Sunday, June 26, 2016

Entitlement or Empowerment

Have you ever noticed that when things are to themselves, there is a tendency to for things to move towards chaos. There is a lot to be said for order.  Things just don't take care of themselves. If there wasn't order in the universe and every star, planet, galaxy were allowed to go freely, it would be catastrophic. The universe is held together like a fine tuned machine. God is a God of order.

Work is good and even though we may groan and feel too tired, we benefit from the efforts exerted to keep things straight. Our world can teach us to be lazy, that somebody else needs to do it. Some of the biggest problems facing America today are because of this mental philosophy.

People today have their own philosophy of love. They also often are judgmental of others who on the surface don't appear to gush humanitarianism. It is a ruse. Some of the most loving people I know are tough as nails when it comes to encouraging people to work and believe for themselves.

Men like Moses and Joshua understood it. Imagine the work it took to lead about all those people. God is not into entitlement, he is into empowerment. God put himself right in the middle of them to remind them he was with them, not to make magic happen, but to encourage and them to do as he empowered them. Circumcision, sacrifices, the law and the tabernacle were all reminders.

There is, of course, a balance to all of this. We can overwork. Just as underworking is misbelieving, so is overworking. I, personally, have experienced both.  I have also seen it in various churches, ministries, businesses, professions, education, politics and even in raising children. Underperforming and over-performing are always a temptation. God keeps us in perfect balance when we know how he operates in our lives. Believing God and tuning in to him keeps us in balance. It also requires humility.
3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) Number's 12:3
I love making the bed in the morning. It reminds me that the day needs to be ordered and then at night it is a nice fresh place to remember to rest. I think about God in both actions. You may think that is weird, but it works! The sun rises and sets in a predictable orderly fashion. God designed it that way and he is very loving in creating it that way.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Mission Possible - Should You Accept this Assignment.....

Serious consideration was given to the dividing up of the promised land, it was not haphazard. Lands had to be conquered. Living in the land promised previously to the Hebrews, were people who were ungodly and dangerous. God made it clear that they had to wipe out the enemy before settling there or the infiltration of their amoral and dark culture would seriously affect and harm the people of God.

Three of the tribes of Israel decided they settled on the east side of the Jordan: Reuben, Gad and half of  Manasseh (Numbers 32) because the land was suitable for livestock.  Moses asked them to help the rest of the tribes obtain their land.

Once the land was somewhat conquered, the land on the west side was divided up between the other tribes. It is interesting that they decided the sections by lot along with taking consideration the size and attributes of the land for each specific tribe. Planning, preparation, fairness were the basis for making their decisions. It is interesting going back to Genesis 48 and 49 when Abraham blessed each of his sons before he died, including a private blessing and adoption of Joseph's sons. It is all very purposeful and I'm just beginning to delve into the connections. The Word of God is amazing and intricately detailed. It is breathtaking.

God hasn't changed. Our promised land today is spiritual. God is fair, just, loving, and no respecter of persons. He's the kind of Father that has given you a specific assignment, equipped you for that assignment ( with all the high tech spiritual gadgets), believes that you can do it (should you choose to accept the assignment) and then He has thrown in grace, mercy, and peace on top of all that!

We are each members in particular, called uniquely. Your spiritual territory is between you and God and God's right-hand man, Jesus Christ! No one else has a right to your assignment. It is part of the great idea God had from the beginning of the creation of man that came into manifestation in the New Testament.  The power of God was not meant to be limited to a select few. It was meant for anyone who believes. Don't let anyone talk you out of it!
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation(mission wholeness) with fear and trembling (respect and trust). 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13
In Joshua 9, the Hebrews compromised a tad bit with the Gibeonites, but when they realized it, they had to make an adjustment. Yea grace, mercy and peace! The Gibeonites didn't run them over but were compliant, so it worked.

Life is full of adjustments, and sometimes the path changes but the calling doesn't. The key is in still looking to God and Jesus Christ who is the head of the church. Many people struggle with this asking themselves the age old question "What is my purpose in life?".  Dig into the Word of God and stay devoted to prayer and listen. The answers will start coming. God is very chatty on this subject! You don't have to sit down and try to figure this out all by yourself.




Monday, June 13, 2016

Being Strong - Part II

God told Joshua to be strong through words from Moses (Deuteronomy 31:6,7, 31) just before he died. In Joshua chapter 1,  God himself repeated the same thing 3 times (Joshua 1:6,7,18). God spoke to Joshua and Joshua spoke it to his people (Joshua 10:25).

God speaks directly to us in this day and time with great specificity in Ephesians 6:10-18!:
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Joshua means 'savior'. Joshua helped to physically save his people back in Old Testament times. In the New Testament, Jesus means 'savior' and he is the way spiritually into a relationship with God.  We can be strong spiritually because we have been given the means to see through the smog of this world and move with great power when God energizes us with His own power through the spirit. We have truth, righteousness, peace, believing and salvation as equipment. This equipment is universal for those who believe, not just to certain individuals like Joshua and Moses in the Old Testament.
Hebrews 3:1-14 -Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. 4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. 5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 
6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. 7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

Being Strong - Part I

The Bible is full of questions. According to E W Bullinger, there are 2,274 in the Old Testament and 1,024 at least in the New Testament. In his book, Figures of Speech Used In The Bible, he describes the figure of speech Erotesis as: 
"The Asking of Questions without waiting for the Answer" 
"This figure is used when a speaker or writer asks animated questions, but not to obtain information. Instead of making a plain and direct statement, he suddenly changes his style, and puts what he was about to say or could otherwise have said, into the form of a question, without waiting for an answer. Instead of declaring a conviction, or expressing indignation, or vindicating authority, he puts it in the form of a question without expecting any reply." 
"The questions of the Bible, whether God addresses them to man; or whether man turns to God; or whether he questions himself; contain a mine of truth and teaching; while the heart is awakened, and the attention is aroused to seek out the answer, which is ever fraught with deep and blessed instruction."
In the first chapter of the book of Joshua, God said to Joshua:
 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend and we got to talking about respect and the current culture. He made a statement to me t...