HAVE WE LOST OUR WAY BY FAILING TO SEE WHAT GOD IS SAYING?

Spiritual Blog - Church

Jeremiah 2:31a – “O generation, see the word of the LORD!”  NKJV

 

In picking up the thought of SEEING the Word of God and our being CALLED OUT the question comes to mind, “Called out to do what?”   Are we called to “be holy”?  Absolutely.  Are we called out to “go to heaven”?  We will, but that is not why you were saved that is a benefit of salvation.  You were saved for a divine purpose and have a divine destiny here on this planet. God has a Plan!  One of the greatest needs of this hour is for individuals and churches to know God’s Plan and understand Our Purpose.  I am totally convinced God has a Plan and Purpose for here and now for each of us.  He has called us out to prepare and equip us.  He has given us the full armor of God which in a real sense is Jesus.  It is the time that the Body of Christ take up our weapons and launch into the battle.

If your mentality is “Escapism” or “Apostate” you will be fearful and may find yourself just trying to “hold on” and “hold-out” unto the end.  That is a wrong mentality and I have good news, the Gates of Hell cannot stop you armed with Jesus or armed in Jesus!  We are not those who are to be on the defensive.  We are not to simply “hold the fort” we are to GO THEREFORE!  I am praying for the Church to develop an Offensive Mentality.  NO, not be offensive but go on offense.  Jesus is coming back for His Bride and she is not an undeveloped little girl or an emaciated old woman, she is a radiant bride full of life and vigor.  The Bride He is returning for is Glorious!

Isaiah 42:4 gives something interesting, “God has called the generations from the beginning…”  The Generations!  I believe that God has designed things so that in each generation He would move and execute His plan unique to that generation always moving toward the Ultimate Goal.  Tragically too many churches and believers are simply trying to “wait it out” until Jesus comes rather than “becoming” and “being” what He has declared us to be.  We have a unique place in history for I believe this is the generation that will usher in the greatest move of God mankind has ever witnessed and we will see the Restored Church rise up and reap the harvest of the End Times.

There are several things are worthy of note.  Psalm 33:11 declares, “The thoughts of His heart are extended to all generations.”  In Psalm 45:17 we read, “I will make They Name to be remembered in all generations.”  Psalm 100:5 reminds us, “His truth endures to all generations.”  Psalm 145:13, “Your dominion endures to all generations.”  Then Psalm 119:90 declares, “Your faithfulness continues through all generations.”  In Acts 13:36 the writer declares, “David served God’s purpose in His own generation…”  Isaiah 58 speaks of the foundations of many generations.  In Psalm 17:18 we have a powerful prayer, “Oh God, forsake me not until I have shown Thy strength unto this generation and Thy power to everyone that is to come.”   At some point in human history, God will raise up a people that will demonstrate God’s power and love to EVERYONE THAT WILL COME!  Always keep it in the forefront of your minds that we are, as Peter declared, “…a Chosen Generation…”  (1 Peter 2:9).  THAT IS US!

If we understand that a generation is a “single step in the line of descent from an ancestor”.  We have a destiny that God has purposed for each of us.  Many, like me, have had a sense of destiny all their lives and that sense of destiny keeps me moving forward. The devil has tried numerous times to stop me.  As a child, I was sickly and the doctors did not think I would live to adulthood, but I did.  There were times in my youth that I had brushes with death but didn’t die.  In Vietnam, on several occasions, I can pinpoint specific times when God did something miraculous to keep me out of harm’s way.  As an adult, I have had the sentence of death on me and God healed or delivered me.  If we realize our Purpose and embrace our Destiny we must become people of prayer and out of that relationship I believe will become people of power.  In that state, we will become voices that can be called nothing less than prophetic as we speak His truth and light to the world.  That will make us Radical Christians and we will learn to be the Glorious Church Jesus came to build exercising dominion and power over the powers of darkness.

So, believer, allow the Holy Spirit to birth in your heart sense of destiny and purpose and allow the visions of God birthed in your heart to become outworkings of your life.  God bless you as you embark on your new journey in Christ!

CAN YOU SEE WHAT GOD IS SAYING?

Spiritual Blog - Seeing

Jeremiah 2:31a – “O generation, see the word of the LORD!”  NKJV

I believe there are exciting times ahead for the Body of Christ. What is in my heart is far more than I could deliver in one brief devotional or even several devotionals so I will attempt to condense this to a thought and present an idea that, hopefully, will resonate and benefit you.  What I hope to unveil could be considered prophetic, not eschatologically but directionally.  Let’s begin and trust the Spirit of the Lord to accomplish this objective.

The KJV and NKJV use the word SEE and that word literally means: “to behold, consider, discern, enjoy, gaze, look on, perceive, respect or to have vision.”  That, I believe is what we need today in the Church.  Joel 2:28 tells us that “…young men will SEE visions.”  It said SEE not necessarily HAVE visions or vision.  It truly could be have, but it is more than just having visions.  It is declaring that they will “behold, discern, respect, etc. GOD’S VISIONS!”  They will be able to communicate and run with those visions not just have them reside in their hearts.  I truly believe God is raising up what can only be called a “New Generation” of warriors for these last days.  Men and women who will lead the Body of Christ forth in His Revival, Renewal and Restoration prophesied in Scripture.

In John 17:15-17 we hear our Lord in a powerful and vital word for any generation but particularly for this one.  He said, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.”  Let me ask as simple but important question.  How many of Jesus’ prayers get answered?  If you said anything other than ALL OF THEM I ask you to rethink your answer.  Now, look at what He said beginning at verse 15.  His prayer was not that the Father take us out of this world.  Wow!  That means we are inescapably in this world and our purpose is to function in it.  We are here with a purpose, therefore we are not to seek ISOLATION for we are to be salt and light.  In verse 17 He prayed for our Sanctification or setting apart.  Again, that is not a desire for us to be ISOLATED and INSULATED but SET APART for His Work in the midst of the raving wolves of this world.  If you recall Matthew 16:18 you realize that Jesus is building a Church that has power over and no fear of the powers of hell.

We are the CALLED OUT but not called out in the sense of not living here but called out to be distinct from the world and world system.  We are called out of the philosophy and system of the world.  Our minds are to be different because we have renewed minds.  We are not like the world because of the Grace of God and the Work of Jesus on the Cross.  We are THE PEOPLE OF GOD and as such we emanate the Spirit of God and manifest Jesus to the world in our character, words, deeds, and attitude.  He has not called us to ISOLATE from the world but to PENETRATE the world with the truth of God’s Eternal Grace and Love.  We have a reason for being, a purpose and a destiny.  We are to walk in Love, with Power springing out of Life!

Too many want to live in their “safe haven” of strictly religious circles and inside the four walls of the local fellowship.  Unfortunately, that is not where the world is and if we are to “go into all the world” we have to leave those safe havens and our isolation and penetrate the darkness with His light.  Too many seem to suggest that “if we build it, they will come” and we are waiting for them to come to the Oasis rather than launching out where they are in the highways, byways and hedges seeking that which is lost.

I have heard Christians with the Comfort Zone, Safe Haven mentality lament, “My job is terrible.  I’m around sinners all the time.  They use profanity and speak of crude things and it just makes me feel dirty.”  Where did Jesus go?  He went to the sinners and even ate with them, which brought about the ire of the Pharisees.  If we have that mentality we will hide inside the church and our select fellowship groups and think, “Man this is great but when I’m out there in the world it is difficult.  Thank God I don’t have to go out there anymore.”  YES YOU DO!  If we are to obey His commission and be lights shining in the darkness, representing and manifesting Jesus to the world that is exactly where we have to be.  Jesus said, “Father, I do not pray that You take them out of this world but that you keep them…” 

God did not give us a spirit of fear and instead of being contaminated by the sin of the sinners infect them with righteousness.  Which is more powerful, what we have or what they have?  We are infected with Jesus and God has called to Penetrate, not Isolate.  We have been CALLED OUT to GO OUT and bring the Good News to WHOSOEVER…

I have more to share but will pause there and pick up next time with a few more thoughts on SEEING the Word of God in this hour.  God bless you richly as you go through this wonderful day He has made and go forth rejoicing!

THERE IS A PROMISE, HOPE, DREAM, and EXPECTATION… [Part Two]

Spiritual Blog - Promise

Ephesians 5:25-27 – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”  NKJV

 

As we consider the Plan of God and acknowledge that it has never ceased in the Heart of God we should examine some Old Testament types and shadows.  God uses them to direct us from the natural to what He has in mind in the spiritual.  What flesh cannot and could not do the Spirit can.  Paul informed us that the Old Testament was written as an example for us in the New.  God gave us the Old Testament for more than history but also for education, so we could learn His principles and purposes and apply them in our lives spiritually.  We also learn from Paul that God’s process is “first the natural then the spiritual.”  The Old Testament points us to the New and as what we see “in the natural” in the Old testifies to us of what God’s plan is for the Spiritual.

An example of that can be seen in the deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt.  This, I believe, is clearly a type of the Church (Christ’s Body) coming out of bondage and enslavement to liberty and freedom.  In Egypt, we see sin and man’s system.  God’s covenant people are called out and set free by the miraculous hand of God.  A beautiful truth, often missed, is that there were SPOILS in their exodus.  They did not go out empty handed.  As they departed and were liberated Pharaoh and his army were decimated by the hand of God and if we can receive it, the wilderness was spiritual boot camp or training ground for the fulfillment of the Promise.  They crossed Jordan which is a type of “death” but it is death to self so they could then function and entered Canaan which is a picture of the Place of Victory.  Victory, here and now! 

God has no Plan by which we can take a shortcut through the wilderness.  You cannot get to the Promised Land without going through the wilderness.  The Tabernacle helps us to understand this truth and as we examine this reality we can learn WHERE we are and WHERE God is taking us, and we learn, order and His process.  He takes us step by step, line upon line, and precept upon precept.  No steps are omitted or bypassed.  Adam failed, but Jesus, the Last Adam came and restored us legally all that was lost.  He has given gifts, anointing, and abilities to fulfill His Covenant.  We must move into Him fully to gain this reality experientially rather than simply doctrinally or judicially.

  • THE CHURCH IS CHRIST’S BODY.

If we are to understand our authority and position we must look to and at Jesus.  He has dominion, is fruitful, and fully manifests the Father in all He said and did on earth.  By His Work on the Cross and through God’s Covenant we are the Body of Christ and we have legally and judicially been restored to that position Adam lost.  Isaiah 61, fulfilled in Jesus is to be a current reality in His Body, the Church.  John 14:12, fulfilled in Jesus was promised to His Body, the Church and is to be expected in today’s world.

The transition revealed in the name change of Abraham is significant.  He was Abram but became Abraham.  The name change reflected both a character change and purpose change in his life.  He transitioned from a heathen idolater who worshiped the moon to the man of faith he became.  His Promise was that he would become a Great Nation, be Blessed, have Fame & Honor, be a Blessing, Bless his friends and curse his foes and that through him ALL THE NATIONS could be Blessed.  He was 75 when this word came to him.  He was married but childless and was probably already resigning himself to the probability that he and Sari would have no children of their own.  Then the Promise came and that revealed the Problem.  How would he be a great nation if he had no heir?  His human reason was poised to shipwreck his participation in the Promise.  Human reason is not always a friend of God’s Promises or Purposes.

The Promise was clear.  God said, “Go forth…”  He set out for Canaan, the Place of Promise.  He knew where he was going.  God then told him, “I will give you and your descendants the land…”  But he had no descendants so the Promise revealed the Problem.  He faced difficulties in the pursuit of the Promise and Purpose of God but in it all, he maintained his confidence in “El Shaddai” and rested in God’s sufficiency.  Human, reason often asks questions rooted in doubt but faith says, “I may not see it or comprehend how it can be but God is sufficient for me!”

In Egypt he allowed deception to enter through lying about his relationship with his wife.  Later, he listened to her counsel and Ishmael was produced rather than fully trusting God.  In Genesis 17 God returned and reaffirmed the Promise and Covenant and gave him his name change.  The story is amazing and when Paul tells the story in Romans 4 his tells us that “Abraham, staggered not…”  WHAT?  He became what God said but at the initial moment of hearing the Promise he staggered.  It is not the momentary but the eventuality that is most important.  Abraham had God’s Promise and knew WHERE God wanted to take him but he could not see HOW he could get there.  Finally, he rested in God’s Promise and received the fulfillment.

God gives you and me a Promise and wants that Promise to become a Hope and that Hope to become a Dream or Vision and that produces Faith to achieve the Promise.  Where are you now in your spiritual walk?  God has given you a Promise, Hope, Dream, and Expectation and you may be vacillating between two points and may be near casting away your confidence.  You may have even produced an Ishmael or two in the process but take heart, God wants to help you get back to where you got off course and achieve the Dream.  Resist being shipwrecked by Human Reason and place your confidence in God’s Promise.

May the Lord richly bless you as you go through this day and the rest of your life!

THERE IS A PROMISE, HOPE, DREAM, and EXPECTATION…

Spiritual Blog - Expectation

Ephesians 5:25-27 – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”  NKJV

 

Although the topic of marital relations is incredibly important that is not my focus today it is THE CHURCH, the BODY of CHRIST.  I would request that you read the following passages in conjunction with the one of our text:  Acts 20:28; Galatians 4:1-9,13-14; Genesis 12:1-3, and 1 Peter 2:1-2, 9-12.  I believe they will be beneficial in our pursuit of this idea and thought.

There are a number of things that stand out to me in this thought and I sense, in my spirit, that God is saying or desiring to say some things to the Church Universal, Local and Members Individual.  Those things are exciting, encouraging, expanding but also somewhat exasperating.  It is much easier to see where God wants to take us than how we are going to get there.  He wants to take us through some places that we cannot accomplish in our present condition as we are laden with baggage which prevents.  Too many of us and too many churches have EXCESS BAGGAGE.  Please, don’t get religious on me and protest that you do not have any baggage and resist the temptation to compare yourself with another and thereby elevate yourself in your own eyes.

It is important for us to know WHERE we are going.  If I do not know where I’m going I can only arrive at the destination by accident and there are no accidents in God.  We need to know WHERE we are and accept reality as to our position and condition.  Are we pulling down strongholds?  Are we walking in unity and faith, not simply doctrine and tradition but unity and faith?  Have we fully matured in Christ and in our knowledge of the Son of God?  Are we manifesting Jesus on an individual, local and universal level?  That tells us WHERE we are!  Let me suggest that the devil has no fear of what you know doctrinally.  Devils do not fear what you know they fear what you experience and manifest in God. 

Too often, I fear, we have been building institutions on “Foundations of Sand”.  We are entering a time when God is beginning to shake His Church and our world and some things are going to fall like dominoes.  Too many are waiting for Jesus’ Rescue Mission and trying to Hold the Fort rather than Pulling Down Strongholds.  JESUS IS COMING, but He told us to OCCUPY until He does.  He is preparing His bride and wants her spotless, wrinkleless, blemishless, and mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.  God has never had and will never have a “run for your life” program and plan.  He is and through Him we are VICTORIOUS.  He has defeated the enemy and we, through Him, can defeat the enemy.  He wants us to REIGN IN HIM in this present world.

  • GOD HAS ALWAYS HAD A PLAN.

Consider the position and authority of the first man, Adam as revealed in Genesis 1:26-30. He was to be fruitful, multiply, fill, subdue, have dominion, and enjoy the creation set before him.  God repeated that desire to Noah in Genesis 9:1-2 and again to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 as is clearly revealed in the Covenant declaring that All the Families of the Earth are to be Blessed.  The covenant was reinforced and repeated to Isaac in Genesis 26 and then to Jacob in Genesis 35. 

The plan and purpose of God become incredibly clear as we study the Covenants of God.  He has a plan!  He wants the families of the earth to be blessed.  He wants them to walk in His Covenant and to be fruitful, multiply, fill, subdue, have dominion, and enjoy the Abundant Life He has set before us or offered to us.  Jesus prayed, “Thy Kingdom Come” in Matthew 6 and in verse 33 tells us that the first and foremost pursuit of our lives is to be “The Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.”  In verse 34 He tells us, “Do not worry about tomorrow…”  WHY?  Because, if you are walking in the Kingdom of God, tomorrow is no threat!  I am totally convinced if we understood and believed that we would become incredibly bold in the face of the assaults of the devil.

God’s Plan and Desire is to have a people through whom He can manifest His Glory and manifest Himself.  He wants us to Rule and Reign with or in Him.  He wants us to walk experientially the fruit of His Covenant and Promises.  Sadly, man has failed time and again.  Adam failed and the race has struggled since that time and yet God continues to repeat and offer His covenant to man.  That Plan has never ceased in God’s heart.  What we need to realize that is:  He has a Plan and in our own strength we cannot fulfill it but IN HIM we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS. 

I want to deal with this further but for now, I will tap the brakes and pause until next time.  May God be with you, guard and guide you as your travel through this day in Him!

LOSING OUR WAY, Nationally, and Individually…

Spiritual Blog - Righteousness

Proverbs 14:34 – “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.”  NKJV

 

I ask the question, “Have we lost our way, as a nation and/or as individuals in America?”  It is not a trivial question to me and as I consider where we are as a nation and a people I am compelled to turn to scripture for answers.  Our text verse gives us incredibly clarity national righteousness or sinfulness.  I have heard many sermons declaring that America is under the judgment of God and doomed.  I won’t argue that but would suggest that as with Jonah and Nineveh, if a nation or people repents God stays His judgment.  Therefore, the question is serious for us as a nation and as individuals.

In Proverbs 14:33, we read, “Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, but what is in the heart of fools is made known.”  As I consider the attitude reflected in this nation politically and in interpersonal relationships I cannot overlook the evidence of evil being present in our society and government.  We are a nation that was founded on biblical and moral principles and the founding fathers acknowledged the importance of God’s guidance and the necessity of following the principles of His word.  They considered those vital foundation stones for the Republic.  I am concerned that we, as a people, may have become unmoored from our moral pillars and are drifting on the sea of life without foundation.  I deeply appreciate and respect the concern for lives, all lives.  Many are placing the lives of various ethnicities above others and there is the demand that women’s rights are violated if we do not allow abortion on demand.  My argument is that if any society places the life of one segment over that of another they have departed from and lost sight of a basic principle in both the Bible and the American Constitution.  God values LIFE and so should we.

As a Christian, a preacher, an American, a parent, and patriot I unashamedly take a firm stand on the side of the rights of the unborn in the womb.  Many in today’s society and even some in the church have allowed themselves to become so desensitized to this issue they have rejected any consideration of that “fetus” being a “living human being” in the womb.  Some consider that entity or life in the womb nothing more than a mass of tissue or a blob of meaninglessness without value or viability.  Never mind that child in the womb has developed body parts, has a heartbeat and can feel pain.  NO, that is unimportant and I suspect that if they allowed themselves to think of that “fetus” as a “baby” they would find it impossible to sleep at night.  It is a serious issue and not one I investigate casually.  When I look a judgment on cities or nations Sodom & Gomorrah are unavoidable and there is no trace of their existence today.  Jesus spoke to the cities of Chorazin & Bethsaida reminding them of their blessings and their sin and said that the cities of Tyre & Sidon would have repented long ago had they seen what Chorazin & Bethsaida had seen.  In this nation we have seen greatness like no other nation on earth and as a people are among the most blessed in history.  Therefore, the question is important.

Alexis de Tocqueville said, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there…in her fertile fields and boundless forests – and it was not there…in her rich mines and vast world commerce – and it was not there…in her democratic Congress and matchless Constitution – and it was not there.  Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.  America is great because she is good, and if America every ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”  That should stop us in our tracks as a nation and people.  Our first president, George Washington, in his inaugural address on April 30, 1789, spoke of the inspiration that came through the love of country and the reality that the connection between virtue and happiness was indisputable.  He spoke of duty, success, and honest governmental policy and how we could not separate our success as a nation from virtue and honesty.  He said, “Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and destiny of the Republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”  He, they, and we should or must recognize that if we violate God’s basic moral principles as a nation or as individuals we will fail without His smile on us.

Over 53 MILLION babies have been aborted in America since 1973.  Consider that the population of Burma, South Korea, and South Africa are individually less than that.  We have killed enough babies to populate entire countries. That is alarming and frightening!  America was living under bondage in a great sense at the time of the American Revolution.  She developed spiritual faith in bondage and from faith came incredible courage.  As courage took root liberty resulted and in liberty she experienced abundance.  As she became rich in abundance symptoms of selfishness sprang up and out of selfishness and abundance came complacency, morally, spiritually and politically.  Complacency produced apathy and as a resulted in moral decay.  Out of moral decay came the fruit of dependency on man, the ability of man, or government and dependency has resulted in a return to bondage.  We, I fear, have come full circle in America and that is why I ask the question.

The nation of Uganda celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence from Britain and in 2012 the president stood before his nation and the word and repented of his personal sins and the sins of the nation.  Do you remember Idi Amin?  President of that nation from 1971-79 and his rule was characterized by incredibly human rights violations and genocide.  It is estimated that as many as 1/2 MILLION people were slaughtered under his direction.  The economy of the nation destroyed and the entire country in shambles.  Today, that is not the same picture because a leader took personal responsibility and led the nation according to 2 Chronicles 7:14 in repentance and prayer.

I hear the Spirit of God saying, “It is up to you America and Americans!”  We must change course personally if we have drifted from God and we must change course nationally if we are to enjoy the smiles of God on us today.  If we abandon God’s precepts and principles we are treading on dangerous ground.  I wonder what our founding fathers and the preachers of that day would say if they saw us now.

            May the Smiles of Heaven be in your life and labors.  Blessings abundant!

Recommended listening:  Broadcast Prayer Network – http://www.bpnradio.com a 27/7/365 internet radio station that seeks to motivate people to become people of prayer.

WRONG SIDE OF THE RIVER…

Spiritual Blog - Wrong Side

Numbers 32:1-5 – “Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of livestock; and when they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, that indeed the region was a place for livestock, 2 the children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spoke to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the leaders of the congregation, saying, 3 “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Shebam, Nebo, and Beon, 4 the country which the LORD defeated before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock, and your servants have livestock.” 5 Therefore they said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not take us over the Jordan.”  NKJV

 

I wonder how many times God’s people have craved to stay on the Wrong Side of the River or just outside the Place of Promise?  If we are going to have God’s best and walk in His perfect we have to go all the way through and not stop short of the fulfillment of the commission.  The tribe of Ruben and Gad fell into the trap of Eve in the Garden and Christians throughout the ages in allowing what they could see in the natural outweigh what they could not see in the spiritual.  In a real sense, it was the Lust of the Eyes and the Pride of Life that caused them to say to Moses, “Do not take us over the Jordan.”  They were saying, “We are satisfied to have this rather than placing our confidence in God’s Promise that what He has for us would be better.”  Most would say, “I’d never do that.”  Yet, we do it more frequently than we are willing to admit.

The wanted to stay on the Wrong Side of the River away from the Place of Promise.  I do not want to live there I want to go all the way with Jesus.  They knew God’s promise and the description of the land.  They knew but they wanted immediate gratification and made a choice to stop short of the fullness of God’s Promise.  Can you see the dangers of living on the fringes, outside the Place of Promise?  Living where you are literally cut off from the rest of the body and leaving yourself an easy target for the enemy is a dangerous place spiritually and literally.  They had a Sprinter’s mentality rather than that of a Marathoner. 

The Marathoner gets in the boat at the directive of His Lord and rows.  He is determined to go to the other side as directed.  When he faces difficulty he refuses to quit.  There are times we are in the middle of the lake and the storms of life rage with the billowing waves crashing over us but we refuse to quit.  We may become so overcome with the situation that we question, “Where is the Lord?”  But the Marathoner says, “Even though I’m not hearing or seeing Him right now I HAVE HIS WORD to do this, so do it I will.”  I’ve had people come to me and say, “Preacher, things are so bad I am beginning to wonder if I’m even saved.”  I’ve had people say, “I believe but there are times I begin to wonder, is there a God.”  The darkness envelops you but in your heart, you know that you know that you know He said, “Go” and go you must.

We are all eternal souls and we talk to this world through our bodies but talk to God through our spirits.  Someone suggested that our minds are like the Control Tower of a large airport where multitudes of messages are coming in from both the “spirit” and the “flesh”.  Your will is the Traffic Controller and when the messages come in you have to decide who is going to land, where, and when and who is not.  Your will can say to the Reubenite Spirit, “You ARE NOT cleared to land.  Doubt, unbelief, circumstances, you CANNOT land here.”  Too often we settle for what we were in the past rather than embracing what we are now in the Spirit.  I have observed churches and individuals who have failed to break free of the Reubenite Mentality and when they gather they are not singing the songs of Abundant Victory or a Holy War in which we pull down strongholds.  No, they are singing Hold the Fort, In the Sweet By and By.  They are Lion King Christians singing “Hakuna Matata.”  That is the song of many churches and believers crying out, “Let’s have no worries or problems.”  Instead of getting out of the boat and walking on the water they are warning, “Don’t Rock the Boat.”

Travel back in Israel’s history and realize that the very moment they placed the Blood on the Door Posts they said Goodbye to a problem free life and philosophy.  The moment they committed to crossing the Jordan and entering the Place of Promise they said goodbye to a problem free life and philosophy.  I’ve had preachers and Christians tell me, “Well if this were of God there wouldn’t be any problems.”  Really?  Tell that to Paul and the other apostles.  Tell that to Jesus!  Believer, take heart we are more than what we have become and we are not what we yet shall be.

In Numbers 32:7 Moses questioned why they would do something to discourage the rest of the body from going forward.  That is a norm in the church world where those who do not want to Press In and attempt to discourage others from going forward. It may not be intentional but the end is the same.   God sets before us life and death, blessing and curse and it is up to us to choose which path we will take. He will be there, guarding and guiding us but only after we make the choice.

            God bless you as you embark on today wonderful journey in Jesus!

 

WHEN GOD SPEAKS – We Should Be Listening…

Spiritual Blog - Rowing

Matthew 14:22-24 – “Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.”  NKJV

 

I hope this does not become “scatter shooting” but let me toss out a few things for consideration in examining The Speaking God.  Our text will serve as a catalyst for us to examine some real issues and hopefully us to see or understand something I believe is very important spiritually in today’s world.

If you noticed in verse 22 it said that Jesus MADE the disciples get in the boat and go ahead of Him.  I find the word “made” interesting and that caused several questions to arise in my mind.  Did Jesus MAKE the disciples get in the boat?  Was He in the boat?  Regardless of the import of the word “made”, the disciples were so committed to the LORD that any direction He gave would have the same result as physically forcing them in the boat.  Their hearts “made” them obey.  No, Jesus was not in the boat for He was sending them “before” Him.  Therefore, could I suggest that we consider that this suggest something interesting and I walk softly into the unwrapping of this idea.  Before I present that thought more fully I ask that we consider vv. 23-24.

That which the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart and mind is how often we associate the presence of Jesus with the settling or solving our individual circumstances.  In a very real sense, that is correct for His presence does bring PEACE.  However, if you will note, Jesus WAS NOT in the boat on this particular occasion and there was a storm.  Then I ask that you recall the situation where Jesus was asleep in the boat, there was a storm.  So, when He was in the boat (present) there was a storm and when He was absent there was a storm.  Could that help us realize that the coming of storms and adversity IS NOT proportional to the amount of Jesus in the boat?  Yet, I believe it is much deeper than that.  In our walk, there are times we have “heard the Lord” and we are taking actions consistent with what we heard. In those times, whether we realize His presence or not we must consistently apply what we have heard in life.

Now, read Mark 6:45-51 and I believe it will be beneficial in this consideration.  The amazing thing, to me, is that Jesus was WATCHING them struggle and resisted any temptation to become involved.  How can I say that?  That is what we see in verse 48 but then in the next verse, we find it was the 4th watch of the night that He came to them walking on the water.  Clearly, there was a period of time elapse between their departure, the storm’s development, their situation worsening and His arrival.  They were in the middle of the lake, in a dangerous storm, struggling at the oars trying to survive and getting nowhere.  IT WAS HARD!  Have you ever been there?  Jesus could see them struggling.  Some have challenged me and said, “Roy, their straining at the oars was unspiritual and a lack of faith.”  Seriously?  I believe there is a time when we must strain at the oars and exert all our energy in the work of the kingdom.  In every sovereign move of God, there is a time for labor!  I believe that unless we are so committed to His word and directive that we are willing to strain at the oars we will likely fail.  They had the directive of Jesus, “Get in the boat and go to the other side.”  That is not ambiguous and did not detail any possible struggles along the way. It was started here and we are to go there!

My question is, “Are we committed to the Word of the Lord to continue even if Jesus does not appear to be in the boat or hearing our cries for help?”  Another way of asking would be, “Is there any condition or situation that would cause us to abandon that directive from Him?”  We must be committed to His directive, “Get in the boat and go to the other side.”  That is what faith is really all about!  Take a look at John 16:16-21 and then consider the plight of these disciples and us in life.  Three or four miles is a very long distance if you are rowing against a strong wind in rough water.  So by the time they saw Jesus coming to them on the water they were already terrified.  They were so sure of death they thought it was a Ghost or apparition. I suggest that there are times, in our struggles, that God will show up and we will respond as they.  Here is an important point.  They were willing to take Him into the boat.  They did not give up.  They did not disobey.  They did not cease trying to obey His directive and once they let Him in the boat the Bible says in John 6:21, “…immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.”  I LIKE THAT! 

            But, why should they or we be placed in that position of “struggling?”  Why should we be sent out as lambs in the midst of wolves?  Why place us in a position where the heavens seem to be brass and our prayers rise no higher than our heads?  I offer to you the idea that their hard work was not for naught.  If they were to “stop rowing” they would have capsized or gone backward.  Sometimes we think we are in a “holding pattern” and just “holding our own” but we fail to grasp the truth that if we “stop rowing” the wind will take control and shipwreck us.  It was not for God’s information but for their and our development.  It is to help us learn that “Christ in us” enables us to do all things in all situations.  Even when we do not feel His presence HE IS WITH US.  Anyone can run with the weather and pattern their lives and actions according to how the winds of life are blowing.  Even when it would be easier to quit we must continue.  Even when we see no way out we must continue.  Even when all seems hopeless we must continue.  Remember His promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 

            God bless you as you embark on today’s journey in Him!