Recently, at a local park I over heard a mother question her child and his friends if they were playing nice? Those words captured my thoughts back to a childhood memory of my own. Where my father had to sit my brother and I down after supper and had one of “Those” talks. My father had been concerned by what he had seen earlier that day when my older brother’s friends had been making fun of me in a derogative way with out any objection from my brother. My father with a tone of seriousness told us that there is never a time for family to side against one another. My father went on to say at all cost we should stick together and not side against each other. I know he was emphasizing the importance of a family bond. Many times we see this same scenario with the different age groups or even different generations. We forget we’re family and allow our differences to bring a collision of generations. It’s not a bad thing to think differently or have different strong or weak points. We must see the value of God’s gifts in each person. In 1 Kings 12, We see a tragic story where this type of limited thinking brought a great disastrous result. It was at the time of transition from the great king Solomon to his son Rehoboam now becoming King. It says in verse four that a representing group from the people came to the new young king asking, “Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” Israel had gone through an incredible generation of building and prosperity under the former king. The people didn’t want to rebel but wanted to enjoy life for a while. It was a reasonable request don’t you think? King Rehoboam consulted with the older advisors of the former regime. These men had been a crucial part of the success and would surely know what to do. Their advice and counsel in verse 7 saying, “If you will be a servant to these people today… and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever” was abruptly rejected! The king then went to his childhood friends and peers and asked them what they would advise. Now these where probably friends that the king had played army with and chased girls and even boasted on what they would do when they grew up? We read their shockingly different advice in 1 Kings 12:11, where they tell the king to say, “now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!'” It was an answer of arrogance and immaturity, yet the young king agreed with it. It was a collision of two generations that had long lasting results of epic proportions! The people were devastated and offended choosing to not follow the new king. This unwillingness to blend the thinking of two different generations caused a wall and great division. Verse 16 – 21 tells lets us know ten out of twelve tribes defected from king Rehoboam and chose their own likeminded king. In the next chapter we see this king leads this whole group astray from God. When the generations don’t “Play Nice” and value God’s gifting’s in each other it will lead people away from God!
Not only is the story of Abram fighting vultures away from his sacrifices captivating in Gen 15, but also has helped me in my walk with the Lord over the years. It demonstrates that we have a responsibility to keep our commitments to God as living sacrifices. This story in brief shows God revealing His promise to Abram through a covenant that both agree upon. Also in Deut. 7:9 Moses shares about God’s covenant, “Therefore know that … God (is) faithful … who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments”.
Growing up we have all had childish promises and agreement as friends. Whether it’s a promise to be best friends forever or a promise to keep a secret we have experienced them. But, it’s not until we get older in our life’s journey that we really
Man has proven his inability to keep any agreement without God’s grace and empowerment. (text)
understand how common covenants and promises between individuals have been throughout history. They were used for territories, peace treaties and passage rights through other lands. Today, we use them in our everyday lives, such as marriage, loans, jobs and etc. Even though most looked much different, all were based on the philosophy of a serious promise. They came with the agreement that if one side or both ever break the agreement it could bring severe consequences.
In the scripture we see how God’s love for His people is portrayed through His unfolding of His purposes through the making of covenants to individuals through out the ages. Looking at the 9 covenants in scripture give us understanding that God who is the originator of His promises reveal that He is a covenant-making God. He has the right to set up the conditions in which man can enter into or maintain the covenant. He is also a covenant- keeping God. Once He makes covenant with us He will not Continue reading
The scripture talks much about different individuals that have fallen and tripped along the journey of faith. In Prov 24:16 Solomon might have had his father in mind besides his own experience as he wrote, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” I think most honest believers would admit to a time or times that they have tripped and fallen during their race of righteousness. Yet, we will only lose if we don’t get back up.
Four years of preparation had now come to a close as he returned to the Olympics to defend his gold medal in the 10,000 meter race. Mo Farah of Great Britain had been diligent to push forward and discipline his body for this race. He had practiced and kept focus for these past years to continue at the top of the platform. A
Just because you have stumbled and even had a major mess up, it doesn’t mean your race is over (tweet)
you know they don’t just give gold medals away for being nice and having good intentions. There’s a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into bringing the prize home! Even so, most of us will never understand the level of commitment and sacrifice that is put into being a world class athletic once, let alone a seconded consecutive time. All of this was in the mind of Mo as he waits for the starting shot to go off. The mental strain and voices from the crowd as well as that inner voice can become a runners biggest battle as the physical pain increases.
Everything was going as a typical championship race. The crowded lanes, the different strategies being played out and the continual screams from the onlookers. Farah as well as his faithful friend and training partner, U.S. runner Galen Rupp,
It’s always easier to quit the race and not get up, but there’s no prize in that! (tweet)
seemed to be moving forward in the crowded pack. Then in the 10th lap Farah’s foot hit Galen behind him causing him to fall. The announcers and the world looked on in horror as Farah tumbled to the track and like a gymnast he pops back up on his feet and continues to run. Determined not to stay down or make excuses he pushed on to Continue reading
There is no greater exhilarating feeling than pushing yourself beyond the natural limit during the last seconds of a race. It’s as if every muscle and fiber in your body is working together to thrust forward to cross the finishing line first where with pulling off a victory.
Paul writes to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 9:24-27, comparing the same type of commitment in athletics as to the believer in their Christian journey. He begins by exhorting the believer to run to win not just participating. Then Paul goes on by saying in verse 26-27, Therefore, I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one
He that spends all their life speaking a message to others and not walking that message themselves will end up disqualified (tweet)
who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. Paul is most likely speaking in light of the Isthmian Games that took place every two years during the spring in Corinth.
The athletes would compete in various competitions such as, long jump, footraces, wrestling, throwing the discus and javelin and more. Unlike our modern day Continue reading
Eager to get on the way, we loaded the car and began our journey. The crisp Sunday morning couldn’t have been any more perfect. We were scheduled to minister in a church on the south side of Chicago that morning. So we got an early start for the trip from Milwaukee, to insure plenty of time to get there.
We had already gone a good distance when all of a sudden there was a loud noise followed by a lot of shaking. We pulled over to the side of the road only to find the tire was shredded to pieces. Surprisingly, it only took a few minutes to grab the spare and get back in the car heading for Chicago. This little setback seemed only to confirm to us that God had great plans in store for the meeting ahead.
Halfway to our destination, another loud noise came from the tire that I had just changed twenty miles earlier. The car began to shake in the same manner it did earlier. Once again, I pulled off the road and took a look at the tire, finding that it was also flat and ripped to shreds. Knowing that we were all out of spare tires, I began to get a little worked up and agitated. Yet, we began to feel more than ever that it was God’s will for us to be at that meeting. Even though it now looked as if something was hindering us. We began to be stirred up in our faith and began asking the Lord to move in the meeting. Before I could finish the prayer, a car pulled in behind us to help. To Continue reading
Remember how you would tell your parents that all your friends are doing something so why can’t you do it? And your parents would sternly say as they looked at you, “If they were jumping off the cliff does that mean you should do it?” Even if you didn’t like when their answer was in the form of a question, it actually made sense. Didn’t it?
To many people just go along with the crowd uncontested, believing that numbers confirm a right moral action. When in fact, that can be a very dangerous way of choosing your course in life. God has given us His written word to follow so not to
The Bible instructs us to do what’s right even if it goes against the majority. (tweet)
get distracted. In Prov. 14:12 it says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” NKJV When a man’s ways go outside God’s Word it will lead him down a path ending in destruction.
Our nation was shocked at the unfolding of the events in northwest Guyana on November 18, 1978, where 918 people died in the settlement of Jonestown under the leadership of Jim Jones. The outlandish deception of so many people, including children and adults alike sent a fear of mind control to everyone who heard the news. Soon after the murder of a United States Congressman and four others, who had came to investigate accusations from family members of individuals being held against
Just because everyone is doing it, it doesn’t make it right (tweet)
their own will. These murders spawned what has been viewed as a mass suicide or as many voices say, including Jonestown survivors as a “mass murder”. This deceptive and murderous act was clothed in a religious tone thinking there was a better life awaiting them if they drank the kool-aid laced with cyanide poisoning.
The evidence is strong that not only were these people coerced, but also many were forced to drink the kool-aid, resulting in over 900 lives dying. This shocking incident of deception and control birthed the saying, “don’t drink the kool-aid” which means to not let anyone deceive you. Yet this phrase shouldn’t be tagged to any authentic move of God. The scripture in 1 Pet. 5:8-9, exhorts us to be alert and Continue reading
Being beaten, mistreated and unjustly thrown in the inner prison. Paul and Silas began to hold a praise and worship service in the midst of their dirty depressing accommodations. I am not sure that’s the response most people would have in these chaotic circumstances. Being wrongly accused and treated in such a despicable manner, I think most people would be crying with anguish, threaten to sue somebody or even change their occupation. But to have a devoted worship set in the midst of such trouble blows my mind! When things are crashing around us its usually not the time for worshipping our Lord, or is it?
In this story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16:23-35, we are given some real insight for how we should respond in seasons of turmoil and trouble in our lives. They had all the elements for a good blues song or even country song. But chose to focus on their
Responding in seasons of turmoil and trouble with Praise to God! (tweet)
“Lover of their Soul” their savior Jesus! That very act shows that they were completely confident in Jesus’ leadership in their lives. Now remember that they had been divinely directed to come where they were at in a night visitation. They ministered the Gospel to Lydia and her household who received them and the message open armed.
Anytime we are willing to be lead and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit the enemy will bring distraction and opposition, as we see in this story. Not all individuals want the message of the Gospel to interfere with their agendas. Some people are being directed and even for a time seem successful doing things completely contrary to the Continue reading
Are you a person who knows how to pray with expectant faith? In James 5:16–18, Elijah was not superhuman, but was an ordinary person like us. The scripture goes on to say that he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and for three and a half years it did not rain, not even one drop. Then, in verse 18 it says, “He prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
Looking at this story a little bit closer in I Kings 18:41–45 we see, Elijah told Ahab to go back to his kingdom to eat and drink, because in the Spirit there was “the sound of coming rain. Elijah knew what the will of the Lord was for that season, even though it had been a drought for three and a half years. He had been sent by the Lord to declare there was the sound of abundance of rain coming in the land. Now
We must pray with expectancy and confidence as we see with the eyes of faith, and hear with the ears of the Spirit. (tweet)
, Elijah had just witnessed the power of God in magnificent force on top of Mount Carmel where God had accepted Elijah’s sacrifice before all Israel.
Now, Elijah is back on top of the mount after he had declared the coming of rain to the king. It says that he knelt down in a praying position and I believe, like it says in James, that he prayed with expectancy. Telling his servant to go and look for the coming rain clouds seven times. Six times the servant came back saying, “There is nothing in the sky.” But on the seventh Continue reading
Most people would agree that the Welsh Revival was a revival of prayer. Often the meetings would go for hours without any type of teaching or singing, only with prayer and travail. God used a young man named Evan Roberts as His instrument, who was a true intercessor and a man of prayer.
The goal for his first meetings was to train and raise up intercessors for the coming revival. In his book, Revival, Winkie Pratney says, “A prominent member of a Newport Baptist Church declared that Evan Roberts had been praying for thirteen months for that wave of revival to come. He related how the young man was turned out of his lodgings by the landlady who thought that, in his enthusiasm, he was possessed or somewhat mad. He spent hours preaching and praying in his room until the lady became afraid of him and asked him to leave.”
God is not a respecter of persons, but is looking for anyone who will yield to a life of persistent prayer. (tweet)
Evan was persistent in prayer, knowing the key to revival was through a life totally surrendered to the Holy Spirit. At times it would seem his passion and persistence in prayer was unnatural. Yet, when you look at the results of one hundred thousand souls saved in six months, you can only rejoice for his obedience. God is not a respecter of persons, but is looking for anyone who will yield to a life of persistent prayer.
As we read the parable in Luke 18:1–8, we see Jesus teaching that we should always pray and not lose heart. He uses the illustration of a widow going before the judge to get justice from her adversary. Due to the widow’s continual persistence, the judge chose to grant her plea. For she was wearing him down through her persistent pleading. In verse 7, the Lord said, “Shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.” God wants us to understand that He will answer the righteous who cry out to him continually and persistently! That’s a promise! There is a blessing to those who will not lose heart! Continue reading
Have you ever tried to climb a mountain and felt as though your heart was going to pound through your chest? If you’re like me the answer is more times than I’d like to remember. One of those times was when I was returning back to my parent’s ranch, which is settled in the midst of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I had decided to climb one of the peaks that I had conquered many times growing up. Whether it was self-deception or a shortage of oxygen that made me think I was in shape enough to start
The ultimate prize of every believer is to achieve the prize of the upward call of God, through Christ Jesus. (tweet)
out in a full stride, I will never know. I guess you could say I was feeling rambunctious and over confident until moments later everything within me began to scream for me to quit! The more air I needed the less I was getting. My heart was thumping in my chest so loud I thought it would explode.
I quickly had an epiphany of the possible health trauma and looming defeat of not accomplishing the summit, so I adjusted from a sprint mentality to a marathon mindset. Taking one step at a time while focusing on shorter distant goals in front of Continue reading
The moment the gun goes off the sprinters bolt out of their starting blocks with one thing in mind, to be the first to cross the finished line. Many times, the finish can come down to several runners pushing with everything they have to thrust themselves past the others to win by inches. Paul exhorts believers to run the race of faith with victory in mind, not to just participate but to win. (1Cor. 9: 24-26)
Yet, so many people get drawn into the catastrophe of just existing and not finishing strong. Many have lost their tenacious spirit to push for the prize of victory. The wind has been taken out of their sails by a society that says, “Everyone Gets a Trophy”. I totally understand that we need to encourage and mentor the younger by rewarding and giving praise. But we also need to encourage them that whether it is in the natural or spiritual, hard work, endurance and discipline will help them achieve the prize at the end of the race. No one likes pain and agony. But for the sake of finishing as a winner the athlete goes through discipline of getting rid of things that will hinder their success.
The Christian also must endure to finish their race. It takes work and much persistence to keep going forward and not quit. In Heb. 12:1-2, the author writes “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…”.
As followers of Christ we often allow bad habits and wrong actions to trip us up through our journey just as the athlete. Paul exhorts the believers in Col 3:8-10 to, “put off the old man with his deeds”. In other words to get rid of any anger, lying, filthy language and the list goes on. We must be willing to cleanse ourselves of any conduct of our former lifestyle without Christ and anything that would hinder us from finishing the race.
Stop nonchalantly going through life and begin running your race of faith to win for the King. (tweet)
Jesus Himself at the end of His earthly ministry prayed to the Father in John17:4-5 saying, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” We also see at the end of the apostle Paul’s life he wrote in 2 Tim 4:6-8 to young Timothy saying, “the time of my departure is at hand…I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul ended his race achieving the victory in which he says he would receive a reward by God. Let us have that same mind as we run our race of Faith.
It is an act of worship and brings glory to God when we live our life pleasing to Him. In 1 Cor. 9;25 it says, if those in a race run for a earthy prize how much more should we run to win a imperishable crown from Christ. In Rev. 4:10-11 we get a glimpse of the twenty-four elders that cast their crowns or rewards at the feet of Jesus and say, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor “. They give their heavenly rewards back to the Lord as worship to Him.
As believers when we finish our race victoriously it is evidence of our love and worship for God. So I encourage you to stop nonchalantly going through life and begin running your race of faith to win for the King.
There’s a scene in the movie, “The Patriot” that fascinates me and helps me makes a point. The colony people are in the community chapel when the enemy commander comes busting in on a horse. A young bride of a patriot is there in the sanctuary trembling in fear as the commander intimidates and threatens them for being sympathetic towards the patriots. Once the rider finishes his threats and leaves, he orders his soldiers to chain the doors and burn down the chapel with the bride and others inside.
The “Bride of Christ” the church, has taken in and allowed a “Trojan Horse” into its sanctuary. Many have been deceived into thinking it was a gift to the body of Christ, all the while quietly and unnoticed it has bound us and released an onslaught of damage and death to many.
The “Trojan Horse” that I am talking about is the thought pattern that we must compromise our Biblical doctrine and beliefs under the disguise of being relevant. We have watered down and taken out the power of God in the church. We have been more concerned in seeker sensitive methodology then we have been with Holy Spirit sensitivity.
We have been more concerned in seeker sensitive methodology then we have been with Holy Spirit sensitivity. (tweet)
In Gal 3:1-2, Paul passionately speaks to the Galatians to not let any deceiving things come in and lead them away. In Matt 24:3-7 Jesus Himself tells the disciples, Continue reading
It seems to be running rampant throughout our society. People are offended at the smallest things. These so called offences spawn acts of road rage, displaying public disagreements or setting up walls of isolation. All because someone did something that they don’t like. Their theme song could be “You did me wrong” song. These days’ people are so overly sensitive and tightly wound, that they are quick to take things personal and build walls between anyone that violates their small comfort zone.
In Proverbs 18:19 it says, “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city”. Once individuals allow themselves to take the bait of offense they can become so emotionally closed that no one can penetrate the fortress they have erected. The picture that the scripture paints us is that of a walled city that closes its gates protecting all within from anything coming from the outside. The offended person closes himself or herself from anything or anyone that they think could bring inner hurt.
Those that are easily offended have some common characteristics in their lives. They live in a “rejection mentality” causing them to see everything that happens as a deliberate rejection focused on them. They take things personal instead of realizing that it can be a general circumstance that just happens to include them. They are individuals that are easily triggered and tend to presume the “why” without seeking
The offended person closes himself or herself from anything or anyone that they think could bring inner hurt. (tweet)
the facts of the bigger picture. You could say that they are selfish and self-centered individuals that are controlled by their personal feelings. They are limited from seeing the one that has offended them as maybe a person with their own unrevealed circumstances. The offended person can come across as “conflict focused”. They feel that everything is a battle not realizing the most significant battle goes on inside them. They are wounded and bruised emotionally Continue reading