It’s Natural for Things to Change

images-32Doesn’t it seem like your children grow up over night? One minute you’re changing their diapers and the next you’re cheering them on at their little league games. Before you even get the rhythm of the weekly games, they seem to be walking across the stage for their graduation.

It’s natural for things to change. The only thing that will not change is God Himself. In Mal 3:6 God says, “For I am the Lord, I do not change”. God is perfect and therefore is the same yesterday today and forever. (Heb. 13:8) But as far as His creation we are made to change as well as everything around us. Our looks change. Our jobs may change and definitely technology changes. Change is usually uncomfortable and can be down right hard at times. Especially, if we have been resisting it for a while.

It’s the same spiritually. Unless we are continuing to grow in the things of God we are not spiritually healthy. A believer that doesn’t put any effort into growing and wants to coast along will become a casualty sooner or later. To many believers don’t want change in their lives. They are content in taking the road of least resistance in their journey of life. But God demands change!

The story of Jacob in Gen. 25-32 reveals that he had some character flaws in his life as well as, some God given gifts that he had not surrendered to God’s will. Remember, He was a twin to Esau and from birth we see his tenacious spirit and strong will. Jacob’s name reveals his bent towards deception and conniving. He took advantage of his brother in weakness and gained the family birthright and later in an act of deliberate deception tricked his father in pronouncing the blessing on him instead of Esau.

We see no indication that there was ever any conviction or repentance in his younger years for his carnal actions yet God still pursued him. Throughout his life we see the reaping of the ungodly seeds he had planted over journey of many years. We see deception, mistrust and trickery in his marriage, his relationships and his business. (Gen 28-50)

But God had a plan for Jacob, just like He has a plan for our lives. But with that being said, we must allow God to change us. In 2 Tim 2:20, Paul tells Timothy that there are good things and corrupt things in our lives that need to be dealt with. He goes on to say if we take care of the carnal things we will be vessels of honor and useful for the Master. Jesus Himself tells His disciples that we must deny ourselves and follow Him. If we lose our lives for His sake we will gain our lives. (Mk 8:34-35)

With the pressure of the glooming circumstance, Jacob finally came to the place he was willing to deal with these tendencies in his life. We see in Gen 32 that once Jacob crossed over the shallow of the river Jabbok, he is finally willing to face “the music” of his life and be poured out before the audience of one. God wrestles with Jacob who has always wrestled with doing what was right his whole life. Jacob chooses to finally be tenacious for Gods will and therefore will not let go until God changes him. It is through God’s mercy we see Jacob is finally changed because the will of God prevails in his life.

Isn’t it time for you to face those areas in your life that you haven’t surrendered to God? He wants to bless you but you must first be willing to be changed.

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The Hits Just Keep on Coming

Atlanta Braves v Chicago White SoxI believe most of us have had days that seemed to drag on with one bad circumstance after another pelting you. You might have even felt like you have some invisible bulls eye on your back that everyone else can see but you. Whether your day started out getting laid off at work and then on the way home you run out of gas to finally arrive to your house to find that the air-conditioning system is not working. That my friend is a day that you could pin the phrase, “the hits just keep on coming”. I imagine we all have a story we could tell about some day that goes down in our history as one of those days. The question is, can we prevent it or not?

In 1 Sam 30:1-26, we see David and his 600 mighty warriors coming back from battle. I am sure they’re looking forward for some downtime to heal their wounds


Deal with your sin before your sin Deals with you   (tweet)


and bodies from extreme exhaustion, as well as, connecting to their families. Maybe they had had some near misses in battle or even been in the clutches of death, but now they’re headed to there home sweet home in Ziglag.

Somewhere along the path home they might have noticed a small trickle of smoke quietly lifting in the blue sky. Maybe there was joking amongst them selves on whose wife was burning dinner or whose barn had just caught on fire. But tragically the fun jabbing became a nightmare as they got close enough to see the magnitude of the circumstances. The Amalekites had invaded their hometown, burning it and taking their wives and children captive.

This enemy that David had fought against some time back (1 Sam 27:9), where he hadn’t taken any captives had now returned and brought havoc to Ziklag. I can’t even imagine the thoughts that were invading these men’s mind. In 1 Sam 30:4-6, it says that they “lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep” and that “the soul of all the people was grieved…”. Knowing that your loved ones are now in the hands of a vicious enemy bent on revenge would torment you beyond words.

The sad and almost disgusting part of this whole story line is that the Amalekites should not have even been on this earth to bring havoc on David! David was dealing with an enemy that God had told King Saul to annihilate once and for all


It might be because of you that the hits just keep on coming!   (tweet)


in 1 Sam. 15:3. Yet, because of self-opinion and compromise, along with deception King Saul thought fit to disobey the Word of God that was given to him through Samuel the prophet. Because of this major disobedience this enemy was kept on the earth and the consequence has been monumental. First, we see that the kingship Continue reading

It’s Time to Grow Up!

1A- adult on baby bottleThere’s nothing like codling your new born when they first come home from the hospital and they still smell so new. Starting the journey of parenthood can be an exhilarating time in ones life. My wife would wrap our children when they were in that infant stage and bring them to me, so I could feed them and love on them. Wow! There’s nothing like it!

But if you fast-forward the journey, it definitely will get different. They have nothing on their mind other than playing with their friends and living life to it’s fullest. Feeding time can look like a litter of young pups knocking over anything and everything that stands in the way of their bowl of cereal on a Saturday morning. Sadly, the codling goes away and the feeding memories are filed away in the archives of the past.

Even in the bird kingdom in the coming of Spring you can find mother’s bringing worms and insects back to the nest, where the newly hatched babies eagerly await dinner with their mouth open. King Solomon in his wisdom sums it up


It is unnatural and incapable for anyone believer to grow spiritually if they stay spoon-fed     (tweet)


in Eccl 3:2 where he says there’s, “A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;” He pens what many of us parents have already experienced or what some are learning as they are currently in the trenches with raising their children. There are season! What might be cute and making of great memories with your newborn would totally be absurd to do with an older child. Keep cuddling by all means, but let them feed themselves when they’re older.

As Paul writes his letter to the believers in Colosse saying in Col 2:6-7, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Paul in his spiritual fathering exhorts those who had made a decision to receive Jesus as their Lord: to not stop with just a decision but to begin the journey of following their new master. What he says here he also says with more detail to the


If you are Not growing in the Lord… what’s your excuse?    (tweet)


Hebrews that weren’t progressing in their spiritual walk. He says in Heb. 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you Continue reading

What has Robbed your Passion?

images-26When the new wears off and normal comes into play many lose their passion and fire. As most of us have experienced over the years in our own lives, our passion for different things comes in and out almost as often as the Sun rises and then sets hours later. I remember my siblings and I having thoughts of making big money shoveling driveways every first snow. Yet, halfway through with a mountain of snow still in my shovel the enthusiasm and passion quickly faded and before long we gave up and were all back in our warm home.

In reading the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18 -19, we see his passion and zeal for the God he worshipped and served. He had just been used by God to turn the hearts of Israel back to Him. Through his obedience and faith, God had showed His power


Don’t run from God into what you think is a cave or safe place, when the enemy means it to become your tomb.     (tweet)


and might on Mount Carmel in front of Baal‘s prophets and Jezebel’s chaplains, as well as the nation of Israel. Elijah’s boldness and eradication of the prophets and chaplains after God worked a great victory through him demonstrated his fire for God.

But then there is a drastic shift in the story as we see in 1 Kings 19:4 where Elijah is asking God to let him die. He says, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” He compares his life with those that had turned from God even after seeing God work mightily in there midst. This mighty prophet of God goes from a mountain top experience to the valley of discouragement. One moment he has a fiery passion for the things of God and the next he is nothing more than a smoking wick of a lamp. The fire had gone out in his life and there was only a faint stench of smoke. Elijah even sinks to the depth of despair by running into the wilderness and hiding in a cave. What happened to this bigger than life passionate prophet? What made him lose the fire of God? What made Him hide in the pit of life? A cave is nothing more than a tomb waiting to be shut!

What has robbed you of your passion for the things of God! Remember back when you had your first encounter with God? It was just like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus when Jesus joined them and talked with them. (Lk 24:13-32) They said “did not our hearts burn within us?” God starts His fire with in us! But then as we go through life we allow things to quench that fire! We lose our passion for the things of God!

Elijah allowed fear to come in when the evil queen Jezebel threatened his life. He began to isolated himself and have a pity party. He believed the lie that he was the only one serving God. He forgot what God had done in his life already. (1 Kings 19:1-10) Therefore, he ran from God to a desert place, into what he thought was a cave or safe place, but the enemy meant for it to become his tomb. God never left Elijah even when he was running but sustained him, empowered him, spoke to him and guided him all the way to victory!

As Matt 12:20 says, God isn’t going to let your fire go completely out even if its just smoking. He will intervene and draw near to you. But will you respond to His whisper? Letting Him rekindle your fire?

 

 

 

What has so easily Offended you making you go Astray?

images-24Have you notice the epidemic of people who are offended and living their lives entrenched in the bondage of offences. Maybe it is a friend that out of the blue won’t talk to you or a co-worker that becomes standoffish after your promotion. Maybe it’s even hit closer to your home with a family member who hasn’t communicated with you for sometime. Whatever the scenario might look like most of us have been defiled in someway by offended people.

We read in Matt 24:10-11 Jesus’ words concerning the end of the age, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many”. One of the many signs that He gives them in this dialog is that there will be a noticeable plague of people


Once a person is offended they are dragged down a demonic trail that will open their callused hearts to deception.   (tweet)


who are offended. The word “offended” in this passage means to entrap, to put a snare or stumbling block in the way. The word picture is the lever on a trap that ensnares whatever is enticed. In other words an offence will ensnare and hold in bondage the person that has been offended.

We set ourselves up for offense when we require certain behaviors from those with whom we have relationships. Offenses unchecked will lead to hurts and distortions. A person that chooses to be offended has allowed himself or herself to be entrapped and held captive. Limiting them from being about the fathers business.

We read in Matt 24 verse 10 that once people are offended that it leads to betrayal of each other. Meaning to cast off your commitment or bond that was there before the offence. It even implies to put in prison or bondage. When a person


The ironic thing about the person that succumbs to being offended is that they will become offenders themselves     (tweet)


becomes offended it breaks the bond or covenant one may have and actually imprisons a person in the enemies hold. To betray someone is the ultimate abandonment of covenant!

Unfortunately, we also read in verse 10 that the slippery slope of destruction progresses from just being offended to betrayal and then drops off the cliff of Continue reading

Can You say, Burn Baby Burn?

images-22The early summer morning smelled with the fragrance of mowed grass and wild flowers as we entered the ally behind our house. The cartoons had just gotten over and now it was time to begin living out the adventures of the super heroes we had just watched. Like most young boys my brother and I had adventure oozing out of every thought and opportunity that lay before us. This day it was a stroll through the alley full of imaginary villains. As we cautiously moved forward we saw the open door of a neighbors garage wooing us as if with a magical pull. Moments into this spontaneous-crafted adventure, jumps from behind a pile of cardboard boxes a bigger than life “German Shepard” with three inch teeth barking and snarling at our intrusion.

This gigantic dog that was tied up behind the boxes was now barking as to sound the alarm of the trespassers. Being scared out of our wits and committed to


Jesus is not only the Lord of the Harvest but comes as a fire to purge us and make us better. (tweet)


defend our 8 year old heroic honor as seen on TV, we grabbed the box of wooden matches that seemed to be divinely placed on a counter in hands reach. It was a natural response to begin striking and throwing these perfect weapons at the man-eating dog to seal our victory.

Well… as if in seconds the smoke and flames began to dance from the pile of boxes between the dog and us. The increased barking signaled the owner to come running and rescue the ferocious pet and yes you guessed it, the two juvenile neighborhood super heroes from the burning garage. As the crowd assembled and the fire trucks roared down the alley I knew our season of becoming the cities next super heroes seemed to fade as our father sternly walked us away to our house, which was to become a dungeon of torture for two little rambunctious boys who were grounded with what seemed to be a life sentence. But with skilled parents who knew how to pray we were saved from becoming arsonists.

Let me say up front, there is never a time that Arson is O.K. Yet, God often in His word describes Himself and His acts with fire. John the Baptist, who was a prophetic voice and a forerunner to Jesus, says concerning Jesus in Matt 3:11-12 “…


God’s fire in our lives isn’t bad, but is for clearing junk out so He can restore and rebuild us better for His work.      (tweet)


He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire… He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” In other words John is letting us know that Jesus is coming for and committed to a harvest that will be purged from any hindering thing. Christ is coming for a unblemished bride. (Eph. 5:27) Jesus is not only the Lord of the Harvest but comes as a fire to purge us and make us better.

Not justifying our actions as kids by no means, but the end of this story is the Continue reading

I am Not Going To Bow No Matter What!

images-19The trumpeters and the music began to sound causing the people to immediately scurry to the place before the idol and bow in a fearful submission. These Chaldeans and many foreigners that had been taken in war-conquests fell to their faces out of fear of the king’s command. (Dan 3:4-6) The consequences for those who remained standing would be thrown into the fiery furnace.

The scene was much like the game we grew up playing, “Musical Chairs” that when the music stopped everyone franticly grabs a chair and sits down knowing that there aren’t enough chairs for everyone. The penalty for being left standing was you were cast out of the game. In the same manner, in this historical story in Dan 3, which takes place during the seventy years of God’s people being in captivity, when the music started the people had to stop and drop, giving homage to the king’s idol.

We’re introduced to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. These three young Hebrew boys were growing up in a society polar opposite of their families and culture. It was a strategy of the conquering army to take the best specimen from a


The God of Fire met these mighty and obedient Hebrew boys in the midst of the fire! (tweet)


culture and transform them into the beliefs and customs of the new kingdom. But these three young Hebrew boys where so impacted by their belief in their God and the daily rehearsing of the stories that it firmly grounded them to live a devoted life even in the midst of the one they were now being forced to live.

Therefore it was no surprise when they would not bow to the Kings idol. For they knew their God had said, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Ex 20:3) So in spite of the consequences these young boys made a manly decision to not go along with the knee bending music! Their loyalty was to their God even if it cost them their life. Wow! That’s not easy to do.

The king was so outraged to the point of having the furnace turned up seven times, that it even killed the furnace keepers and the guards that threw the Hebrew boys in the furnace.

The weightiness of their decision, to obey God rather than what everyone else was doing, should shake each of us personally as we live our daily lives. With death sneering at them, they boldly and confidently replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, in Dan 3:16-18 saying, “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning


Because three dared to be devoted to God, not bowing to the pressures of the day. God moved on their behalf    (tweet)


fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods…”. And that’s exactly what happened!

The God of Fire met these mighty and obedient Hebrew boys in the midst of the fire! Even with the added heat these three were alive and well in the midst of the Continue reading