I Remember When You were …

images-33We still chuckle about the times our family would go to reunions and be confronted by that one great aunt that would grab us by the cheek and say, “I remember when you…”. We would cringe in anticipation of what would come out of her mouth next. Usually it was memories that were not so flattering to us and more often they were ammunition for the cousins and siblings to use against us. I think everyone has that one relative in their life that keeps them humble of where they have came from to where they are now.

Throughout scripture we also have stories of different individuals that have started out one way and then ended up another. I am quickly drawn to 2 Sam 23:8-22, where we receive the list of David’s mighty warriors. These guys make   of the 007 secret agent look light a boy scout. It’s not a description of just one guy but a list of many of the top warriors that fought for David before and after he was King. There was Shammah, who stood his ground against the fierce enemy to save a small field filled with his harvest. Then there was Adino, who killed 800 of enemy warriors in one battle. Wow, he didn’t have a high power machine gun or even some grenades, this was hand-to-hand combat. Again, continue down the list and come to


Our modern day “Rambo” and “Rocky” have nothing on God’s “action heroes” (tweet)


Benaiah, who it says did many mighty acts, but one of the several that is mentioned is that he jumped in a pit with only a staff in his hand to fight with a renowned enemy warrior killing him with his own spear. These men are just a few of a list of nothing short of “action heroes” of their day. Our modern day “Rambo” and “Rocky” have nothing on them!

The question that comes up many times is “what elite “War Academy” did they graduate from?” It had to be an expensive and well-known training program, don’t you think? But more than likely these great men were apart of the school of Adullam. Which was nothing more than a hole in the ground where David had went to escape from Saul. Reading this account back in 1 Sam 22:1-2 it informs us that when his family and many others heard he was there they came to him. It defines these individuals as “everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him”. These were a bunch of mentally anguished, perplexed, spiritually bitter, in debt people! So in other words David was now the leader of four hundred very imperfect misfits. He should be really excited, right! But reading also in 1 Chr. 12:22 it says concerning this same group, “…it was a great army, like the army of God”. I often sarcastically wonder if they are speaking of the same people, because they look like anything but a great army.

God seems to specialize in taking people from their humble beginnings and transforming them into people that do incredible feats for the kingdom of God. Just like these mighty men that most likely started with humble beginnings, you and I can be brought from the valleys of despair into a victorious warrior that fulfill God’s plan. If God waited until any of us was ready to be a leader or only used people that were qualified, He would still be waiting. I encourage you to understand that God will transform each of us along the journey from being disabled people to mighty warriors for His use if continue we yield to Him along our journey of Life.

 

 

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.

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?

 

 

 

I Have Fallen and Can’t Get Up

images-11Have you ever gone through a tough situation and cried for help and no one responded? It can be very discouraging. How about when you cry out to God and it seems He is not hearing you. You might feel a sense of despair and all alone.

David recorded many of his emotional valleys in his Psalms to the Lord. In Ps 39:12 he says, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, And give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears”. I believe many people can relate to his cries for help. David like many others have come to a place that they are desperate for God to hear their cry for help. It reminds me of an incident I heard where I grew up.

A adventurous hiker was hiking up a rugged Idaho creek some years back. He was going down the path all by himself enjoying his journey when the rock he stepped on shifted and sent him tumbling down the steep rocky ravine. As his body slammed up against a tree and settled in an outcrop over-looking the creek, He knew


God hears the cry of His children and as a earthly parent responds how much more will your heavenly Father answer!         (tweet)


that his leg was badly broken. Unable to walk and being much to far to even crawl he lay hopeless in the back-country of the Rocky Mountains with the curtain of the day closing.

Barely surviving the frigid cold night he began to yell for help until he hardly had any voice. His journey had come to an abrupt stand still and his future was becoming more hopeless as the day went on.

Then, across the creek and up the ridge came the noise of a chain saw cutting wood for the soon coming winter. The man collecting the fire wood was getting frustrated at his kids who were constantly interrupting him as he cut the fallen tree, shutting off his saw he began to scold them. As his children defended their case they said, “we thought we heard someone yelling for help”. He listened and heard nothing so he continued with the chain saw.

The hurt and almost lifeless hiker knew this was his only hope and began to scream even more. The wood-cutter’s kids knowing they heard a cry for help risked getting in trouble and interrupted their dad agian. Seeing the urgency in their eyes he stopped and walked to the edge of the ravine. He listened and moments before he gave up he heard the faint cry for help.

Though this story ended with a good ending it is unfortunate that in our society there are multitudes of individuals that are crying out for help. Many have gone down a path in their life thinking they are fine and then abruptly interrupted by tragedy. These circumstances will bring the most independent person to cry out for help in desperation. But will there be a answer?

We read in Ex 3:7-8, where God speaks to Moses saying, “I have surely seen the oppression of My people … and have heard their cry … I know their sorrows.” God had heard the cry of His people and understood their sorrows, for they were in bondage to the Egyptians as slaves. God sees the oppression of those that are in desperate situations. In this passage God says, “So I have come down to deliver them”. God hears the cry of His children and as a earthly parent responds how much more will your heavenly Father answer! (Lk 11:11-13) If you’re in that place now, hang on for He hears and will deliver.

That Fragrance is Head Turning

82206053The aroma filled the room, as my wife sprayed her perfume each morning, as she would get ready for her day. The smell would change the very atmosphere in the room and catch my attention every time she walked by. There was just something special about her fragrance that represents more than just a good aroma. It represented her and who she was. That daily routine never seems to get old.

It reminds me of the story in Mark 14:3-9, where we are introduced to the women in Bethany who ministered before Jesus. We read in verse three she, “came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.” This caused an outcry of disapproval and disgust from some that thought it should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Yet, someone else’s head turned also.

Before we judge this as a menial disagreement about some cheap perfume being wasted, let’s look a little bit closer. This wasn’t a story of a bad practical joke that had gone bad, but was a sacrificial act with a much deeper meaning. This women we know as Mary of Bethany who we also read about in Luke 10:42 as well as in Mark. She had an Alabaster


When we minister to Him. It’s a fragrance of beauty that will turn His head and catch His attention.   (tweet)


box filled with a costly fragrance valued at a year’s wage. This wasn’t just any perfume but more of an heirloom that had probably been given and added to over time. It was much like a hope chest that is given to a daughter and then filled over time with things that would be useful for her future. It represented her past, present and future!

So in essence she was giving her past and present successes and failures, as well as her future hopes and dreams to Jesus. She wasn’t pouring out just a perfume but her life. The aroma that filled the room moved Jesus’ heart. It was much more than a temporary fragrance, but was her life’s incense that came before the one who would give His life as a


We are called to stand before Him as Priests! (tweet)


sacrifice for her and the world. Jesus took notice, standing up for her and declaring that this would be a memorial to her through out history. Mary was standing before and ministering to Jesus.

Mary’s actions were representative of what the Levites were separated to do before God. (Deut. 10:8-9) It says they were chosen to “stand before” and “minister” to the Lord. The phrase to “stand before” means to remain and present oneself and the word Continue reading

It’s Time for a Spiritual Check Up!

630828506            In the midst of David’s journey, he cries out to the Lord in Ps.139:23 saying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart” David invites the Lord to check out the hidden most parts of his heart. He didn’t want there to be anything that would hinder his relationship and walk before the Lord. The next verse goes on to say, “see if there is any wicked way in me”. The words “wicked way” can also be defined “painful way”. I believe David had experienced and knew that followers of God will often go through hardships in life’s journey and become bruised and hurt along the way. These can ultimately open the doors for various negative affects in our walk with the Lord. Therefore, David was emphatic about not letting anything come in his life that would jeopardize his journey with the Lord.

Growing up in school sports like many, I remember that it was a yearly requirement to get you physical check up by your doctor before you could be released to participate in any activities. It wasn’t a long appointment, by no means but as I remember there were some specific things the doctor would check. They would first


It’s important that we frequently have a spiritual check up to see if we are healthy and growing in the Lord     (tweet)


listen to your heart to see if there were any irregular rhythms. The blinding light in the eyes was one of the worst things he would do as he checked for any indications or alerting signs. It seemed almost as a police officer checking if a person is under any kind of influences. The doctor would continue his check up wrapping the blood pressure gauge on your upper arm, as well as taking my temperature. All of these simple and quick tests gave him an overview of our health and growth. The physical check up kept all of us in tune with our health keeping us from any serious danger.

How much more important is it that we frequently have a spiritual check up to see if we are healthy and growing in the Lord. We have all seen many people become


Have we become churches that are filled with the walking dead? God forbid!  (tweet)


lax and even lethargic when it comes to continue in good spiritual health. The end result can be spiritual sickness or even a spiritual death. God wants us to be alive and Continue reading