Archive for August, 2010

Make peace with God before it is too late


            Then he also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is.  And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is.  Hypocrites!  You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time.  Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right?  When you go with your adversary to the magistrate, make every effort along the way to settle with him, lest he drag you to the judge, the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.  I tell you, you shall not depart from there till you have paid the very last mite” (Luke 12: 54-59.)  


             The men and women from this time did not have the weather channel; instead, they had become instinctively capable of predicting the weather by observing very obvious signs.  A Cloudy sky meant rain, and a person would find shelter.  A hot wind from the south would forecast strong heat; any person working outside, or traveling would bring extra water, perhaps change clothes, or schedule a strenuous task for another day.  Jesus reminded the crowds that his arrival as the messiah was a sign to them of impending eternal judgment.  Knowing this future, there was an inward change that needed to be made.  Those stuck in sin were to admit their sin, repent and give their hearts back to God.  Forgiveness in this parable was subject to time restrictions.  After a certain time had passed, there would no longer be any deals made, forgiveness bestowed, or any debts removed.  Jesus says, make peace ‘along the way’ to the magistrate; this ‘way’ represents the life of every human being, and the magistrate is a symbol of bodily death.  From birth to death, every human being has the opportunity to be reconciled with God through his Son Jesus Christ.  The money owed represents sin that needs to be forgiven.  The judge represents God; and the prison represents hell.  As long as a person is still living, they can repent, be forgiven, and no longer be God’s adversary (A person can make peace with God and live eternally.)  Those who fight God, who oppose him, who choose to deny him will eventually die, and when that happens, hell awaits.  This scripture is a warning, to everyone, to be reconciled and delivered from hell in this life, before the time for forgiveness has passed.

             When I was a salesman, one of my clients picked up material without actually paying for it.  They claimed that one of their truck drivers had picked up the material and never delivered it to them.  According to them, the truck driver then left the state and could not be contacted.  The customer, like most people in California at that time, were struggling financially.  I went to the courthouse to testify against them in small claims court.  The courtroom was full of people awaiting their turn to present their case.  After a few initial cases were decided (in which the judge made some rather harsh rulings) the court took a mandatory recess.  All opposing parties were ordered to go out in to the hallway and told to open up dialogue with one another, and if possible, to settle the matter themselves.  Interestingly, a large number of the people settled their’ disputes in the hallway.  After seeing a few court decisions, the fear of impending judgment fostered a change of attitude.  Those immovably opposed had become willing to make peace.  [Side Note:  In the hallway, my client offered to settle with our company for less than the total value of the material’s they had taken.  My ‘accounts-receivable’ woman refused, and we headed back in to the courtroom.  As we stood before the judge, it became known that the woman was lying; the judge however, demanded more proof than what we brought forward.  I told him that they had admitted to not being able to pay the bill, and that out in the hallway they admitted it again and attempted to settle the dispute.  “The judge promptly replied, “You can’t mention that in here.”  I was dumfounded, and we lost the case for lack of evidence.]

             There are many reasons for living in rebellion toward God.  One of the most common is lack of faith in what God has said is coming (both heaven, and hell.)  Many people don’t truly believe that when they die they will go before God to give an account of all of their sins.  They don’t believe in life after death, or they aren’t quite sure; many even attend church, or profess a faith in God, but their lives are filled with all kinds of evil that indicate they have seen the clouds but don’t believe rain is coming.  They have heard Jesus, and what he has said, but their unchanged lives reveal their true beliefs or disbeliefs rather.  Jesus Christ did not signal just a future judgment, but a way to avoid that judgment; there is a paradise, and the way to it is through the Son of God.  God sent a messenger; he extended his hand in an attempt to make peace with those who were, and are opposed to Him.  Have you accepted his offer?  Have you made peace with God through His Son?  Have you chosen a new life; a life filled with a heart of love, and a Spirit of compassion; a life that is no longer lived in opposition to the will of God, but in submission to His word, and to His truth?  [If yes, continue on in your journey, if no, sit down and ask God in to your life and in to your heart.  Then, make the changes in your life that need to be made in accordance with the new heart you will receive.  Get familiar with his word daily, and make prayer, and love new words in your vocabulary.  You have a new hope, a new future, and a new life with God.]

             “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You now and we ask and pray that You come in to our lives and hearts.  Help us to be transformed, and if there are areas of our lives where we are still in rebellion, we ask that you help us to submit those things to You now.  You are our Father, You are our teacher, You are our leader, and we ask that You lead us now Lord.  We love You, we thank You, and we praise You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you.

Honoring God leads to honor


             Now as Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed and is dreadfully tormented.”

             And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

             The centurion answered saying, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof.  But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.  For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me.  And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.

             When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!  And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness.  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. (Mathew 8: 5-13.)


             Rome had conquered the Holy Land in 63 B.C., and due to a continued threat of rebellion, there were soldiers permanently stationed there in the first century A.D.  A ‘centurion’ was an officer in charge of 100 soldiers.  This centurion came to Jesus and humbled himself; he publically confessed his own unworthiness; in so doing he had honored God’s Son.  Jesus then honored this man.  He publicly exalted the man’s faith, lifting him above every Jew in Israel.  God continues to honor those who are lowly, and who exalt Jesus.  The Lord said in another portion of scripture, “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  This Roman officer was in a position of authority, yet made himself and his entire household worthless and unfit to fellowship with God.  What respect, what reverence, what honor; this stranger was holier than the religious leaders who condemned Jesus.  The Lord then revealed that in the kingdom of God, the three fathers of the Jewish faith (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) would be celebrating eternally only with those who had honored Him.  No longer was Jewish blood the only requirement for being a child of God; now the blood of Christ was what separated the Godly from the ungodly.

             During the 1924 Olympics a Scotsman named Eric Liddell was on his way to the games, expected to win the 100 meter dash.  Eric had grown up in a missionary family and was a committed Christian.  He had always observed Sunday as the Sabbath day (or the day of rest) and when he found out that the 100 meter dash was scheduled for Sunday, he made the decision to ‘sit it out.’  He was pressured to run by his countrymen and others, but he was convinced that honoring God on His day was more important than a gold medal.  A few months before the Olympics, after making his decision to sit out the 100 meters, he decided to compete in the 400 meter dash, but was not expected to even place in this event for which he had not been training.  When the day of the race came, as he went to the starting blocks, an American Masseur put a piece of paper in his hand on which was written a bible verse; 1 Samuel 2:30.  The scripture read, “Those who honor me I will honor.”  Not only did Eric win the Gold medal in the 400, he broke the world record.  Eric had pushed his own desire for glory down and lifted God up for the entire world to see.  When he returned to Scotland, his classmates put him in a chair, lifted him up on their shoulders and carried him in the streets.  The scripture he had read the day he won Gold medal had reached its fulfillment in his life.

             Placing God in His proper position demands humility.  Honoring Him requires selflessness.  We become less important as He becomes more important.  He is recognized as righteous, and we become unrighteous.  God becomes worthy, and we become unworthy.  The attention is placed upon God rather than ourselves.  In this life, we raise God up, and in the coming Kingdom He will raise us up, into everlasting life.  Here we die, so in the future we can live.  There are so many ways to make God the center of your life and to honor Him.  You can make God a continued topic of discussion in your personal relationships.  You can pray to God, and seek his counsel daily.  You can pray before meals; you can give credit to God for the good works that you do.  When you do something for another person, you can say, “This is from the Lord.”  When a person attempts to thank you, they can be reminded that Jesus Christ is the one who should be thanked (not to be done rudely.)  When other people call you a good person, you can remind them that it is God working through you who is good.  Put the focus back on Him, give Him the glory, give Him the honor, and He will honor you with eternal life.

             “Lord Heavenly Father, please give us opportunities to lift You up in our lives, and to put the attention back on You.  Give us a humble heart, a heart that knows its unworthiness.  We want to be close to You, even though we are unworthy; help us to lay down our own desires in this life, to serve You.  Please be with us always.  We love You Lord, we thank You, and we praise You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

One way that the Holy Spirit works


            Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?  Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear isn’t mine but the Father’s who sent me.  These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.  But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all of the things that I have said to you” (John 14: 22-26.)          


            Jesus had been speaking to his disciples about his death, resurrection, and ascension.  He promised that after his ascension, he would send to them a replacement; someone to comfort their hearts, and to give them the power to continue his works on earth.  The world wouldn’t receive this Spirit, but only those who loved God.  Jesus said the Spirit would manifest itself by teaching them all things; he also said that the Spirit would remind them of all that he had said.  The Holy Spirit would bring out of each person’s heart, his treasured words.  These treasures were both from the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Jesus said, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”  Every follower had become a conduit through which God’s words would be presented to the world; the Holy Spirit was the means by which the proper scriptures were used in each situation, to minister to the lost and to edify His followers.  Jesus said, “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say.  For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

            During the course of writing this message, I was speaking to a girl who was writing a book on Zombies; a book about the dead coming to life.  As we talked, we spoke about inspiration, and I was able to tell her that in each human being, there is a place, deep down inside, where ideas come from.  This place is where a person’s heart is.  I quoted a scripture brought to mind by the Holy Spirit, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  I told her that there is no way to keep from expressing in her writing, what was in her heart.  The Holy Spirit led me to talk about the power of words, as she was a writer and used them to express herself.  I asked her, how it would feel if, as she was writing, she just happened to see her main character walk past the coffee shop window.  I told her that Jesus had been written about long before he was born, and that he was the word of God made manifest in the flesh, quoting John, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  So the character of Jesus walked off of the Holy Scriptures and in to the world of flesh and bone.  We then defined a zombie as half living and half dead.  I responded by telling her about ‘new birth,’ and how everyone born is alive and yet still dead; I told her that full life comes when someone is reborn and filled with the Holy Spirit.  I quoted to her the experience Jesus had with the demoniac, who was a living man, hanging out in a cemetery (he was naked and had been cutting himself); a real life zombie; living among the dead; as Jesus passed by he exercised the demons within him, and the man was restored to sanity and fully clothed.  The Holy Spirit had brought to my mind this story, as it was fitting for our conversation.  Finally, she told me about her other novel she was writing, and she told me that it was about ‘How love saves.’  I told her that was interesting; I motioned to the open bible before me, and told her the bible was a book about the exact same thing.  She said, “You’re right; the bible is pretty much about the same thing.”  This entire conversation was set-up, orchestrated, and led by God’s Holy Spirit speaking from within me.  I just had to willing to let Him lead.  The girl, near tears, convicted in her heart of the lifestyle she had been living, said (roughly), “All I came in here to do is write a little bit of my story…But He is always after me (the Lord.)  He never wants to let me go.”  As it turned out, she grew up faithful to the Lord, but had walked away because of a man she had been seeing.  She left knowing she had a decision to make.  (There were so many more scriptures that I quoted to her and didn’t mention here, all of which were brought to my mind at the right time.)

            Today, God is seeking to use you to minister his word to others.  The first step is reading His word, and storing it up in your heart.  The second step is to believe in His Son, His death, resurrection, and ascension.  The last step is to find a quiet place, sit down and ask God to give you His Holy Spirit and he will.  The Holy Spirit will then testify to you concerning the truth of God’s word, and you will for the first time “know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  He will bring to your remembrance the words of Jesus Christ.  You are then qualified to begin ministering to others.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we ask You for more of Your Holy Spirit, and we desire to be Your ministers in this place.  Give us the power to speak Your words, and to love others according to Your testimonies.  We love You Lord, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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