Side with God’s Afflicted People.

Even thou wast as one of them.”—Obadiah 1:11.

ROTHERLY kindness was due from Edom to Israel in the time of need, but instead thereof, the men of Esau made common cause with Israel’s foes. Special stress in the sentence before us is laid upon the word thou; as when Caesar cried to Brutus, “and thou Brutus”; a bad action may be all the worse, because of the person who has committed it. When we sin, who are the chosen favorites of heaven, we sin with an emphasis; ours is a crying offence, because we are so peculiarly indulged. If an angel should lay his hand upon us when we are doing evil, he need not use any other rebuke than the question, “What thou? What dost thou here?” Much forgiven, much delivered, much instructed, much enriched, much blessed, shall we dare to put forth our hand unto evil? God forbid!

A few minutes of confession may be beneficial to thee, gentle reader, this morning. Hast thou never been as the wicked? At an evening party certain men laughed at uncleanness, and the joke was not altogether offensive to thine ear, even thou wast as one of them. When hard things were spoken concerning the ways of God, thou wast bashfully silent; and so, to on-lookers, thou wast as one of them. When worldlings were bartering in the market, and driving hard bargains, wast thou not as one of them? When they were pursuing vanity with a hunter’s foot, wert thou not as greedy for gain as they were? Could any difference be discerned between thee and them? Is there any difference?

Here we come to close quarters. Be honest with thine own soul, and make sure that thou art a new creature in Christ Jesus; but when this is sure, walk jealously, lest any should again be able to say, “Even thou wast as one of them.” Thou wouldst not desire to share their eternal doom, why then be like them here? Come not thou into their secret, lest thou come into their ruin. Side with the afflicted people of God, and not with the world.

C. H. Spurgeon

Covenant Transporters

I was just about to enter the expressway off I-64 between Barboursville and Milton West Virginia, when I spotted a semi from the “Covenant Transport” Company.  Now, I’ve seen these trucks before, but today the words “Covenant, and Transport” hit me.  A covenant is an agreement, or a guarantee between two parties, which specifies, if certain conditions are met those involved will receive whatever is defined in the agreement. In some cases, this is monetary. As I drove behind the semi, there was an ad which read “Drivers Needed.

Covenant, Transport and Drivers Needed.   You and I are transporters of the covenant God made with mankind through our Savior.  Jesus said if we abide in Him, as He abides in the Father, we would be recipients of the covenant.   The Holy Spirit’s residency in the believer’s life is a prime example of what our blessed Savior placed in the covenant.  As a result, there is an opportunity for us to experience abundant life.  And not just abundance, but also anointing power to restore, rebuild, and realign lives.  As long as we are here, it is our sacred assignment to transport (a condition of the covenant), the precious cargo of the Holy Spirit to nourish, educate, guide, motivate, and care for those hurting and loss among us.

I noted the “Drivers Needed” ad on the back of the semi as a call to action.  More of us are needed to become transporters.   So every day, seek to transport behind enemy lines, courage, peace (Shalom), justice, mercy, grace, righteousness, forgiveness and love.   We, all need someone from time to time to lift us up out of despair and confusion; to stand in the gap until our hearts can transport the covenant ourselves.

Ready to sign up?  Applications are available for Covenant Transporters.

Count the Cost

Luke 14:28…”But don’t begin until you count the cost…(NLT)

The new year has officially begun and many have made resolutions, or set goals to change some aspect of their lives. For most it is the goal to be better, faster, stronger or just plain fit. Others vow to clean up and clear out their closets and become better organized. Some have plans to return to school, find a new job, write a book or begin a hobby, but whatever the goal there is a cost involved.  It is never easy.  One of the prime reasons so many of us fail to reach our goals is failure to calculate the costs. Jesus in this parable tells his disciples to calculate the cost of being a disciple before proclaiming their allegiance to Him.  Any person starting a building project must know how much it is going to costs.  The builder needs to know there is enough money and resources to complete the job.  Calculation is important with any project, even more so with being a disciple.

Disciples of Christ need calculate the costs involved in the purposes of God.  He tells us if we can’t give up self, family and follow Him, then we can’t be His disciple. The cost is too great. “Love for family and one’s own life must not compete with devotion to Christ.”  The risks are great, but the rewards are far greater. Christ counted the cost of leaving glory and coming to earth for us. The cost of temptation, pain, suffering and injustice to heal, save and deliver us.  And he has more than enough to pay the debt for our sins.

Thank you God for looking at the “love scale” and determining we were worth the costs.

Does Mere Christianity Mean Eliminate Denominations? by John Piper

Please check out Dr. Piper’s comments on this blog.

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/does-mere-christianity-mean-eliminate-denominations

I believe you will find his comments enlightening.

 

Be blessed.

 

 

Kingdom Questions

Last evening, our pastor gave us 11 questions to answer focusing on the Kingdom. This morning I am sharing them with you.  Devoting time to see exactly where I am in the Kingdom is what I call “spiritual re-alignment“.  Just as our tires need regular realignment after miles and miles of travelling, so our spirits, minds and souls need a “spiritual re-alignment” to stay steady and straight on the road(s) of life.  I pray this exercise will be a blessing to you as you re-align yourself closer to Almighty God.

1. What is the Kingdom [of God]?
2. Are you in the Kingdom of God?
3. How long have you been in the Kingdom?
4. Do you work for the Kingdom?
5. What do you do in the Kingdom?
6. How many people have you recruited into the Kingdom?
7. How do you effect the Kingdom?
8. Will you support the Kingdom?
9. Will you work harder for the Kingdom?
10. Will you spread the word about the Kingdom?
11. Will you pray for the Kingdom?

Grace

“Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18

“Grow in grace” – not in one grace only, but in all grace. Grow in that root-grace, faith.  Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let faith increase in fullness, constancy, simplicity. Grow also in love. Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed. Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie every low, and know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward – having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus.  May God the Holy Spirit enable you to “grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior”, [that grace may abound]. Amen   C.H. Spurgeon

Unity In The House

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus in chapter 4 about walking in unity. Verse 3 states…”endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Unity by definition is to join; to become united in oneness.  When you look at the Greek and Hebrew definitions, there is an emphasis not only on becoming one, but doing so one by one for the purpose of abundance.  Abundance is an outgrowth of our oneness in unity with the Spirit.  It is a reward or benefit of abiding in unity. Our definition of unity is expanded.  The sum of our parts is greater because of our oneness with Christ.  Further in chapter 4 of Ephesians, we are told there is one body and one Spirit, and we as believers are called into one hope through our Lord, our faith, our baptism, our God and Father.  How do we become one body demonstrating unity?  By equipping the saints til “we come into unity of the faith” and in the knowledge of Jesus.  With the combined gifts and works of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, the church becomes a mature, stronger and fully prepared entity ready to carry out His plans.  We become more powerful, more loving, more compassionate, more cunning about the ways of the enemy…all parts working together in sync [harmony] with the divine plan of salvation.  We become one.  Not all at once, but individually, one by one until every part of the body is in place and fully operational.

The word unity appears three times in the Scriptures, just three. In Psalm 133:1, and in the verses 3 and 13 of Chapter 4 in Ephesians.  And yet despite its absence in other scriptures, the theme of unity in the house of God can be seen throughout the Bible.  Even before Adam and Eve sinned, God had devised a unifying plan to restored us to “glorious abundant oneness” with Him.  May you grow up in all things [one body] into Him who is the Head-Christ our Lord.

Graduation

Graduations are times of immense joy for both the graduate and their families, friends, and loved ones.  When the graduate receives his or her diploma, the long days of study, hard work and sacrifice seem worth it for this one moment.

Our family is gathering to celebrate a graduation.  It is particularly meaningful, because of the events of the past two weeks.  The enemy tried his best to take the life of this young person.  However, those attempts were no match for the powerful intercessory prayers of his parents, family and friends, and the grace of God.    When it was all over, we praised God for His grace, and for allowing us to complete this test.

I looked up the definition of graduate, and it means someone who holds a degree.  Graduation signifies the completion of all the requirements necessary to become a degree holder.      We are all enrolled in God’s University.  This heavenly tabernacle of instruction is life changing and eternal for both disciple, and teacher.  There are many courses to take, and completion of each is necessary to successfully pass, and withstand the fiery tests of our adversary.   Spiritual courses such as prayer, fasting, solitude, silence, meditation, study are all critical requirements. Our book encourages us to “study thyself to show thyself approved, a workman who needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  Belief in The Son of God is prerequisite for entry into the university.   One of our professor emeritus, Peter outlined in one of his syllabi [2 Peter 3:18], that we are to grow grace and in the knowledge of Jesus, our Master Teacher.  Jesus told us to remain connected Him-the True vine [John 15:4] for knowledge of Him changes and sustain us through each tests, as we strive to finish the course.  Although, some tests, and trials may be difficult and long, in the end He promises that we will graduate, and become a degree holder.

For those who prayed for the life of this young person, we are pausing to celebration, and recognize this test was successfully completed, and the grade turned in.    Maybe, you are pausing to celebrate a crucial victory in a young person’s life that has, or is about to graduate.  Remember, you’re still in school, and another course is just around the corner.  No need to worry though, we already have the best Teacher and the best Book.

Surrender all to God

I Surrender All by Clay Crosse

Theologian Howard Thurman wrote, “ I surrender to God the nerve center of my consent. This is the very core of my will, the mainspring of my desiring, the essence of my conscious thought.”

To surrender to God, the work you do, the things you own, the relationships, the hopes, the dreams, and the fears is to give up everything. And everything includes the hurts, the pains, the disappointments, the injustices into the hands of a loving God who knows what it is like, and what we are like and still says cast your burdens unto me. God has our life. He has it. The things we carry around is no match for God. Surrender, today all of it to Him.