  I am not trying to be gloom and doom but if you are a threat to the devil he will spare nothing in his attempt to shipwreck your faith.  My encouragement is to remember you are NOT ALONE!  You are NOT FORSAKEN!  You will OVERCOME!

            God bless you richly is my prayer!

PARALYSIS OF ANALYSIS…

Blog Post - Pralysis of Analysis

Ecclesiastes 11:3-4 – “If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree falls to the south or the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. 4 He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”  NKJV

 

I am a fan of adequate planning and having a strategy but sometimes you have to implement the plan even in the face of potential obstacles.  If you are waiting for the perfect day or the perfect conditions you will find yourself in the paralysis of analysis and accomplish nothing.  The Bible tells us that the rain falls on the just and unjust alike.  A cloud that is full of rain does not discriminatory as to where it dumps its rain.  Wherever it is when the conditions are conducive is where the rain falls, desert or forest.  When a tree falls in the forest it has died and will lie wherever it has fallen and in the condition it has fallen.  In life the condition we find ourselves at the time of our earthly departure is the state we will spend eternity in.  Thus it is imperative that we insure that our hearts are turned to God at all times.

Then we come to verse 4 and receive a stern warning about the paralysis of analysis.  If we are looking for a perfect time to launch out we will never launch.  If we are overly conscious of the clouds and winds of adversity we will become paralyzed and not sow and if we do not sow we will not reap.  The devil understands this analogy and principle as well, if not better, than we and uses it against us whenever possible.

We can be overly meticulous and thereby our over attention to the intricate details will render us inactive.  It is always wise to fully evaluate a situation and pray about it carefully, fully and diligently.  However, if we allow the winds of adversity to capture our attention we will become paralyzed with trepidation and that timidity will keep us on the sidelines.  The principle of sowing and reaping requires sowing to have reaping.  Even if we have sown but focus on the clouds and possible storms of opposition we will fail to go into the fields and reap no productive harvest.  We can analyze to the point that we are paralyzed, immobile and inactive and although we have a great mission and commission set before us we will fail in our assignment because we allow external circumstances to dictate our involvement.

Jesus has promised to never leave us and we know that we are more than conquerors through Him therefore though all hell assail us heaven will not fail us and if we refuse to grow weary in well doing we will reap if we do not faint.  I would suggest there may never be a time we view as perfect to launch into that which is in our hearts for the Kingdom.  There will always be opposition and if we understand that opposition is often evidence we are headed in the right direction we will be more emboldened in our labors.

The winds may blow but you must sow!  The clouds may become dark and ominous but we must thrust our sickles and harvest the grain.  I urge you to ask the LORD to help you guard against the terribleness of the paralysis of analysis and become a doer of the word not just a hearer or planner.   There is a time for everything and after the planning, preparation and prayer it is time to roll up our sleeves and engage in the labor.

            God bless you as you go through this day!

LOOSE HIM AND LET HIM GO…

Spiritual Blog - Loose Him

John 11:40-44 – “Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”  41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”  43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”  44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” NKJV

 

I love the story of Lazarus.  I have little doubt there were those in the crowd who believed Jesus could do all things, some believed had He been there Lazarus would have lived and others who were just curious.  He instructed them to take him to the tomb where Lazarus had been buried for four days and the smell would permeate the atmosphere should they roll away the stone.  Jesus was undeterred when they protested and instructed them to take away the stone. He prayed an incredibly simple prayer and then commanded loudly for Lazarus to come out of the tomb.  Lazarus was dead!  He had been dead four days!  In the natural mind he wasn’t going anywhere he was dead and decomposition was setting in.

Amazingly, when He issued a commanded that was probably a shock to many of those present, Lazarus came out of the tomb wrapped in the burial linens.  I can only imagine the sight of a figure emerging from the tomb bound head to foot with the cloths they used to wrap the dead.  What a sight that must have been and I would not be surprised if some wanted to turn and run even if they resisted that urge.

In many ways, Lazarus is a picture of us when we first come to Christ in salvation.  We are still bound with the grave-clothes of a life of sin and cannot fully function in that condition.  We are alive with the newness of life and our names are now in the Lamb’s Book of Life but we are not ready to fully function.  That is why we need the Holy Spirit to do what Jesus commanded, “Loose him, and let him go.”  Take the extraneous trappings from his life.  We need the wise master builders to mold and shape us fitting us into that role and function we are designated in the Body of Christ.  We need to be taught and allowed to mature spiritually from infancy to adolescence to adulthood.  We need to be LOOSED from the baggage that still tries to attach itself to our lives.

God help us to not only hear the call to life but to allow those instructed of the Spirit of God to LOOSE US!  May we be those who are teachable!  May we realize that we have not arrived but are pressing toward the mark and to reach that goal effectively and be vessels meet for the Master’s use we need to be LOOSED!

            God bless you as you go through this day!

BUT IT’S WHAT I BELIEVE…

Spiritual Blog - Right

Proverbs 21:2 – “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts.”  NKJV

I recall a discussion with an individual about a particular matter of faith and that individual proclaimed something that was, in my view, completely foreign to the precepts and principles of God’s word.  In fact, their belief was in direct conflict with several passages in the Bible that would be difficult to interpret differently.

It was when I reminded this person of those passages he said, “But it’s what I believe.”  In short, he was declaring that it did not matter how many passages from the Bible I could present to them, he had decided that what he believed was right and nothing else mattered or would sway him.  That is an incredibly dangerous position in matters of faith or in matters of life generally.  If we ignore revealed truth in defense of our particular belief or ideology we are not just being foolish we become potentially dangerous.  We are dangerous to the faith of the weak, newbies, susceptible and our own faith.  We are allowing ourselves to become tools of the enemy of our souls and demonstrating a stubbornness that is akin to witchcraft.

Most of us, believe that what we believe is right and most of the time believe that what we are doing and how we are living is right.  It is almost impossible to look at self objectively for we all have blind spots that we are totally unable to see and often reject when they are revealed or suggested.  However, God is not subject to our view or inability to see truth about our lives or conduct.  He sees everything and the end from the beginning.  He knows our thoughts afar off.  He knows when we get up, sit down, or lay down.  He is OMNISCIENT, OMNIPRESENT, and OMNIPOTENT.  He sees and knows and desires, through the Holy Spirit, to guide us into all truth.

God weighs our hearts and if we are weighed in the balance and found wanting we should desire Him to lead us into rightness and righteousness.  If we are in error we should desire to find truth.  In my years of living the Christian life and Christian service I have found that some things I initially believed I no longer believe because I have gained knowledge, from His Word, and my doctrine and beliefs have been modified to accommodate the word not the word modified to accommodate my beliefs.

Just because we believe something does not make it truth it makes it our belief or opinion.  If the facts, the revealed word of God and the Spirit of God pull back the veil of understanding and expose us to a greater revelation we need to incorporate truth into our beliefs.  I know some who search the Bible to find isolated passages they can use to solidify their argument or belief rather than seeking to KNOW TRUTH and adapt their beliefs to truth. Just because we think we are right does not mean that we are it means we think we are!

            May the Lord be with you as you go through this day!

WE ARE NOT ISLANDS…

Spiritual Blog - Body

Proverbs 18:10 – “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.”  NKJV

The apostle Paul echoed that truth in Romans 14 when he was talking about how we viewed various things in life and how we set aside time to worship.  He said in verse 7, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.”  Simply, we are not islands isolated and alone in life.  We may opt for that condition but it is not a wise thing for as Ecclesiastes 4:11-12 reveals we need each other and “…a threefold cord is not quickly or easily broken.”

We are members of the Body of Christ and individually we are not the body.  As the human body needs all the other members to function completely and efficiently so does the Body of Christ.  We are “living stones” fitted and framed into a spiritual house.  We draw strength, wisdom and hope from each other.  When one is down another can pick him up as Ecclesiastes 4:10 reveals.

I have had people tell me, “I don’t need anyone.”  I do and so do they!  Iron sharpens iron and if we come together and I deposit my light or understanding and you deposit yours we have more than either had separately or alone.  Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 18 that if “…two or three gather in His name…”  HE IS THERE!  He also said that if two of us AGREE on anything it will be done for us.  There is tremendous power to be drawn from others who are of like precious faith.

I have experienced the reality of this passage in dealing with people over the years and found that some who want to isolate themselves do so because they do not want any push-back to their opinions or desires.  They want to do what they want, when they want and how they want and want no one’s input.  If for no other reason, fellowship would be enough to reject becoming a hermit or isolating oneself in life.  Remember that God said in Genesis 2, “It is not good that man should be alone…”

You may find yourself feeling alone and even rejected by others around you but know that you are NEVER alone for we have a friend that sticks closer than a brother, our LORD.  I know that in some of my darkest times having others as a support group was invaluable.  In times when I had to make critical decisions having the insight and input from others of the faith helped prevent my making some very bad decisions.

You are not an island in life and should never desire to be one.  All of us need time when we pull back or come aside and have some alone time with the LORD but that is not a permanent condition to be desired.  If I am facing battles in life I do not want to stand alone but want the warriors who will go into the trenches with me.  I want the other members of the Body to function providing that which I need and can draw from in the LORD.

            God bless you as you go through this day!