Lying, to yourself?

Have you ever told a little white lie? There may have been a situation where you thought that it was the only solution. You may have said to yourself, Its no big deal. It cant harm anyone. You may have stretched the truth, left part of it out, or simply told a blatant lie. Your lie may have gone unnoticed by man, but it did not go unnoticed by God. Whatever your noble or ignoble reason for the lie, it was sin, and sin always has its consequences.

In 1 Samuel 21, David told a lie. He told a Ahimelech, a priest, that He had been sent on urgent business by the king. We see the consequences of Davids sin,later, in 1 Samuel 22. Saul comes and demands the priest to tell him what happened. As a direct or indirect result of Davids lie, 85 priests were murdered, as well as countless others. Davids sin did have consequences.

Our sin also has consequences. Galatians 6:7 reads, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Whatever sin we participate in, we have open the door to other sin. If we think that we can tell a small lie and not reap the consequences, we are lying to ourselves. We will reap consequences, and as with David, others may also.

Galatians continues in verse 8 with these words, For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. If we choose to sin, no matter how small we think the sin is, we will reap the consequences. However, if we choose to resist the flesh and follow after righteousness, we will reap the abundant life Christ has for us.

I would like to challenge you, sow to the Spirit. If you have a sin that you regard as small, dont allow it to remain in your life. It will bring consequences that are far out of your control. As a wise man once said, You can choose your sin, but it is not often that you can choose the consequences of it.

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. -James 1:15

Do you take breaks? Jesus did.

Ever feel like you can’t take a break. Your mind is full, and you are pressured. You feel this enormous responsibility pressing on you and it seems as if the whole world is depending on you. The projects, tasks, responsibilities are piling up, and you can’t take a break, because if you do, things couldn’t possibly go on. But the truth is, they could.

When we find ourselves stressed and worn out from doing God’s work, we need to relax, take a break, and go to Him. I would like to share a quick example of a time when the disciples needed a break. In Mark 6:7 Jesus had sent the disciples out to preach repentance. When they came back to Jesus, they found themselves very busy. Jesus says in verse 30, "Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while." Why, the verse continues and tells us, "for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat."

These disciples had worked hard. They were giving of themselves. But they had gotten so busy, they needed some time alone with Christ. There were so many people they didn’t have time to eat. When Jesus and his disciples left, they left by ship. By the time they got to the end of their journey, the people had outrun them to the place, and it was time to minister. Even though the disciples took a break, the ministry still succeeded.

I would like to challenge you, be prepared to take a break. If you are serving and helping, and you find yourself with no time, Jesus may call you to come apart and rest awhile. If He does, obey Him. Don’t pride fully think that your ministry can’t go on without you. Christ can take care of the ministry, it’s His ministry after all! I’m not saying you should be lazy and take breaks all the time, but that you should realize that there are times when God wants us to come apart to Him and rest. If He asked you, would you have the faith to come apart and rest awhile?

Jesus did.

"And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone." – Matthew 14:23

Do you cast aside your garment?

Have you ever been in that place of desperation where you needed something, and you needed it badly? When you are in that situation, who do you cry out to? When you need help, who do you go to? Do you go to your family, your friends, your pastor, psychologist, etc.? When we have a need met or an obstacle removed from our life, we can find comfort and solace in others. But we can find a solution to our situation only in one person. And that person is Christ.

In Mark 10 we find the story of a blind man called Bartimaeus. He wanted to have his sight. When he found out that Jesus was coming, he began to cry out. His earnest cry was heard by others, and they told him to be quiet. When they did, the Bible says he, "cried the more a great deal." He cried out to God for mercy. He kept calling, and calling. When Jesus heard him, he commanded that Bartimaeus be called.

When Jesus asked for him to be called, the blind man responded in an unusual way. Verse 50 reads, "And he casting away his garment rose, and came to Jesus." Think about that, how easily could a blind man find his coat? If it was beyond reach, it most likely was going to be almost impossible to find, especially in the street. This man not only cried out and went to Jesus, but he did so in faith. What a testimony!

When we need something, do we go to Christ alone? Do we cry out to Him, over and over again. Do we cry out in desperation and with no reserves?

I would like to challenge you. Whatever you need in your life, go to Christ. Cry out to Him. Go to Him. But more than all this, go to Him in faith. It is our faith that will enable us to receive the mercy from our Lord. If we go to Christ in faith for something we need to accomplish His will, he will say to us, like He said to Bartimaeus:

"Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole." – Mark 10:52

Are you loving yourself?

In 2 Timothy 3:2 we find a passage that talks about evil men in the end times. It says, "For men shall be lovers of their own selves . . ." Think about the idea of these people loving themselves. They don’t care about others, about God, about anything other than what pleases them. Is this love?

If we read the book of Ecclesiastes, we will find a common theme: "All is vanity." Solomon loved God for a while, but later in life he sought pleasure other things. In the end, he found pleasure in nothing. I think he sums it up best when he says in Ecclesiastes 2:17, "I hated life."

Clearly, it is not in a person’s best interest to try to please himself with the things of the world. So those men in 2 Timothy don’t really know what love is. The word for ‘love’ used in 2 Timothy is the word that means ‘feeling.’ They like to make themselves feel good. Making oneself feel good temporarily, does not work in someone’s best interest and is not love.

Let me give you an illustration of true love for oneself. In Ephesians 5, Paul is encouraging husbands to love their wives properly. He says in verse 28, "He that loveth his wife loveth himself." The word for love here, means a love that is real. A love that motivates someone to action. Think about the idea presented in the verse: the man who loves his wife, is really loving himself. Why would that be? I would submit to you that it is in the man’s best interest to act out of love for his wife. So when he treats her right, he is doing himself a favor.

Let’s take that principle and apply it to the 2 Timothy verse. These men love themselves, with a feeling kind of love. If you look in the Bible, you will not find someone who lived a life for earthly pleasure, and enjoyed long-lasting benefits. It just doesn’t happen. What we do find, is that when a person submits to God and serves Him, they are blessed. They achieve true joy. True peace. And true benefits.

I would like to share with you. You are only truly loving yourself when you are completely surrendered to God. When you give up all your worldly pleasures and seek God alone. We will find true joy and satisfaction in our Creator. So let us serve Him. Not because we will truly love ourselves, but because He is worthy. Because He is our Creator. We were created to fulfill our purpose of pleasing Him. So let us please Him. In doing so, we are acting in our best interest, and truly loving ourselves.

"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." – Revelation 4:11

Are you truly loving yourself?

So it was a very great trembling

Do you ever fall short of complete victory in your life? It would seem that no matter how hard you fight, you keep loosing your battle. God wants us to live a victorious life. He wants us to succeed. In order for us to win our battles, we must step out in faith that He is willing to work the victory through us.

In 1 Samuel chapter 16 we find an account of a a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines. 1 Samuel 14:6 tells us how it began, “And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for

there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.” Jonathan had faith that God could work the victory through them. Jonathan knew that God had the power to give victory. With that faith, Jonathan and one other guy took on an entire garrison.

In a later verse we find that Jonathan and his armorbearor killed about 20 men, I’m sure they could have easily kept going, but the circumstances change. In verse 15 we find, “There was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling.” Did you catch that? The Philisines were so scared that they were shaking. And they were shaking so much that the earth began to shake!

In verse 16 we find that the Philistines were fleeing the battle and killing each other! King Saul learns of this and then he joins in fighting the Philistines. Other Israelites who had been cowering in fear joined in! And verse 23 says, “So the LORD saved Israel that day.”

I would like to challenge you, step out in faith in your spiritual battles. I don’t know what sin or shortcoming you need deliverance from, but whatever it is, trust God that He can give you the victory. Believe what He says. Just like Jonathan and his armorbearor stepped out in faith, you can step out in faith. You can gain victory over any sin or downfall in your life. Just like Jonathan’s victory encouraged others, your victory may too. As other’s see how God has used you, their faith will increase. Will you step out in faith? If you do, God can use your actions to encourage others, and work a great victory. Will you believe in God’s ability to give you the victory today?

“And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” – Leviticus 6:8

“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7

The things of God

Remember being a little kid and wanting to understand something that your parents or another adult was doing? You may have tried to figure out what to do, but epically failed. You had seen them do it before, and you understood a little, but not much at all. In order for you to understand adult things, as a little kid, you needed an adult to explain things to you. Our relationship with God is just like that. If we want to understand the things of God, we must receive and operate in the Holy Spirit that God has provided for us.

1 Corinthians 2:11 says, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." In short this verse is saying, just like only humans understand human things, only God understands His things. It says in order for us to understand the things of God, we must be using the Spirit of God. If Paul ended with that, we would have no hope, but he continues.

In the next verse he says, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God." He says we have received this spirit so we could know what God has given us. You see, we can’t understand any thing that pertains to God unless we are using the Spirit which He has provided. So knowing that, we cannot use our natural human spirit (understanding) to understand and explain and learn from the Bible. We must ask God to give us the Spirit He has provided so we can understand.

Think about when you became saved. You probably were not studying the Bible like a textbook. Or maybe you were. But at some moment you began to realize that the Holy Spirit was working on your heart. You could have rejected His leading, and tried to think up how you could be saved through logic, but you didn’t, you allowed Him to convict you, (he used emotions) and you allowed him to explain to you, (logically, through a person or a Bible or both) and you responded. You see, God uses logic and emotions, but they must be in their proper place. If we try to put them above the understanding that comes from the Holy Spirit, they are not in the right place, and we will not be able to understand the things of God.

I would like to challenge you. Next time you read your Bible, ask God to help you understand it. Don’t try to figure out the Bible in your own head. You can’t. You can’t know God stuff without God explaining it to you. God wants to explain His blessings to you through His Holy Spirit. He says that he has offered His spirit to us. Why? So, "we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. " Do you want to understand everything God has given you? Ask God to start explaining!

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. " – 1 Corinthians 2:10

Among whom ye shine as lights

Do you find yourself fighting with people? I don’t mean like duking it out, but arguing and bickering. I don’t know, maybe you do literally get in fights and have black eyes all the time. However the contention may be, God does not want contention in your life. He wants you to be at peace.

Philippians 2:15 says, "Do all things without murmurings and disputings." God wants us to be at peace with our neighbors. He want us to have contentment in our relationships and in our actions. Why? He tells us in the next verse.

The next verse gives the reason as, "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;" He wants us to be blameless. Having a good reputation. He want us to be harmless. Not bringing detriment to each other. He wants us to act like His children. In acting like His children, we will not be not need to be rebuked. He wants us to act like His children not only because we are His children, but because when we do, we spread His light into the world.

So I would like to challenge you, do everything without contention and strife. God doesn’t want His children fighting one another. He wants us to above reproach. Let us ask God to help us live in maturity, so He can glorify Himself through us, His children. Let us pray that He will work in us to teach us to act without contention, so we can shine as lights even more in this crooked and perverse nation. Let us act like the Father whose children we are!

"Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." – Matthew 5:15

Is God your safe-house?

Do you ever find it hard connecting with people? Do you feel like you have to erect walls and put on masks of professionalism in order to operate in fellowship with people? Do you feel like you can’t be yourself? Many times we need to be professional in certain relationships. It isn’t always a bad thing, but it can be exhausting. Isn’t it always nice to kick off your shoes and flop down on your couch and relax. You’re in your place. You don’t have to be anyone else but yourself. That feeling of this is my home should be how we approach Gods presence.

Psalm 91:9 says, Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation. The word refuge means a place where you run for safety. God is truly a place where we can run to safety. But that is not our focus today. Think about that word habitation. It has the idea of habitat. The place where you live. The place where, may I say it, you are comfortable. God wants us to live, in His presence.

Oftentimes we think that we have to put up a front with God. Like we have to be professional because we are coming before God. This isnt true at all. Yes, we must be reverent, but God knows who we are. He loves us anyway. If there is anyone we can be comfortable around, it is God. If there is anyone we can be ourselves around, it is Him. When we come before Him in prayer, we should be respectful, but we can unload. You can, cast your burden upon the Lord. We can tell God all of our problems to God. He wants us to.

I would like to challenge you, make God your habitation. Spend time with God and realize who He is. He knows everything about you. He knows all your flaws and faults, yet He loves you anyway. Come before Him and rest in His presence. Make Him your habitation, your dwelling place, the place you go when you need to relax. The place you never want to leave. God wants you to spend time with Him. He wants to be your refuge: your home base, your fortress, your (in modern terms) safe-house. You can unload your problems on God. You can tell Him about everything that is going on. He will heal you and patch you up so you can go out and be a witness for others and fight the good fight of faith. He wants you to live in His presence. Wont you?

Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Psalm 90:1

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22

Urgent or Important?

"There is a difference between the urgent and the important, the important is rarely important, and the important is rarely urgent." This is a paraphrase of a quote I have heard. The idea here is very true. I was contemplating this truth when I tried to think of a Biblical example.

In Mark 5:22-23, we find Jesus being approached by a man whose daughter was sick. The man asked Jesus to come and heal her because she was dying. Jesus immediately started on his way, but he was interrupted. In verses 25-34, we find him interrupted by a woman who had an issue of blood. She reached out to Jesus because she wanted to be healed. Christ stopped and gave her words of comfort. He knew that His time with her, was important. As he was speaking to her though, the man’s daughter had died.

We could read this passage and think that Jesus got distracted from His purpose and His distraction caused Him to fail to heal the man’s daughter. But that is not at all what happened here. In this passage we can see God’s miraculous timing. You see, we may not always see why and how our lives become interrupted, but many times the "interruptions" in life are simply God’s direction in disguise.

When Jesus came to the house, he was able to bring the young girl back to life. God’s power was demonstrated even more because of the supposed detour. If Jesus had stuck to His "schedule" He would have missed out on helping that woman and later, God could not have shown His power in the tremendous way that He did.

So what can we learn from this? We can learn that God’s will does not always mean sticking to a rigid schedule. It doesn’t always mean running after the most urgent thing, but realizing what in life is truly important. Our focus should not be how we have planned everything, but how God will direct us in every situation that comes our way.

I would like to challenge you, relax. Don’t be religious about sticking to a schedule. Allow for the Holy Spirit to direct where and how you minister to others. Sometimes things must be put off because God’s work is more important. When that happens, you will find that God has more than enough power to make sure everything works out right. Remember Lazarus?

"Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died . . . Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again." – John 11:21,23

Like sinking into a cushy chair, but better

Have you ever been anxious about something? Many things in life can make us worrisome. We can find anxiety in the political situations of the day, or our family’s health, or the uncertainty of jobs being available. As Christians, we can rest in God. We can know that He will take care of everything.

Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God." This command is simple and yet profound. How often do we find ourselves rushing about trying to control things we really have no control over? God says be still.

The word ‘still’ carries the idea of sinking into something. When I was little, I would go to my great-grandfather’s house and sit in his armchair. That thing was so cushy, when I sat in it I felt totally surrounded and comforted. Just like that, God wants us to surround us with Him. Let me explain, God is with us all the time, but He wants us to immerse ourselves in the realization of His presence. He wants us to keep in our minds that He is God. He is everywhere, and has control over all. Relaxing because a good chair is one thing, but true relaxation comes from remembering who our God is.

I would like to challenge you, rest in God. God is in all, and over all. He has power to control the forces of evil, and to protect you from harm. When God allows trouble to come into our lives, He allows it for a reason. God, who is in control of all, is looking out for your best interest. Won’t you be still and remember your God, today?

"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." – Psalm 55:22