Monday, May 28, 2012

Hidden and lost gifts!

...I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you....  

God, has given a variety of gifts to His children.   Each of us has been give at least on gift.  There is a problem in the church today is that many have allowed their specific gift to be buried or diminished.  The false glamor of the more evident gifts causes us to devalue the gift(s) that we have.  The cascading problem with this that God has told us that until we handle properly the gifts given our spiritual growth will be stunted.  This, perhaps, explains much of the state of the church today.

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

Here is the test.  Do we have a boldness about our faith or are we reticent to share the greatest message that has ever been created!  Freedom for the captives!
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,  who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,  but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,  for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.  

You have been saved and left here on the Earth for " His own purpose" but most of God's people have fallen into the seduction of the society around us. We have not only been "saved" but we have been "saved and called with a holy calling".  The world is in rapid decline due to the church losing the vision of each members responsibilities and opportunities.

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.  Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.  

Ashamed?  How do most of us act?  Faith is grown by testing.  Most of us struggle in the area of our faith because we keep our witness hidden.  We are "convinced that the world is able to keep us from witnessing" rather than being convinced that "God is able....".

Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the  treasure which has been entrusted to you.  (From 2 Timothy 1)

Discover the gift or gifts that that God has give to you and then open them up to the church and the world around you.  Trust that God will do the rest!

Monday, May 21, 2012

An Invitation to intimacy!

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
God created man (in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;  and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.
Imagine this setting from the first chapter of Genesis.  God had created everything for the joy and the benefit of the choicest of His creation.
The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."  Genesis 2:16
The vast forest of trees were give to man with only one single tree being set aside as unavailable to them.
They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8
In addition to all of man's physical needs being met, God's presence was consistent and obviously available.
How is it that our world has ended up where is has when so much was provided to the advantage of maintaining the spiritual nature of mankind?
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"   Genesis 3:1
OK, so here is the real question.  Adam personally knew his Creator; had an intimate relationship with his God but, nevertheless, listened to the liar!
How did this happen?
A better question perhaps is: if Adam couldn't resist what chance do I have?
It is vitally important for us to see the entire picture painted in the beginning chapters of the history of God's dealing with man.
What do you think enabled Satan to "get a word in edgewise" with one so aware of God's presence and provision?
What more could Adam have wanted if totally left by himself, with no outside influence?
Allow me to bring this home personally.
Adam had acres and acres of provision. 
How often do you thank God for the things and the people he has given you?   Adam had lost his gratitude for the things and the people that he had had.  This left a huge opening for the enemy to present additional options.
Adam had immediate and real access to the Living God on a current basis.  He grew in-sensitized to the ready presence.
When was the last time you treated your God like He was treasured and that His current presence made a difference for you?
Adam listened to the enticing discussion.
What do you listen to the most?  Do you ever hear from Him?  Are the enticing invitations of fame, wealth, success, happiness, security louder than the sweet, soft voice of the Great Lover of your soul?
Adam choose to try the tree!
What is your tree?  God has given you acres and acres of permissible "trees" but there is always that one! 
I encourage you to hear His voice, walk with Him continually and offer to Him the thanksgiving due!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Seriously,what are we really praying for?

But as soon as they had rest, they did evil again before You Nehemiah 9:28

I really hope that you will take a few brief moments to read chapter 9 of the book of Nehemiah.  My description is less than adequate in describing Nehemiah's prayer for his people.

He recounts the long history of God's redemptions which always followed the people's arrogant, selfish period of following after their own desires.  In every instance, immediately after God's redemption the people turned away once again.

Nehemiah's statement above summarizes the problem.

Now, for a brief moment, consider how we most ofter pray:  We ask for health, jobs, finances, peace and harmony.  What do you suppose Nehemiah would say about such prayers?

I can't speak for anyone but myself but my pattern is not too different from the pattern that Israel followed. When the cupboards are full and spirit is empty!

Let's reconsider how we pray and the things that are really important.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Just cross the stupid river!

The story of the nation of Israel’s release from years of captivity in Egypt begins in Exodus 4. The final act that “buys” their release, the blood of the lamb, is in chapter 11.

To assure that this freed people would not lose their way to God's blessings and provision, a pillar of fire in the night and a cloud during the daylight would guide them every step of the way on their journey. (Exodus 13:21-22).

For several generations, God had promised a specific land to Israel. Not only did He promise the land, but He released them from their captors and guided them directly to the place of entrance into the promised land.

Israel balked. They came right up to the point of decision and they chose not to enter the land. ( Numbers 13). God’s reaction to Israel’s balking?: Surely, all the men who have seen My glory and My signs, which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. Numbers 14:22-23

After the "balking" generation passed away the Nation of Israel is again at the entry point of the promised land.

Deuteronomy 12:8-12 is the key section for us to understand clearly what the new terms of their entrance would be: It explicitly states that tomorroweverything shall not do all that we are doing here today… All of the do's and don'ts of the law were being left on the wilderness side to the border.

The promise is that Israel will live in rest and security provided they enter the land of promise as God intended.

Unfortunately, Hebrews 4 states that Israel NEVER entered the promised rest and security and continues on warning us that we also might miss it if we respond to God the way Israel did. The crowning statement is verse 19: ..they were not able to enter because of unbelief’.

The bottom line is that the people of Israel never entered the land of security and rest because every step of the way they “Logic-ed” their way through the enemies and issues. God required that they enter the land knowing the He had given it to them and that it was He who would clear the way and fight their enemies.

The invitation to us is the same. Cross the Jordan that separates the dominion of this world from the kingdom of God; the world from the promised land; drudgery and toil from rest and security. It is only by faith that we can enter the promised land!