Monthly Archives: January 2017

Sticks and Stones, and Words Can Certainly Harm You

Nearing the end of the wandering in the desert Moses was inbetween another rock and a hard place, literally. The first incidence Moses was told to strike the rock once at the beginning of the years out in the desert yet this time the Lord's instructions were different,

(Numbers 20:8-13) “Take the staff and assemble the community. You and your brother Aaron are to speak to the rock while they watch, and it will yield its water. You will bring out water for them from the rock and provide drink for the community and their livestock.” So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence just as He had commanded him. Moses and Aaron summoned the assembly in front of the rock, and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels! Must we bring water out of this rock for you?” Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff, so that a great amount of water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust Me to show My holiness in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land I have given them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord, and He showed His holiness to them.

It is assumable that Moses got angry and in a moment of distrust and failure to represent God to the people well he blew it badly. As a result the consequences were irreversable. The Israelites did the same early on by refusing to do as God commanded and take out the giants in Caanen, they distrusted God would give them victory and focused more on the size of their giagantic problems then the power of God, and here Moses lapses and distrusts God by what appears to be flat out disobedience as well as a possible outburst of anger.

There is another story like this in the Storytellers divine play, he scripts another scene with His own Son out in the desert/wilderness where the devil tempts him to use his power as the Son of God to step out of God's will to do what he wanted, namely "turn these stones into bread"

(Matthew 4:1-4) Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Do to the way scripture gives an account of this, we can assume this temptation took place toward the end of the fast, and Jesus had the power yet refused to use it in a way to dishonor the Father, by eating on his fast. Satan seems to come to tempt Christ nearing the end of the fast so Jesus would be weak and hungry. The devil is opportunistic and will often wait till there is a worn down person of faith trying to finish the last leg of a season of testing and from my experience in my own trials, they get especially hard near the very end.

Like Moses, he was tired and had been in the wilderness a long while and unlike Moses, Christ got straight A's all the way.
What can we learn here?

1.) Jesus did not buy into the temptation, Satan tried to remind Jesus he had the power to make it happen and Jesus quoted back by "it is written"

A.) In the other temptations Satan does use scripture itself as a weapon against Jesus yet Jesus swings back with "The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God"

So the devil knew scripture but used it wrongly, Jesus requoted truth of God's Word in right context and interpretation.

2.) Sometimes the toughest part of a trial and test is at the end of the class of a season of suffering, and there may be a final. Jesus passes all three tests in the wilderness and did not fail like Moses did unfortunately. See how the Lord said to Moses, "You will not lead these people into the land I swore to give them" yet since Christ passed the temptation he has become qualified to lead us into eternal life!

(Hebrews 4:14-16) Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.

In order for Jesus to be pur sin offering he could not have ever sinned once, and he did not.

The Lord's final test was on the cross and that is where he makes victory over our tests possible!

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Is There Ever A Time Christ Forbids Us To Preach His Gospel?

Yes and no, as we see here in the story of The Apostle Paul, God closed the door for a temporary season on one place he wanted to enter.

Acts 16:6-10 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

The truth be told, God always loves it when His people are eager to share the Goodnews of Jesus Christ. Yet have you ever come across someone or some group of people who you have tried and kept trying and the door seems shut? Well the good news is God has a plan and in those moments we can either get discouraged or listen closely to the guidance of the Spirit of Christ, he may want us to try to “throw our nets on the other side” as he told Peter when him and his fishing companions had fished all night and caught nothing.

God may be refirecting us when this happens not because the people you love and shared with wont get saved but rather God may indeed be working in their hearts to prepare them to be ready to receive the good news, yet pressuring these people will not help the process, infact as we all have been guilty of as passionate as we are, we can be guilty of unintentionally making people feel pressured.

We must remember a few things, it is God who draws people and we are just the mesengers.

(John 6:65) He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father.”

And how does God do this? By His Spirit, and the prayers of His people. God I am convinced is moved by the prayers of his people for those who do not yet know Him.

Look no further then Psalm 106:30-31, (A man named Phinehas intercedes for the Israelites in the time of Moses) Matthew 5:44, (Jesus taught us to pray for those who persecute us) Genesis 18:30-32 (Abraham interceding for Sodom)

God sometimes in my knowlege of the word does not always allow us to see the results of our longings right away because frankly I think he wants to develop a life of dependence on Him through prayer. So turn your longings to see your loved ones come to know Christ into prayer closets and go faithfully share the word in the meantime with those who are open to hearing the Message! Paul obeyed Christ and several people came to know Christ in Macedonia!

In Acts 16:11-34 following not only does a woman named Lydia come to know Christ but the jailor who guards them after some trouble makers stirred up problems that landed them in a prison. Paul and Silas end up in a dungeon yet through their deciding to praise God instead of complain in there, they leave such an inpression on the jailor he and his household believe in faith! God made many cups of lemonade here out of a sour lemon of a situation!

   

Dog-ma

What makes a dog a dog? Was it by the fact that its genetic DNA made it a dog, or was it like a man, who tried hard to enter doghood and emulated all the mannerisms of man’s best friend, barking, walking on all fours and eating dog food from the dog dish? We cannot be silly and assume such a man becomes a dog by trying so doggon hard that he just transitions into a state of becoming canine! This is plain, yet many well intentioned religious people try harder to become a Christian by doing Christian things, giving, abstaining from what they know is sin and immoral, they try harder to be better but until they surrender and let God through Faith in Christ change their DNA from external religiousity to inward loyalty and a new heart they can try all they want but should just rather beg God to transform them by His power not their mere effort.

Surrender is yes active in the sense we do in a way do somwthing, we surrender and give up and acknowlege our sins we have stacked against us before God. Yet it is non active in the sense you must perform a good work to gain God’s attention to save your soul and bring about rebirth. What it says is “For all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved”

Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Even if one is mute God hears the inward cries of a person’s heart and when we see our need for saving from the mess we all are apart from Christ, after all “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith and not of yourselves but a gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8)

This is God’s ordained method to transform the old man into a new one, the sinner into the “not guilty” and then he deposits the righteous laws of God in our hearts at that moment and we become “New Creations”

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

When People Create Problems, God Is Bigger Then Your Problem People.

(Genesis 26:15-25) So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth. Then Abimelek said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.” So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them. Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.” From there he went up to Beersheba. That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.” Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.

These onry Philistines were not happy about Isaac, they most likely both feared and envied him so they tried to ruin his efforts to just succeed even though he was not the one starting quarels with them. As the quote goes, "Bloom where your planted" that is unless the Lord in His sovereingnty uses even difficult people to redirect us to better soils. For me in my life this is a challenge because it feels that there are people who to would not want me to enjoy the things or blessings I have so from a personal standpoint this passage resignated with me when I read it. It was encouraging because of the conclusion where finally Isaac found the place "Rehoboth" and he named it that and said, "Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”

See "The Lord has given" and he did not say "The people stopped harrasing my efforts" but he said "Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land"

God was credited for the peace and safety he now enjoyed and he did not have to fight these folks for it, he saw even their annoying interference as a way God's divine hand led him. God cannot be blamed for people's sin as James 1 tells us, yet he can use even the negative choices of ungodly people and even fellow believers who fall to sovereingnly "Work all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28)

Then the verse after this is, "For those he foreknew, he predestined to be conformed into the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29)

God will use many shaping tools, from trying circumstances to difficult people, and he is not caught of guard by schemes of people who are trying to throw a wrench in our lives whether they do so intentionally or inadvertently, God still can bless us and use these things to perfect us and mold us and later on bless us more then we thought possible when we trust him enough not to lose our bearings over these setbacks, roadblocks or people he may indeed use without their knowlege even as sanders and chisels.

The Law of Reciprication.

Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

We will often receive back exactly what we project out to others. If we think the people around us are discriminating against us and we project that kind of mentality out toward them, they probably will not like us very well- not for the reason we thought they didn't originally but because of our negative attitude toward them. Sometimes people don't reject you for the first reason you may think of, but it is because of you thinking this, it will result in your hostility toward them and they reject you on this basis as of opposed to your original assumption. It's a vicious cycle really. Person A thinks: theses people hate me for XYZ and the people on the receiving end may think to themselves: person A is not very friendly, always thinks we are out to get them. So people detach from person A and person A concludes: "There it goes again, Im being discriminating because ABCD. "

When in reality person A has not considered it might be EFG.

We must be careful not to just assume things about people without concrete proof. If a person is friendly, often times they make more friends then the grump does. As the old quote says, "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

“At That Time There Were Caanenites There”

Let’s take a look at the life of Abraham, how did he respond to following God when things looked opposite of what God had promised? Does your life seem overwhelming or as though what you see seems opposite of what you feel like God has spoken to your heart? Tonight I was reading in Genesis 12 myself and feeling similar.

(Genesis 12:1-7) The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 

Abraham was throughout New Testament scripture hailed as a great man of faith, and is no wonder why because he left all he knew behind, and followed God into a land unknown because he “Believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness” the scriptures say. Look at what occurs though. He was told by God that he would be made into a “great nation” even though the circumstances of the present screamed otherwise, also he moved into the land he was called to possess but “At that time, there were Caanenites in the land”

The problems we face as Christians, and in general all have problems, but these problems are often what we allow to speak louder then God’s voice. We see “the Canaanites” that are still in the “land”

Now this land, later to be the Promised Land was still inhabited by enemies and I suppose you could say every Christian has a “Promise Land” – (All God would love to do in their lives, with their lives, as well as all the good things as scripture says “Stored up for those who fear him”

Yet we must be like Abraham willing to step out by faith and tread the unknown expanses and not give way to unbelief because we see the Caanenites of today- because these problems of today with God can be easily removed whenever God speaks a word and opens the path for us to walk through.

Life will always have some Caanenites, but life can be a wonderful blessing and full of great things God truly longs to give His people and those who also leave the old lands of their pasts, in sin, in the old ways of thinking and doing things, the old things we believe and ways of living and opperating that so many fear letting go because to them what they know, even if it is miserable and disatisfying does in a sense offer comfort because we as human beings fear changes. God understood how hard it was I am sure for Abraham to leave all that behind so he encouraged him many times along the way.

Eventually, Abraham was blessed for it with Isaac and not only so, His name is etched in scripture’s Hall of faith and even people outside of Juadasim and

Christianity know that name. God not only fulfilled his and Sarah’s longing for a child but gave them so much more then they ever dreamed possible because he had faith not to quit on God but held fast to the end.

Monsters in Your Closet?

Mosters, vampires and creatures of folklore are often depicted as things that occupy the night and live in the shadows and avoid light at all costs. Like Dracula, he has few weaknesses, do to being immortal, yet light makes him vulnerable, weak and causes his imortality to vanish and he writhes and dies when exposed to the light of the sun.

Dracula does not fear the sword, or spear, or gun and bullets- and likewise spiritual foes find human solutions no threat but only amusing. You cannot destroy such enemies by human means or human weapons! And you cannot stand against the spiritual forces of darkness without the light and truth of Christ. For what creatures are terrifying in the dark and rule in the shadows will be terrified of the day and be cower in the glorious light of His Presence. Yet if we fight in the dark with our swords and weapons we will lose. 
 

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:11-12)

Can we not say this about our fears and secret sins? Can we not say these things hide in dark closets in our lives where no one can see them, and they taunt us in our nightmares like a Boogeyman would taunt a child throw his bad dreams to prolong his dread and terror.

We throw the blankets of many different things over our faces to hide from our fears, our shame, our sins and insecurities. Like a child under the blanket who thinks “If I can’t see you, you can’t see me” however, such monsters only play that game in sick amusement, just to see the horror on the face of the child once he takes off the blankets to only see the sick grin on the hideous face of the creature still standing by the foot of his bed.

We cannot avoid these things that try to pound against the closet doors in our lives as if they will never eventually come out and ruin us and destroy us. We must deal with them, not alone though. No kid can deal with a monster in his closet unless he has his father there as well. And with our pasts, our fears and failings, as well as secret sins we need the Father’s light to drive out the darkness in these places we are afraid to go. Some places we fear to deal with and we cannot by ourselves, but when we give Christ full access to all we fear and turn over to Him our shame that tries to pull us into a closet of isolation, He is not afraid of your monsters. 


As a kid myself I saw one movie where a young man got lost out in the woods and a big grizzly bear took a special interest in him so as long as he kept close to mamma bear, he was safe, even though he heard the noises of savage wolves in the not far off distance. Even a pack of savage wolves are smart enough to know not to pick a fight with a mother grizzly protecting her young. So when we are afraid and dealing with things that intimidate a make us afraid, if we come under the Lord’s protection and stay close to Him, he will be more then enough to deal with what your most afraid of.