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

Faithfulness

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

Scripture Joshua 14: 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.

Observation:  Caleb had been one of twelve spies sent into the Promised Land when Israel first came to its borders.  Ten of the spies reported in such a discouraging way that the people became fearful and refused to go into the land.  Only Caleb and Joshua spoke of how their God was able to give them victory.   After forty years of wandering around in the wilderness, they were the only ones left of their generation.  Joshua led them in their battles to secure the land God had promised and now was the time for dividing up the land.  Caleb, with his testimony of wholeheartedly following the LORD, now comes to claim this choice piece of land.

Application:   Testimonies abound of people who were trapped in terrible sin and now set free by the power of God.  Their testimonies are thrilling, even exciting.  As a young person, I remember thinking; my testimony is not very interesting.  I am thankful I discovered Caleb and his testimony.  Faithfulness is one of God’s most dominant characteristics.  And He loves to see it in us.  He greatly rewards faithfulness.

Prayer: Chorus:  Keep me true, Lord Jesus, keep me true.  There’s a race that I must run; there are victories to be won.  Give me power, every hour, to be true.  Amen

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

Set an Example

Scripture: But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!  The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?  1 Corinthians 6:6-7 NIV

Observation: Paul proclaims that legal action of one believer against another is wrong.

Application:  In today’s world of petitioned class-action lawsuits Paul’s directive seems a bit passé.  Don’t file lawsuits, take your lumps and turn the other cheek.  How unearthly can you get?  But that is the attitude that Jesus taught in Matthew 5:40, “And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.”  We are living in a very difficult time.  When believers fail in this area we exacerbate the problems of our society.  We are to be salt and light to the world. If we ignore our Savior’s instruction to be willing to be wronged or cheated we tend to be neither salt nor light. We become one more reason for the world to question Christianity.  I don’t want anyone to say because of my example “why bother with Christ–he doesn’t make any difference in a person’s life anyway!”

Prayer: Lord, give me the ability to be willing to be wronged or cheated so that I may set the proper example to those that look at my witness.  Amen

Doug

Don’t Fret

America's Heritage

Scripture: Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways,  when they carry out their wicked schemes.  Psalm 37:7 NIV

Observation: The Psalmist is talking about not wanting what the world has to offer.

Application: This is a very fitting passage for me today considering my impatience of yesterday.  “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently…”              Psalm 37:7a NIV I appreciate that bit of encouragement today.
I believe that the broader message of the entire passage applies to all of us as we look ahead politically in America today.  Wicked schemes are afoot. Schemes that may fundamentally and economically change America permanently.  That is a source of sadness for me personally and for many others, but the Psalmist tells us to not fret.  “For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”  Psalm 37:9 NIV We have to remember that our hope and joy come from knowing the Lord.  Existence is not so bleak until life eternal if we hold to God’s values.  The Schemer’s reward will be their evil, earthly plots and schemes.  America will not last forever, that is a sad truth, but our reward is in heaven with the Lord.

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving me America to live in.  I am saddened and ashamed of what it has become in many respects over the last couple of generations for I know of it’s God-centered foundation.  We are reaping what we have sown in this country especially since we have collectively asked you to “kindly but out!”  We now see that blatant attempts, that wicked schemes, are being made to fundamentally change the type of government under which we live from Representative Republic to Marxist Socialist and that is a source of grave concern. Lord, help us to remember that our reward is in you–not America. Help us to focus on the fact that our joy comes from being your children, not Americans, and don’t allow us to fret any longer.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen

Doug