Friday, February 28, 2014

Hurry The Sun's Coming Up!                                 02-28-14

Genesis 32:26 (NASB) 26  Then he said, "Let me go, for the dawn is breaking." But he said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
Let me tell you about a brief footnote in my week that birthed this message. I believe it was this Monday past and I was sitting at the dining room table praying. While praying, I happened to glance at the coffee pot in front of me, noticing that it needed washing out and prepared for tomorrow. After a couple of minutes more, the need to clean the pot got the best of me; I stopped praying to take the pot and used grounds to the sink and cleaned them both. As I was cleaning said pot this passage in Genesis stuck in my head. Then I started thinking that if some important person like the President or even the Mayor...heck it could even have been my boss at work; if they had been at my table talking to me, would I have interrupted the conversation to clean the coffee pot. Yet, here I was in the presence of God Almighty and didn't give it a second thought. The above verse and the word distraction came to mind. I wrote the incident down in a notebook because I didn't want to forget it.

According to Merriam Webster, distract means )1a. to turn aside:divert, b. to draw or direct (as one's attention) to a different object or in a different direction at the same time.

Listen, it doesn't take a rocket man to understand that we live in a world chock full of distractions. Technology attracts and demands our time and attention to the point that some, in the medical community, are saying is at physically unhealthy levels. I don't want to admit to you the time that I spend on the phone, tablet, computer etc., lol (<part of the new language that we have created to communicate on the above mentioned "devices." I still don't know it all) Add to that the everyday responsibilities and you're getting the picture aren't you? WE CAN'T BE STILL! There is always something to do. Or something that just can't wait like cleaning the coffee pot! We have become so adept at juggling the many requirements made on us that they have a name for it. Multitasking. And companies will pay handsomely for folks that excel at it.  

But, there is an old cliche that is blunt and relevant to the message, "If we are too busy for God, then we are too busy!" Now look at that verse in Genesis. You know people down through time have had some unkind things to say about ol' Jacob. But, he got it right this time. Get the picture. Jacob has wrestled all night long and neither had prevailed. Then the angel, or maybe it was God, told Jacob to let him go. Why? Because the dawn was breaking. The sun was coming up. A new day was breaking. New demands, new tasks, new responsibilities. You see it was a test. God wanted to see how serious Jacob was. "Jacob, you've wrestled all night, you're tired, the wife and kids are waking up and they need breakfast. The sheep and goats have to be pastured and watered. You have things that NEED taking care of. Responsibilities that DEMAND your immediate attention Let's call it a day and I'll see you next time."  Was Jacob going to pursue God or was he going to clean the coffee pot?  You gettin' my drift here? The responsibilities were valid. They truly NEEDED to be attended to. But, somehow Jacob was able to lay them aside and resist the distraction to attend to them. Look at his response.
" I will not let you go unless you bless me." Read the whole story. Jacob was in crisis mode. He NEEDED God's blessing. Esau was waiting around the corner and Jacob feared for his life.

Sometimes we have to steel our minds and hearts. In this crazy, mile a minute world we have to carve out some time for God. Sometimes it is a wrestling match and at others it is a bloody street fight. The devil and his world system is devised to keep us from getting a hold on God. That is ALL he does. he wants to destroy your relationship with God, he wants to steal your time with Him, and he wants to kill you in the process. Kill, steal and destroy. That's his m.o. Listen folks, all that you see around you; all the different 'demanders' of your time and energy, EVERYTHING that is in this world and EVERYTHING this world has to offer is going to pass away. In a flash it's all going to be gone. The meetings, the clubs, the jobs, the responsibilities are going POOF. All that will remain is those times that we chose to spend with God. No more coffee pots.

 Matthew 24:35 (NASB) 35  "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

Let's quit allowing the dirty coffee pots in our lives to steal the blessings that God has in store for us.
Amen??Amen!! Spend some time with Him.

Psalm 46:10 (NASB) 10  "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

God Bless

Friday, February 21, 2014

Impact                                                                     02-21-14

Mark 12:41-44 (NASB) 41  And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.
42  A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.
43  Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;
44  for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on."

Greetings from Tennessee the SECOND craziest state for crazy weather! Only our compatriots from down south in Georgia can lay claim to crazier. We had 60-70 mph winds with tornado warnings last night in FEBRUARY! For crying out loud, what is going on here??? Oh well, we made it through none the worse for the wear and now are enjoying a balmy 60 with brilliant sunshine. Go figure. hehe.

Let me ask you something. Has the enemy ever tried to plant seeds of doubt in your mind and spirit? Has he ever told you that your life hasn't amounted to much? You know..that song and dance about your lack of accomplishment and lack of IMPACT when it comes to the things of God? Has he ever reminded you that you really haven't done that much ? HE HAS???!!!WHEW!!Thank the Lord. I thought that I was the only one who hadn't done anything for the Kingdom of God. What a relief to know that there are others out there like me. I capped that word impact because that was the word that the devil threw at me yesterday as I mused about what I would write on. BUT, as I was being bomber about my lack of impact, the Lord God quietly spoke that scripture to my heart. Then He spoke a slightly different perspective to me. The perspective of the poor widow.

Have you ever wondered how that widow felt? Think about it for a moment. Take yourself back and get a mental picture. Here we are in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover and man it is buzzing. People from all over Israel have converged on the city; and, not only that, this man Jesus has arrived to the cries of Hosanna. Many are calling Him the Messiah. At any rate Jesus, while at the temple sits down and observes the folks as they put their money in. The Bible then says "many rich people were putting in large sums." Then here comes this poor widow. Imagine walking down that aisle with all those people around. Rich people at that, all dropping a lot of cash in the plate. But, that's not all. Jesus is sitting there OBSERVING how much is being put in. I can imagine that after a couple of minutes a crowd has gathered and they are OBSERVING along with Jesus. I wonder how that widow felt as she walked down that aisle. Or proceeded to the depository or whatever. I wonder if she was wishing that she had chosen a different time to bring her offering. I wonder if she was tempted to put it off to another time. I can bet that the devil was sitting right on her shoulder mocking her faithfulness and demeaning her meager offering in her mind. I wonder if she was questioning in her mind the IMPACT that her offering would have on the Kingdom.

BUT, then something happened.The Bible says that Jesus did something. He called His disciples over. And here is my point today. The Bible makes no mention of anyone taking notice of this widow. No fuss was made either positive or negative concerning her offering. It made no impact on anyone, EXCEPT JESUS! It certainly impacted Him!! So much so, that He CALLED His disciples over. To add to that,Jesus then said that she had given more than all the other contributors. Hmmm...I wonder how that sat with the money men of the church.? Listen, brothers and sisters and this goes for yours truly also, I'm preaching to myself here.

You may not be on Christian television. You may not have your own private jet taking you all over the world preaching the Gospel. You may not minister to a congregation of thousands every week. Your impact may not be lauded and splashed over the media outlets. BUT, as I was taught many, many years ago, the real heroes of the Kingdom of God are the "poor widows" of this world. It's the folks who give of their time to help troubled youth. It's the people who support the ministries that God has placed them in. No fanfare, just quietly going about their business. It's the people standing in faith through unbelievable adversity that inspire others. These are the REAL heroes of God's Kingdom. These are the IMPACTERS. Keep walking child of God. God has and still is taking notice. The actions and service that have long since become second nature to you, are making a sure impact on those around you. Only in eternity will we know. Keep the faith. He's coming back and His reward is with Him. Remember that widow's mite and her heart to please God so impacted the Lord of Glory that a remembrance was made. Her act was recorded for all time in the Word of God. Pretty heady company huh?

 Psalm 75:2 (NASB) 2  "When I select an appointed time, It is I who judge with equity.

God Bless

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pray For The Peace Of Jerusalem                                       2-14-14

Psalm 122:6 (NASB) 6  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you.

Happy Valentine's Day! Lot's of scripture today. Reading the headlines recently and as always Israel was in the news. This verse floated across my mind today, so I thought I would share some thoughts and scriptures on the subject. We, as readers of God's Word, are instructed to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, with a promise for those who love her,both individually and nationally. It seems that the nation of Israel has been put on the back burner in God's timetable. Paul speaks to this in the book of Romans. In the midst of his treatise on justification by faith, he suddenly stops and devotes three chapters to his brethren Israel.(chap. 9-11) Reading those chapters you will find out that because of Israel's rejection of their Messiah, Jesus, they have been hardened. They as a nation have been blinded to the fact that Jesus is their Messiah. But, they have not been discarded. God throughout history has maintained a believing remnant.

    Isaiah 37:31-32 (NASB) 31  "The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward.
32  "For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."'

God has always provided for Himself a remnant. From the 7000 that did not bow to Baal and throughout history, that remnant has survived. Joshua and Caleb, the various judges and prophets all the way down to the Christian Church (the very first church was Jewish). The Messianic Movement is today, God's believing remnant. Through their darkest hour during WW2, the unbelievable persecution served to bring about the re-establishment of the Nation of Israel. All down through history they have managed to survive and even thrive in the most difficult of environments. Even though they have and still do reject Jesus, God has not forgotten about them and has a definite plan for them.

 Jeremiah 23:6-8 (NASB) 6  "In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, 'The LORD our righteousness.'
7  "Therefore behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "when they will no longer say, 'As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,'
8  but, 'As the LORD lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.' Then they will live on their own soil."

This scripture Jeremiah 16:15 (NASB) 15  but, 'As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.' For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.

These scriptures have been partially fulfilled and are awaiting complete fulfillment in the not too distant future.God is not through with Israel and all the world would do well for themselves to remember that. The Bible minces no words  to those who hate Israel and the Jewish people.

Isaiah 17:13-14 (NASB) 13  The nations rumble on like the rumbling of many waters, But He will rebuke them and they will flee far away, And be chased like chaff in the mountains before the wind, Or like whirling dust before a gale.
14  At evening time, behold, there is terror! Before morning they are no more. Such will be the portion of those who plunder us And the lot of those who pillage us.

Isaiah 8:9-10 (NASB) 9  "Be broken, O peoples, and be shattered; And give ear, all remote places of the earth. Gird yourselves, yet be shattered; Gird yourselves, yet be shattered.
10  "Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted; State a proposal, but it will not stand, For God is with us."

All those who gird themselves against Israel; all those who devise plans to plunder and pillage....Beware! Look at the last words in vs. 10. "....For God is with us." That translates IMMANUEL, one of he names we ascribe to the The Lord Jesus Christ.

So, even though Israel languishes in unbelief today God still providentially protects them and is bringing about a day of total restoration in belief. A couple of verses that we as Christians use all the time are actually promises that God has made to Israel for their future.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NASB) 11  ~'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
12  ~'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13  ~'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
14  ~'I will be found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.'

Jeremiah 31:33 (NASB) 33  "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
You see this New Covenant that we have as Christians is actually meant for Israel in the Kingdom. We as Gentiles and the Church are  partakers only because of the Blood of Jesus the Christ.

Ephesians 2:12-13 (NASB) 12  remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13  But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

I have written all of this to illustrate one very simple idea. Look at the first word in the above scripture
REMEMBER. It will serve the world and this country IN PARTICULAR to remember God's affection for His people Israel and to PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM.Amen. I believe.

Psalm 59:5 (NASB) 5  You, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, Awake to punish all the nations; Do not be gracious to any who are treacherous in iniquity. Selah.

God Bless

Friday, February 7, 2014

Quality Time                                                        2-7-14

Ephesians 5:15-16 (NASB) 15  Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,
16  making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

I have a brother-in-law that is a prophecy hound. I try and keep up with what's going on in the world, but I am mostly a headline reader. But, not Rick. He's a prophecy buff. He keeps up with the detail if you know what I mean. He keeps me abreast of what's going on. At any rate, it was something that he said to me last night that sparked this message. More on that shortly. If you follow the church news at all, then I am sure that you have heard of the book about the Harbingers. To go right along with that there is a book about the coming Blood Moons(this year and next on Passover and the Feast of  Trumpets) No detail here, you can Google and get a wealth of information. It is eye opening to say the least. That being said,Rick has been reading the book on the blood moons; and, he told me last night that there was a section in the back of the book dedicated to asking the reader whether they were ready or not. In a nutshell it simply asked "Are you ready?" That set me to thinking and the above verse came to mind. I could only remember the three words in the KJV. "Redeeming the time," was all that came to mind. I finally ran it down, and the Lord put that word "redeem" on my mind.
The phrase "making the most of your time" is literally "redeeming the time" KJV says it best.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (KJV) 15  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

This verse has two applications The immediate context is speaking to our outward walk with God. You know, how the world sees us. But, the more important context is centered on our inward walk, or better yet, our personal relationship with God. "Redeeming the time." That word redeem has an interesting meaning.

Vine's Expository Dictionary says this.

" a strengthened form of "to buy"" it means to "buy out or buy up the opportunity." It denotes buying all that is available.

We spend time with people and things that are important to us. There are the demands of life that compete for our time. Work, family, inlaws,outlaws...the list is endless. They all demand and compete for our attention. If we aren't very careful, God can be put on the back burner, or worse, left completely out of the mix. That's what the Apostle Paul is warning against here. Look again.

  Ephesians 5:15-16 (KJV) 15  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 

Be careful, don't be foolish. Buy up all the available time and spend it with God.Why? Because the days are evil. I am reminded of the recent snow and ice storms that we here in the "sunny south" experienced recently. I doubt there was a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk to be had anywhere. You know it's true. Just the hint of snow or ice and the grocery stores become war zones.(smile) Why? Because at those times bread and milk become IMPORTANT! Listen, God understands that we have a lot on our plates. But, time spent in His presence is in our best interests. It makes us wise or at the very least wiser. lol How can we expect to "walk outwardly" if we haven't been renewed and strengthened inwardly. Five minutes spent watching and reading about what is going on in our world and we will realize just how important a few minutes with the KING OF KINGS actually is.

 Romans 13:11 (NASB) 11  Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.
We can't afford to let the times catch us unaware. KNOW THE TIME. Let me say something here. This may not be about salvation for you.You may know the Lord Jesus as Savior. But, brothers and sisters with all that is coming upon this earth, we NEED some time with the Lord God Almighty. There are many of you who don't need a harbinger to understand the world in which we live. To make it through the coming evil days, we NEED His presence in our lives. Heck, it's Him and Him alone that holds ANY hope for us. You feelin' me? Jesus is ALL that we have.The world has suggestions six ways from Sunday on how to spend our "quality time." I can promise you this, very few include Jesus on the short list. Amen? Redeem a little time with Him today. Buy it up. Make it important. All He wants to do is love on you a little bit. He will buy some time with you and me, if we will be willing to spend a little time with Him. Amen.

Psalm 107:2 (NASB) 2  Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary

Psalm 119:114 (NASB) 114  You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.

God Bless