What an Example!

The following blog entry is compliments of Pastor Leon Hiebert, Community Care Pastor of Generations Church.

Scripture: Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.

Observation: The Psalmist is extolling the greatness and goodness of his God.  What good is righteousness without justice, and what good is love without faithfulness?  Without justice, righteousness turns into pride and without faithfulness love turns into lust.

Application: In the cross we see how far God would go to be just.  He did not sweep my sins under some rug; He took the full payment for me to stand justified.  In the cross we see how far God would go to be faithful in loving me.  He loved me before I even knew Him and loved me even when it cost Him greatly!

Prayer: Lord, let your love for me be an example of how I should love others and how I should love You.  Amen.

Old and New Testament Jesus

Scripture: Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”  He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding. ”  Judges 13:17,18 NIV

Scripture: His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  Revelation 19:12 NIV

Observation: The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus, is Old Testament and New Testament.

Application: As I was reading about Samson in Judges today I started wondering, “what or who is the Angel of the Lord?”  “Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord…” Judges 13:17a.  I went to Wikipedia and found the following excerpted definition:
“In Christianity, many commentators interpret the phrase ‘Angel of the Lord’ to refer to a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ.  Some point out that although many angels appear in the New Testament, the specific, divine ‘Angel of the Lord’ never appears, therefore they conclude that he is now been incarnated as Jesus Christ.”
That says to me that since “Angel of the Lord” does not appear in the New Testament the writer believes that Jesus is the Angel of the Lord.  I too believe that the Angel of the Lord in Judges is the pre-incarnate Jesus.  There are two verse references in Judges and Revelation lead me to believe that the Angel of the Lord is Jesus.  “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding. ”  Judges 13:18 NIV and “He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.”   Revelation 19:12b NIV The Angel of the Lord whose name is beyond understanding in Judges and the  “unnamable” rider of the white horse in Revelation, to me, are the same.  They are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.  “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:16 NIV. Jesus is our Old Testament Angel of the Lord and he is our New Testament King of Kings!

Prayer: Father, thank you for our Old Testament Angel of the Lord, Jesus, and for our New Testament King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus.

Doug

Comfort Others

Scripture: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3,4 NIV

Observation: Paul says we are to give comfort to those in need because God gave to us in our need.

Application: God’s comfort and compassion for us is to transcend to others.  We are to have compassion for them and we are to care about their comfort because God cared for us first.  He cared so much for us that he sent Jesus to die for us on a cross. Praise God for the compassionate gift of his Son and that through Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection we can have eternal life.  Now go out and find someone to care for and share with.  Have compassion on a neighbor, care for their comfort, and share Jesus with them.

Prayer: Heavenly Father,  thank you for loving me first. Help me to care for the comfort of others and help me to share Jesus with them. Amen

Doug

Don’t “Waller” in the Mud

Scripture: Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”  1Corinthians 15:33 NIV

Observation: In chapter fifteen Paul is teaching at length about the truth claimed in Christ, specifically resurrection truth.  In verse thirty-three he is instructing the Corinthians to not be mislead into believing lies.

Application: Paul is instructing the Corinthians that if they are being lead to believe that there is no resurrection than the entire gospel story is an exercise in futility.  He claims that they are listening to naysayers and they are exposing themselves to bad influences who are giving bad council.  Paul has spent a good part of chapter fifteen explaining how the gospel is true and any claim to the contrary is unfounded and brought by “bad company!”  Christians need to understand that Paul’s admonition is for us as well as the Corinthians.  If we associate with, not minister to, but associate with, people of low character we run the risk of damaging our witness. If we “waller” in the mud we’re going to get dirty.  We must know that truth and we must believe in that reality.  If we don’t our faith proves to be weak and futile and we become easily corrupted.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to love and minister to those in need but protect me from their influence on my life.  Help me to always stay strong in you Lord. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Is it Clear?

The following blog entry is compliments of Pastor Leon Hiebert, Community Care Pastor of Generations Church

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

Observation: This is the last verse in chapter 14, the subject being the times when Christians gather; today we call it a “church service” or “mass.”  Although Paul deals with several specific issues, the over-riding theme is that things should be done in a way that people can understand.   God desires that people be strengthened in their faith and encouraged to live appropriately.   They must be able to  understand.

Application: When I am writing a letter, or a report, or a book, I need to consider how the readers will best understand.   When I sing a song I need to make sure the listeners can understand.  When I live my life, I need to make sure that those around me understand the priorities and purpose God has given me.  What is God saying through me?  Is that message clear to others?  I need to be careful that my actions do not negate my message.

Prayer: Lord, help me to talk and act in ways that make You easily seen and understood. Amen.

Special and Unique

Scripture: There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  1 Corinthians 12:4,5 NIV

Observation: Paul is discussing the interdependence of the different parts of the church body.

Application: We are the body of Christ, the church.  Our obligation does not start and stop at the door of the church building.  Our senior or lead pastor does bring a word of truth to us and see to our spiritual health but he alone cannot minister to the entire community by himself.  He needs willing members to go with him to reach out and minister outside of the building.  Our elders and deacons may have plans to paint a room, host an outreach in the gym, or start a new Sunday school class but they need painters, and volunteers, and teachers.  We as the church have a responsibility to each other and our community to use our time, tools, and talents to serve. We don’t all have the same abilities but we do have the same Spirit and Lord, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.”  1 Corinthians 12:4,5 NIV

Prayer: Lord, thank you for making each of us unique with special gifts and abilities. Help us to find them and to use them to glorify you. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

No Servant Can Serve Two Masters

Scripture: Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them.  But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now.
Joshua 23:7,8 NIV

Observation: Joshua in giving his farewell speech before he dies admonishes the Israelites to stay true to God, their Deliverer.

Application: I believe that Joshua’s warning is timeless. He warned the nation of Israel to stay pure and free from the influences of the ungodly nations around them.  Christians are to do the same.  We cannot be a house divided. We cannot be of the world and of the Lord.  “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”                        Luke 16:13 NIV

Prayer: Father, help me to stay true to you and only you. Help me to always know and remember that I cannot be both Holy and worldly.  I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

The Only Prize Worth Winning!

Scripture: Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:19-27 NIV

Observation: This is an amazing piece of scripture.  It should scream to anyone who reads it!  There are two main ideas presented. 
 1) I must do whatever I can to win the hearts of those I meet for Christ.  I must be familiar and flexible with their circumstance so that they can hear the truth found in the gospel. “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22b NIV 2) There is a prize to be won, life eternal for those who come to know Christ!  For me the prize begins with the feeling that I serve a risen Savior who loves me and its finale is on the day he says to me face to face, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21 NIV

Application: So where do I begin? I have been around as a Christian for a while.  I fall short, way short of serving the Lord to the best of my ability.  I need to get back to the basics.  I can find those by knowing Christ and the ministry he started, I call these “Jesus Habits.”  As I share them with you I reaffirm my commitment to utilizing the habits Christ has given me.

1) Know the Word – Most Christians agree that Jesus had the education common to most young Jewish men.  It was a Jewish tradition that young boys spent time studying, memorizing and discussing God’s Word.  They mainly studied the first five books of the Old Testament which are called the Pentateuch, (read Luke 2:39-52).  I must spend more time daily chewing on the Word.  Each and every time I faithfully open God’s Word, I receive new insight and understanding.

2) Know, understand and live a life based on the “fruit of the spirit.” – Jesus showed us through example a life using these attributes; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, (read Galatians 5:16-26).  A wonderful book that shares insight into these attributes is “A Woman’s Walk with God” by Elizabeth George.

3) Prayer and Fasting Jesus took time to meditate, fast and pray.  I must communicate with the Lord through prayer.  I must meditate upon the Word and I must wait in His presence for long periods of time if need be.  Fasting helps me to focus and as I sacrifice my Lord sees my commitment to deepening our relationship.

4) Being a Servant I must be prepared to put into action my gifts. I must be willing to serve my Savior wherever that may take me!  I must be as sensitive as Christ was to the needs of those around me.  I must put others before myself in order to provide an example of a life devoted to Christ so that  through my love they may hunger to experience a personal relationship with him. How far am I willing to go?  Well, Jesus went to the cross for me!

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for lacking I am capable of so much more!  I surrender myself to you and I start afresh knowing I have a lot of work ahead of me!  Lord refine me, mold me by your Word and allow your Holy Spirit to not only live in me but overflow from me to others! Lord I Love You!  I want the prize! I want to see you face to face and hear those precious words “Well Done.”  Amen

Laurie

God is in Control, Be Joyful

Scripture: Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.  But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.  You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.  So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.  For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.  Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-18 NIV

Observations: Paul is giving the Thessalonians instructions for having a right attitude.

Application: I believe that verses 16,17 & 18 are exactly the instructions the Lord wants for us today; “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  I am in no way prone to having a rosy attitude all the time and nobody has ever been accused of calling me a “Polly Anna.”  I take everything, especially politics, very seriously and the actions of our Congress this past weekend are very disconcerting to me.  I believe that fact is why the Lord wants me to share about joy today.  There is every reason to be sullen, sad, and scared for our future when we view it from our perspective.  That’s the problem, OUR perspective, not God’s.  We need to change that.  We need to strive to have a Christ-like attitude and we need to look at current events from God’s perspective.   “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28 NIV God has a plan!  I don’t know what it is, but he does.  I need to know that, accept it and go forth joyfully.
Last night as I lay in bed the Lord put it on my heart to pray for the safety, security, and salvation of President Obama. I was to pray for and believe that he would have a Damascus road conversion; God loves him too. Maybe if a man of power and influence like the president who by all indications is not a Christian were to become one publically a revival may occur in this country.  This is not my will–but it is the will of the Father.  I wish to fulfill his charge for me. I urge all of you to pray for the president, his staff, and our Congress today and do it with a glad heart.

Prayer: Father, today I lift up President Obama. I pray for safety, security, and salvation for him.  I pray that he be humbled today and seek your forgiveness for his life of sin and self-indulgence. Father, I know that through your power he can be a changed man and I believe that his conversion and his public claim of that conversion could encourage a revival upon this land.  Lord I also ask for protection for the president’s staff and all members of both houses of our Congress.  The events of this past weekend no longer have power over my attitude; I choose to “be joyful always.”  I know that through all thing you work for good. I ask that you help us to focus on the fact that you are in control and that is cause for joy.  Thank you Lord.  I ask all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

I Cry Out to You, LORD!

Scripture: The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.  Joshua 7: 10-11 NIV

Scripture: It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.  1 Corinthians 5:1-5 NIV

Observation: In Joshua the Lord specifically tells the Israelites to not take any plunder from pagan peoples.  The Lord knows that this will become a distraction for them, it will take the focus from following the Lord.  The Corinthians found themselves in a similar situation by losing sight of the Lord’s  law and moral values.  Their blindness was due to the secular world around them.  In both cases their disobedience led to Satan gaining a foot hold in their life.

Application:  We must be careful to not be caught in the snare of the secular world today.  It is all around us and in everything.  Satan is smart, if he can destroy us in our homes, “our marriages and families,” he can get to our foundation, “our Heavenly Father and His Living Word.”   This destruction comes in the form of self-satisfaction.  We see it lived out in stage mothers, divorce, and little league coaches.  We need to get back to the basics:

1. Marriage is a commitment between the Lord and a man and woman.  It’s a covenant stronger than a paper license. Genesis 2:22,  1 Corinthians 11:9, Ephesians 5:22 and 5:25 We must know that men and women are made for each other and that we are to give, selflessly of ourselves for our mates.

2. Family is the Lord’s gift to us and with it comes great responsibility.  Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4b We are to raise our children to know and love the Lord.

This hits home for me today!  I have become so sensitive when young couples are deceived by the world.  Well meaning friends and even family become  Satan’s tools in destroying their fragile relationships.  Their knowledge comes from worldly sources, primarily TV shows and self-help books which use the five senses to deceive us.  “The five senses; taste, touch, smell, hearing, and seeing, all report to the carnal mind – which is the enemy of God. These senses are what Satan uses to tempt us! The lust of the flesh includes tasting, touching, smelling, and hearing. The lust of the eyes is seeing. The pride of life is thinking you are special because of who you are, what you have, what you know, or what you look like.”  Taken from  The Word Of God Unplugged at http://wordunplugged.com/the-five-senses/ Even Christians play a part by not “Standing the Gap” for marriages and families in crisis.  We judge, take sides or worst of all, turn and run.  It’s our responsibility to STAND for them in prayer, love and encouragement.  We are to bridge the GAP by acting as an intercessor and giving Godly counsel.  For each marriage lost,  Satan wins! For each family torn apart by worldly pressure Satan is the victor!

Mayse this is for you, Sweetie!  I’m praying for you!

Prayer: LORD! I cry out!!!  Why???  Use me…let me be as BOLD as you wish!  Give me courage and wisdom to fight Satan on this battleground!  I feel physically ill when I think of my past and see others falling for Satan’s lies.  We were not created to be Satan’s toy used to hurt you.  Don’t let me fail, don’t let the innocents be destroyed in their young love for one another.  Don’t let families be torn apart by debt, want for worldly rewards and ignorance of Satan’s game!  We have the advantage in you.  Show us.  Send Christians, strong and mature in their faith, to ” Stand the Gap” for those in need!  Amen

Laurie