Thursday, June 28, 2018

Know Your Role!

And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us.She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.  And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us. (Acts 16:13-15)
While many argue over the role of women today in the Church, (Yes, I hold to conservative tradition!), one thing is sure, God can, has, and will use women in a great way! Eve, Mary, Elizabeth, Deborah, Ruth, and here in Acts 16, a business woman in Europe is led by Paul to Christ!

If you would, Lydia just might be considered our spiritual mother for those of us west of the Middle East!

What is your role with God?

Number one, have you accepted His call as Paul did and eventually Lydia? Are you pursuing His will? He has a role for each of us, but we must follow His plan, not our own!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Holy Spirit, not Man!

Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.  So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” (Acts 15:6-11)
Be very careful when identifying with various groups and practices. Like in the early days of the Church, various groups of believers can still put yokes of  oppression and bondage upon believers today.

Test everything by the Spirit of God. Have a good one on one with Him. While it is true that we as CHRISTians are free, we still must honor the Lord with all we do and be sure not to cause anyone to stumble. But we DO have biblical freedoms nevertheless!

So be sure. Do not follow customs and practices that burden (Acts 15:28). However, we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit either! (Ephesians 4:30) Be sure to have some good talks with the Holy Spirit from time to time!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

God Alone!

But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.(Acts 14:14-18)
God alone!  Even today, we all get caught up in the people and the actions rather than the God who does it all. Yes, He still uses man to do the miraculous, but is is STILL God! We cannot allow the excitement, charisma, talents, or personality of men and women to distract us from God and His Spirit.

God alone deserves the honor and worship. It should come freely and from our heart, not through the direction of man. Let's not so get caught up in the "Hollywood Christianity" of entertainment, events, and charismatic style that we forget it is because of Christ and through faith in Him that we can even breathe, much less worship! Like in Paul's day, it can become easy to begin worshipping man and his actions rather than  our  Lord and Savior. God alone . . . .

Monday, June 25, 2018

Sent and Chased Away

As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. (Acts 13:2-3)

Paul and others were picked out by the Holy Spirit to serve and share the Good News. Share they did! So much so that Gentiles were getting so excited that it causes thenJews to become angry! In fact, they raised a crowd to chase the disciples out of town (Acts 13:49-50)

However, they remained "filled with joy"! (Acts 13:52)

Keep plowing ahead, even if it means being chased away at times. . . . .

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Caution:Angels At Work!

Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.

 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison.  Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off hishands.(Acts 12:1-7) 


Angels may not appear as they did in the past, but they are still at work. Trust God! (Philippians 1:6)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

FEW in Number but GREAT in GRACE

Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul.  And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.(Acts 11: 22-26)
So what is a CHRISTian?
Not an action on a SONday morning.... Not a statement made or a repetitious act .... Not money given or time volunteered...Not a title or reward given.
CHRISTianity is most reflected in an experienced and committed lifestyle of love, grace, forgiveness, and devotion.

Barnabas experienced the "grace of God" within the believers in Antioch. They were first known as CHRISTians!

Question: Is  this what others experience when they are around you and me?

CHRISTians are few in number but GREAT in GRACE!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Jesus FREES Us

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,  “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days. (Acts 10:44-48)
June 19, 1865....Freedom from the sin of slavery FINALLY reached Texas and many southern states. Two years of unnecessary and illegal bondage as sin continued to proliferate. Sin condoned and freedom ignored. Two hundred and fifty years later and freedom is still not equal-opportunity because sin still reigns in our hearts of stone!

Yet in Christ we can have true freedom and experience true brotherhood, if as Peter called people then, we today answer the call to true repentance (and baptism) to Christ and His Body, the Church.

How long do you and I suffer for no reason today in the grip and chains of sin? How often do we allow society and culture to imprison our heats and minds? Nearly two thousand years ago Jesus declared us free from the grip of sin, yet we choose its prison walls.

I remind us all today of our calling to true freedom and brotherhood . . .  not by association of race, color, culture, ethnicity, heritage or politics, but rather through our identity in the blood of Jesus Christ! His blood "trumps" everything!

Take a bold step and embrace the freedom Christ offers.......Jesus FREES Us!

Not a slogan.....an answer!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Eracism

Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.  But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. (Acts 10:34-35)
 From the early beginnings of this Nation through today, racism roars its ugly head. It is passed down from generation to generation . . . . yes, even within the walls of churches. It is taught; sometimes subtlely and other times blantantly.

Through Satan's eyes, we are separate, isolated, and distant groups with our own agendas and plans. Through the eyes of our Lord and Savior and His sacrifice, we are ONE! Will you and I take a look past culture, past language, past dress, and past color to "see" what Peter was saying in the above verses? Can we place our brotherhood in Christ above a twisted culture and do what Jesus prayed for in John 17: 20-24?

May we all be ONE? It will take some boldness, but as for me and my house . . .  well this is our goal and our agendafor. . . . ERACISM!!!!!!!

#squadgoals/GODgoals

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Celebrate Jesus!

Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows [h]shamelessly uncovers himself!”  So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lordwho chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the LordAnd I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor. ”Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death. (2 Samuel 6:20-23)
Celebrate.....that's right CELEBRATE JESUS! Despite the critics . . . . despite society . . . . despite friends, family, and co-workers! CELEBRATE JESUS!

He is worthy. We do not have to be politically correct. We do not have to do It like everyone else. No one should have to tell us when or how to CELEBRATE JESUS!

It comes from within. " I will be even more undignified than this", David said
(2 Samuel 6:22). Let's be like David today and CELEBRATE JESUS as we please!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Proper Worship is Not Planned

Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.  So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. (2 Samuel 6:14-15)
 Worshipping God should be without form or pretense except out of pure respect, joy, honor and thanksgiving. We should praise Him for Who He is, what He does, what He does not do, and what He will do! Praise and worship is not for us, but unto a Holy and Merciful God!

David had to worship. It was not because God blessed him with riches, but that God blessed him at all. David realized his sins before a Holy God. He had lost the Ark. It was taken from the city. Knowing God even allowed it to return was cause for celebrating right where he was and without preparation.

How often do we simply stop and break out in praise? Is God not worthy of such action? Does praise and worship have to be led and directed by someone else once a week? Praise Him in the shower, in the car, at school, at work, in the grocery store, at the bank, while we are cutting grass, at the gas station.

Every situation and every location is an opportuniy to praise and worship our God! It should not be planned

Monday, June 11, 2018

I Am not A Failure . . . I Simply Fail At Times!


If you would earnestly seek God
And make your supplication to the Almighty,

If you were pure and upright,

Surely now He would awake for you,
And prosper your rightful dwelling place.

Though your beginning was small,

Yet your latter end would increase abundantly. (Job 8:5-7)
We all fail at some point in life. In fact, many of our most successful people have failed greatly, but they have learned from those failures! As believers, we must realize we are born failures from the womb, yet Christ offers a way to success!

God is indeed a Rewarder. However, we must earnestly . . . diligentlynseek Him (Hebrews 11:6). He does reward laziness, faulting others, idleness, excuses, selfishness or self-pity. We are each fearfully and wonderfully made by Him (Psalm 139:14). He knows the best for us.

If we have recently failed or even been living in a pattern of failure, it's time to re-think, re-plan, re-tool, rebuild and restore!

Lord, help me to recognize my failures and commit to You andnYour plans for my life. Revive me! Restore me! Beginning today . . .

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Lack of Respect for Authority . . . .

Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.  Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. And he said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way. (1 Samuel 24:4-7)
God's authority. . . . Parental authority . . . . Authorities in the churches, government, and yes, the Word of God.

Needless to say, there is a general lack of respect for those in authority and the positions of authority today. Here, David is the annointed King, Yet he knew his time had not come. He had the opportunity before him to dispose of Saul and take over. The opportunity was there, but it was not of God! David passed the test and waited on God.

While we as CHRISTians are free to do a lot in this world, all things are NOT Godly! (1 Corinthians 10:23) We must be careful whom we align with, whom we join voices with, and whom we sign up with today. Some things may seem right and good, but may not be Godly!

Our role as CHRISTians is to do good to honor God and bring Him glory. Let God be God. His will . . .

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Choices . . . . now that I have been chosen!

And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him. (1Samuel 22:2)
David, like Paul after him, was a chief sinner. God even caused the rejcts and outcasts to join him and fight with him! Yet that did not remain outcasts and rejects. They became men of God!

Paul was admittedly the "chief of sinners".  (1 Timothy 1:15) Yet the one who would oversee the killing of CHRISTians would be the chief ambassador for Christ!

So for me, one of the "chiefs", I must decide daily if I am to remain in sin or choose to be more like Chrsit. Will I have a heart for God or this world? Will I remain a reject or be a recruiter for the King?

Choices . . . . now that I have been chosen!

Monday, June 4, 2018

far better than any Jonathan. . . . .

 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘May the Lord be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever.’ ” So he arose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city. (1 Samuel 20:42)

Jonathan was David's close friend and confidant. He was his "spy in the sky"  . . . . his "informant" . . . . his "eyes behind enemy lines". Unfortunately for many of us today, we have no Jonathan. We do not have a trusting friend and loyal brother. We have way to many Sauls however.

Lots of liars, backstabbers, mockers, and "haters". They arrive in the form of friends but there is no loyalty. Yet we have Jesus . . . . far better than any Jonathan! (Proverbs 8:24)

Friends may turn their backs. Family may plant seeds of doubt. Associates may scheme against is. Even fellow believers can misunderstand our motives. Yet Jesus knows us intimately; faults and all. He cares. He will NEVER leave! (Hebrews 13:5)

Trust Him. . . . Praise Him today!!!!!

Friday, June 1, 2018

If it is of God, you cannot overthrow it . . .

Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while.  And he said to them: “Men of Israel, |take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.  For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” (Acts 5:34-39)
The Sanhedrin was angry! They had beaten, jailed, and warned the apostles do cease. The leaders had enough of the "lies" being spread. They wanted action and now!

But for Gamaliel, the wise and respected teacher of the Law, all the apostles may have been slain right there. Yet he gave them examples of previous uprisings where folks claimed to be doing God's will yet they and their plans vanished.

I cannot help but observe the world these days . . . . my personal world and the world in general. What is of God and what is of man (Satan) anyway? Many times it is hard to distinguish. Other times we know for sure, yet our hands are tied. We must at times sit back, pray, be sure we are not in sin, and allow God to work!

You and I cannot act out in anger or selfish motives. We may just be fighting God! Watch and pray . . . .

Just so You Know

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear  a Son, and shall call His name  Immanuel. (Is...