Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sometimes I Thank God For Unanswered Answered Prayer! ♪♫♪♫

Luke 18
1And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
That’s a good question: ‘shall he find faith on the earth?’
This unjust judge took care of the situation just to get the woman off of his back! I am thankful that God is not at all like that! God answers our prayers speedily because he is our Father AND he just doesn’t answer them so as to get rid of us! God is just, he answers our prayers justly! There may be times we just don’t recognize them right away.
The concept of justice talked about in the bible is about truth and righteousness. What is just is what’s best for us and the word gives us instruction in those things that are just by doctrine, reproof and correction(II Timothy 3:16). God committed Himself to His Word because He wanted people to know how to be victorious in life. Many times when we think of justice, it's worldly justice that comes to mind. We think of justice as fairness and equity among other things. We think of the law, courts, legalities, lawyers and politicians. Justice in the Bible is backed by love and the truth. It sheds light on what God’s love is all about.
Many times because of shortsightedness and not being aware of all that is involved behind the scenes or even into the future, it does not seem like God answers our prayers ‘speedily’. We look for the results to come right away! The prayer may be answered right away, but the results may not be visible. He may tell you that you have to wait a bit. He may tell you that it isn’t the best and there is a better way. I am thankful for the way God answers prayers. It is the always the best. We end up being extremely thankful. If you are honest with God in your conversations, you'll  end up singing  'I guess the Lord knows what he's doin' after all' ♪♫♪♫There are more prayers than I can count that I’m so thankful He did not bring to pass. As the years go by we realize that he is always looking out for us. We would not have fared well if God was into answering our requests like a genie in a bottle!

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Life

Today, as I was driving out and about, I noticed how green everything was getting. A week or so ago there were dry shriveled grass blades, no buds on the trees and a barren look all around. It is amazing what a lengthening daylight, an increase in temperature and rain will do to bring life to the seemingly dead surroundings.
I started thinking about Isaiah 53:2  in a magnificent prophecy about the coming Messiah which says:
 2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: 
Jesus Christ came at a dry austere time in Israel and grew up in a disrespected locale (John 1:46). He had no political clout, formal education,  homiletic training, nor busting financial bank accounts and the only note on his resume was that he was God's son.
In Isaiah 11:1-2 Isaiah prophesies:
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
It was the spirit of the Lord that brought life to that day and time, the green effulgence of a life more abundant. God had a purpose for his life and when the people of that time rejected and killed him, God shot energy and power in his lifeless body to defeat the negative powers of this world. This same energy is available to any man or woman that chooses his Lordship and who readily acknowledges his resurrection and the power behind it. The resurrection defeated every possible challenge laid on man by the opposer.
1 Peter 2:24
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Romans 6:4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
We were planted with him by being immersed in his death which placed us in the position of being dead to sin. We have therefore risen with him through the energizing of a loving powerful God with fresh new vital eternally abundant lives. What a glorious event to celebrate! 
Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Body, One Spirit

In Ephesisans 4, there is a list recording the seven-fold unity of the spirit.
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (NIV2011)

It is interesting that these verses start out with 'one body'.  I guess when you look around at all the denominations, non-denominations, groups and sects, it is readily seen that man just doesn't take God at His Word!  Division is everywhere.  It can even be seen in groups that seem to believe the same exact thing, but because of one problem or another, division occurs especially in practical application. This doesn't happen accidently. The problem starts with man and what he chooses.   Man-made religion can not improve on God's provisions.  Man builds organizational systems, methodologies, and traditions in the name of God which have no basis in what God says about himself in His Word. God designed the set-up here with a provision of free-will choice.  It is in the lack of humility to God that man makes the wrong choice.

The body of Christ is made up of members who all have the spirit of God in Christ within. The unity in this body is based on  spirit and truth as true unity cannot exist on anything else.
I Corinthians 12:12-13 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

There is one spirit. Holy spirit is God's gift to us and he provided it through the work of His son whom God made Lord. God is spirit and that is what he gives us to have oneness with Him.

It is a great treasure to be respected in each of us individually and then collectively.

There is another spiritual force that affects man and is in the world operating from a different  motivation than the love of God.  This force thrives and feeds on fear. It affects man to the point that he may choose to adjust  godly wisdom to suit his own fear. It is a  force that deceptively draws men and women away from believing God and causes them to resort to human reasonings instead of the Word and sadly  relinquishing the availability of the power of God. This force causes men to be become blinded by the world and at dissonance with true spiritual matters. This is what causes divisions.

We don't make the unity, it already has been established in God's word. We are supposed to keep it in the forefront of our own hearts and then we have unity with others who do the same.
1 John 1:5-7  This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pablumizing? Yucky kaka!

Babies drink milk for the first year of their life because they are not equipped to digest solid foods.  Even with milk, babies often develop gas when they are newborns because their little intestines are still learning to accommodate food. Their lives are entirely dependent on someone else  to grow. As their bodies grow and mature, they develop teeth to grind, chop and tear food to make it malleable for the absorption of its nutrients in the most effective manner.
The body was designed to take in solid food and process it so as to operate at full potential obtaining nutrients from many different varieties of foods. What if a toddler decided it was too much work to use his teeth and stayed in the milk stage the rest of his life? Poor nutrition and dependency would be the results. In addition, what kind of parent would want that for his child? God certainly does not act like that with us!
God uses this example in Hebrews to express his desire for the reality of what Christ accomplished to become active and practical in a person’s life. In addressing the Hebrews, He makes it clear that something had changed, but in a previous verse He said they had become dull of hearing. His desire is for them to mature and rise out of the learned dependency evident in their lives.
 Hebrews 5:12For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.13For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
The word ‘discern’(see link) in this verse is 'diakrisis' which means ‘to discriminate’ or ‘distinguish’. The words ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are ‘kalon’ and ‘kakon’(from kala and kaka). It is interesting to note that in the Greek there is only one letter difference between these two words! Sometimes there is such a fine line between good and evil that it is hard to distinguish.  Many times evil passes for good and good for evil! It is our confidence in God’s Word that we have made our own that we can see and thus act with the right response to whatever is set before us.  This is what maturity is all about.
God’s full intention in the new birth is for people to grow up out of the baby stage and utilize the principles of the Word, not just in a ‘spoon-fed’ routine, but actively in the bold righteousness! We are not to forget the first principles of God. God is LOVE and in him is no darkness at all! It is from that point of view we are able to discern between good and evil and know what God's best is for our lives.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Authentic Leadership

Great leaders do not grow on trees nor are they a dime a dozen. In the purist sense, true leaders are actually a rarity even though much is written on the subject. God through his Son Jesus Christ has blessed man with the potential to be the best of the best through the utilization of holy spirit. One such man was the Apostle Paul and in Acts 14:8-17 there is  great record of how he reached out:
8 In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly (atenizo - see link) at him, saw (oida) that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. 11When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” NIV 2011
It just doesn’t get any better or simpler than that! And that's just a drop in the bucket of all Paul did and accomplished!