Friday, February 20, 2015

Our Refuge!

5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. 7 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. 8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. 9 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity. 10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. 11 God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. 12 Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work. ~ Psalm 62:5-12 (King James Version)
It is so hard to trust anymore. I remember when I was young a man’s word was his bond, if a man said that he would do something he would do it, if a man made a promise he kept it. In today’s society it seems we can trust no one, our elected officials lie to us before we even vote for them, the news media has their own agenda, our friends are unfaithful to us and yes even our families will disappoint us. We have always been able to count on God, if you do not believe me read His Word. Our Father, Creator and God has ALWAYS kept His promises. Starting with Adam and Eve, "do not eat or you will die." Noah, "build the ark, I will protect you and your family." Abraham, "be faithful and I will make a nation from your seed." David, "there will be a savior from your seed." All of mankind, "have faith and your sins will be forgiven and you will have life everlasting with me."
God is indeed our REFUGE! An interesting point the meaning of the word Selah at the end of verse 8 is really unclear however some believe it to be like a liturgico (Spanish for liturgy)-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like stop and listen. I like this idea. Stop Listen – God IS Our REFUGE. Look at what is happening in the world today with all the violence, cheating, lying, stealing, people have lost sight of whom they can trust and where their salvation comes from. “Men of low degree are vanity and men of high degree are a lie.” People of Christ understand the meaning but those who are lost think this foolish. “Trust not in oppression,” do you see oppression in the word? “Become not vain in robbery,” do you see the lying and thievery going on? We must remain on His Word and Power because it belongs to Him who Created! Our only hope is on the mercy of God and the love of Christ, He WILL render to every man according to his work… Amen. <><

Thursday, February 12, 2015

God, My Rock and Redeemer!

1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, 5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. ~ Psalm 19:1-14 (English Standard Version Bible)
The Psalms are so soothing and comforting and Psalm the 19th chapter is no exception. Let’s first take a look at a few key words and define them:
bridegroom: a man that is marrying a woman (v5)
commandment: an important rule given by God that tells people how to behave (v8)
fear: here it means awe, thinking that someone is great (v9)
sweeter: more than sweet (v10)
honey ~ sugar made by bees (v10)
honeycomb: wax cells a honeybee hive that contains young bees and honey (v10)
acceptable: capable or worthy of being accepted (v14)
redeemer ~ another name for God (it means that he made us free) (v14)
Although we are not sure when David wrote this Psalm, we can imagine it was on a morning when he had been out all night with his flock. When he witnessed the sun come up over Moab. This beautiful scene spoke to David about the person of God. David reminiscences of the stars that he saw the previous night and remembers that God made the stars, then that morning he sees the sun rising and thinks, God made the sun. Everything David sees tells him about who God is and how God loves. He did not have to hear any words, no sermon, and no speech; there was no spoken word. David knows that everything he was seeing was telling him about God.
Then David remembers something else; He remembers that He has the word of God, we call this the Bible. This also tells David about God and how He loves. David did not have the same Bible we have today, David only had the beginning 5 books of the Old Testament today we call these 5 books the “Pentateuch” which means “five books.” We also know this as the books of the law because they contain the laws and instructions given to Moses by God for the people of Israel. These books that David had told him about God, and this delighted David. David also thought about himself and ask; "Am I a good or bad man?" He prayed asking God to forgive him. We can image David sitting on the top of a great rock that reminded him about God as well! God was like a great rock to David because God is a solid constant in our lives. This is perhaps why David called God "My Rock". David also called God his Redeemer, someone that pays the price to make a slave free and a sinful one sin free. Amen. <><

The Holy Spirit Reproves and Redeems!

7 However, I am telling you the truth: It's good for you that I'm going away. If I don't go away, the helper won't come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 He will come to convict the world of sin, to show the world what has God's approval, and to convince the world that God judges it. 9 He will convict the world of sin, because people don't believe in me. 10 He will show the world what has God's approval, because I'm going to the Father and you won't see me anymore. 11 He will convince the world that God judges it, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 12 "I have a lot more to tell you, but that would be too much for you now. 13 When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into the full truth. He won't speak on his own. He will speak what he hears and will tell you about things to come. 14 He will give me glory, because he will tell you what I say. 15 Everything the Father says is also what I say. That is why I said, 'He will take what I say and tell it to you.' ~ John 16:7-15 (God’s Word Translation Bible)
Jesus is explaining to His disciples that it is important for Him to leave so they and His future followers will be completely dependent on the Power of His Holy Spirit. The workings of the Holy Spirit are so powerful that the preaching of His Word forces the world to confess its own iniquity and proclaim the righteousness and absolute power of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit has and will continue to reprove the world that those who accept the worlds immoral and unrighteousness will not be able to give any excuse when judgment time comes.
Jesus is referring to a time that followed His ascension when all that opposed Him were decidedly admonished through the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Church (Body of Christ), denouncing those enemies of Christ forcing them to confess that they were mislead and did not believe confessing to Peter:
37 When the people heard this, they were deeply upset. They asked Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" ~ Acts 2:37 (GWT)
Jesus returning to His Father proving to the world that He was not condemned by the Father, showing the world that His Father has truly given the authority and power both in Heaven and in earth. Proving for all time that He the Christ has, without question conquered Satan, not by any means or weapons we as mere mortals understand but with the power and might that can only come from the Trinity: God the Father – God the Son – God the Holy Spirit:
4 The weapons we use in our fight are not made by humans. Rather, they are powerful weapons from God. With them we destroy people's defenses, that is, their arguments 5 and all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God. We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (GWT)
The Holy Spirit must withhold comprehension of new doctrine while teaching what Christ taught until our faith and hearts mature to a point that we are able to grasp its consequences. If we learn too much too fast it may confuse us to the point of paralyzing us to inaction. Through a sensitive course of progressive clarification, the God’s Holy Spirit displays authentic followers of Jesus Christ what we need to know, as we need to know. Those who have just begun their faith walk and those who have not fully committed to Christ do not have the capacity to comprehend like those who have a strengthened faith through a daily walk with Christ.
The Lord gives sagaciousness to those He can trust. It is not prudent to trust a 10-year-old to drive a car. They have not developed physically or emotionally enough to take on the responsibility to operate an automobile. They have not be taught nor trained, they have not had the appropriate time to practice and hone their motor skills to control a 4 thousand pound hunk of steel, fiberglass, and whatever else is in an automobile. You get the point, it would not only be dangerous perhaps fatal for them but for anyone or anything that got in the way.
We must trust that Jesus our Lord and Savior loves us and will give us what we need as we need it in His timing. We have a choice, we can mope about with sullenness and disobedience, or we can minister in anticipation. Likewise we are to be patient leaders and teachers in our relationships, we are not to submerse others with scripture, books, teachings, doctrine; how to live, how not to live, what we must say, how we say it, when we say it, how to stand, how to sing. You get the point, if we give/push to much to fast we can be the reason someone gives up thinking that they are not worthy and can never live according to all the rules. We are to love fist, and then teach as they are able to understand and handle it. We are wise when we wait to share our wisdom until others are ready to receive said wisdom. We can only understand when we choose to remain faithful to Christ learning process.
1 Brothers and sisters, I couldn't talk to you as spiritual people but as people still influenced by your corrupt nature. You were infants in your faith in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink. I didn't give you solid food because you weren't ready for it. Even now you aren't ready for it 3 because you're still influenced by your corrupt nature. When you are jealous and quarrel among yourselves, aren't you influenced by your corrupt nature and living by human standards? ~ 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (GWT)
Just as Apostle Paul knew how much and when people could take on the knowledge and teachings of Christ, so will we if we are first patient in what we are given and second listen to the prompting of God’s Holy Spirit speaking within us. Amen. <><

Friday, February 6, 2015

Who Do You Work For?

2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. 3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. ~ Acts 18:2-3 (King James Version)
I have always taught that when we are looking for a vocation that we should decide what excites, what is it that makes us want to jump out of bed in the morning and get to go do and if you can do that and feed yourself then all the better. I believe that each of us have a ministry that we were created to be a part of, if your blessed and are a part of a ministry that also meets your needs financially then you are blessed twofold. If you do not have a ministry that is also your occupation then your occupation should be such that it supports your ministry. Now mind you that “ministry” encompasses a wide gamut of services, everything from raising a family to running a not-for-profit that serves God’s people and may change from time to time.
Regardless of what we do for our occupation, God calls us to use our business as an excuse to be a heavenly illustration of a faithful apostle of Jesus Christ. Our place of employment is the perfect secular forum where we have to opportunity to serve God’s people and demonstrate veracity in our worldly dealings as well as in a Christian environment. We need to be the example that the divine and earthly are partners in the marketplace, as it were. Our Christian duty is that our actions must speak louder than words; people will hear our actions long before any sermon or lecture. Our work ethics and our performance should always eclipse what the boss or company requires, others will start to question why and will be drawn to you.
17 These things I command you, that ye love one another. 18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. ~ John 15:17-19 (KJV)
Know that there will be those who become jealous of you because of your work ethic, your honesty and your desire to be better. There will be those try to turn others against you, this is the way of Christ.
When a business claims Christ as the head, it has positioned itself to be in God’s grace. Do the values of our company imitate that of Christ? Does your company value integrity, humility, and good work ethics as the character they value in their employees? Do the other employees look for opportunities to jump in and help others and look for better ways to perform their duties, as the positive with fellow workers and supervisors always ready to offer a kind work or friendly reinforcement?
If our work ethics imitate the person of Christ people will be attracted to us and as a group, we will attract others that have to same values and work ethic, setting our business up for success and in this process we will be setting into place an environment that not only grows the business but grows His Kingdom. Regardless to what society and business experts say, good successful people are motivated by a good outlined and defined mission much more than by money.
7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. 8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right. 9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. ~ Proverbs 16:7-9 (KJV).
When I served in the military I was blessed to have many wise leaders but one wise and kind Sergeant Major once told me, “plan your life but do not plan the outcome.” We may think we are in control and plan, plan, plan but when we plan the outcome we are either surprised or disappointed every time. When you along your thoughts and actions with that of El Shaddai, God Almighty, He will direct our steps, bless us and make us prosper! Amen. <><

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Do We Think To Highly of Ourselves?

1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me." 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. ~ Romans 15:1-7 (English Standard Version)
We who are strong is saying that those who have realized an awareness and understanding of their Christian faith. We know this awareness and understanding only comes from the Holy Spirit and is not from just studying however if we do not read and study God’s Word then the Holy Spirit has nothing to work with. By saying we Paul included himself in this statement setting himself as an example of the duty or “obligation” and bound by God’s law to “bear with the failings of the weak,” those who are “weak” in faith and knowledge, not only those who are new to the faith but also those who are going through trials and temptations.
This is not a license to join in on others misconceptions, depravedness, lies and false teachings. Paul’s statement about bearing with there failings, he is saying that we are to bear with them as we do when our children or a when loved one is sick. We are to hold their hand and walk with them in the way they are defiant and rebellious. We may feel this as an unbearable weight but it is our obligation to stand under this weight with them, we should not be unforgiving or grumbling, we are not to negatively challenge or contradict them but be discerning in the way instruct and lead them by our words and actions.
We are not to please ourselves in the things that are of no consequence without any consideration to what others may think or say. We should not be egotistical while reflecting upon our own consciousness and in contempt of others because of their naïveté, we should not live by the entitlement of our freedom and contentedness but for the good of others, we should humbly retreat from our own deservedness and allow others to come along at their own pace.
It was Jesus Christ who bore all our guilt and sin, it was He that withstood the curse for all our mistakes, we are just called to carry a small “burden” for our fellow brother and sister, to bear a small portion of the shortcomings of those who are weak around us. God’s Word is here for our use and advantage just as much as it was for those who read it the first time. God’s Holy Spirit is our Comforter and the distinguished of our inheritance.
Like-mindedness must be in accord to the basic truth of Jesus Christ according to His motive and example. We must earnestly seek this priceless gift from God, Adonai, our Creator and Master invites us and fortifies us by showing Himself as a unassuming and humble Spirit. This is an example we as His servants should seek to mimic especially of those who are strong in faith to the weak in spirit. Our goal must be that God be glorified in all our actions; nothing better validates this than the collaborative love and kindness of those who declare to be followers of Jesus Christ the Messiah!
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. ~ Isaiah 53:6-7 (ESV)
Father please give us the wisdom to be an example to our brothers and sisters as Jesus is an example to us. Help us to know when to speak and when to keep our mouths closed and our opinions to ourselves. Make all our action and the few words we do speak be a lamp post that brings glory and honor to You and Your Name! Amen. <><