Friday, April 1, 2011

To Live in a Glass House

John 7:19
19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”

Did you know that living in a glass house is dangerous? Jesus taught during the feast and the Jews didn't understand how someone who had not studied under a Rabbi (teacher) could possess so much knowledge. It was customary for a man to study under a Rabbi before becoming a teacher himself. Jesus pointed out an essential difference between one who acts upon the will of God and one who acts upon his own accord. Most teachers derived their own theories but Jesus taught based on the will of God. The Pharisees operated on their own accord. The Jews were amazed at his ability to perform a miracle but turned their focus to fact that he did it on Sabbath. According to mosaic law it is prohibited for one to work on the Sabbath for it is a day of rest. Unfortunately, the Jews failed to see that they had already broken the law themselves because they often circumcised an infant on the Sabbath which was considered doing work. Though they didn't keep the law they taunted Jesus for healing a man because it was considered work. Does that make sense to you?

Unfortunately, we often operate like the Jews. We stand in a glass house and throw stones but don't expect our glass to shatter when stones are thrown back. We constantly point out what we think are the mistakes of others but yet can easily be shown the same actions in our behavior or in our lives. What is one to do? We must examine our life and actions before "putting our mouths" onto someone else's circumstances. Like the Jews, we may not understand the "whole story" behind what is done. For God always sees from all angles not just the end result. Be careful when living in a glass house because God will allow stones to break through.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Go Tell It on the Mountain

1 Chronicles 16:8
 8 Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
   make known among the nations what he has done.

When everything is well, do you call on the Lord? Do you "go tell it on the mountain"? King David and his men had recovered the ark of God and had placed in a tent. Though he was not the one to build a temple it was still a great moment. David gave thanks. First he gave thanks with the priests in burnt offerings which was customary at that time but then he also gave thanks with a psalm (song).  When we are in trouble we are quick to say woe is me to God but what about when he brings us out? Do we celebrate with God or do we only call on him when things are bad? When favor is poured on us, it is because of God so he ought to be the first one we call on. Even when things are not so good, he ought to be the first one we call on. But then we are to give our testimony. For nothing we go through is for us alone. When we come out of our test, surely there are others going into the test. For our testimony of what God has done is an encouragement for those who do not yet see the glimmer of light. The testimony that we made it out gives proof that weeping doesn't last always.

The next time God brings you out of test and you feel a tug to tell about it, that's the Holy Spirit saying someone needs to hear it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Changing Focus

Luke 12:29-31
And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.
30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Are you in need of a change of focus? Jesus spoke to the crowd on worry from the perspective of creatures of the earth. When we focus so hard on a branch we sometimes miss the rest of the tree. Yes, everyone needs food and clothing that is a given, but if we are so focused on it that we neglect our spiritual life then we are missing an important aspect. Jesus was clear when he said focusing on the kingdom of God must come first. What we sometimes fail to grasp is that the spirit man will continue to live long after the natural man has died so then the major focus should be directed to what lives the longest. Seeking God will not only grow our heart and our mind but it will change our focus so that we see the whole tree. Once we change our focus to God, he will begin to open doors in other areas that we of course could not do on our own. Changing focus to God not only helps with spiritual growth but it's the key to unlocking all other doors of blessings. For it is through faith in God that one finds purpose. But one ought to desire to grow close to God out of love not out of greed. For God always sees the heart.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Group Think

Proverbs 30:25
25 Ants are creatures of little strength,
   yet they store up their food in the summer;

Have you ever seen the cartoons where ants are working together to move large amounts of food from a picnic site? Agur was the son of Jakeh. He was a non-Israelite yet he had profound sayings. Ants, though they have no generals, have an uncanny ability to work together to store food at the harvest. Ants display the meaning of teamwork. What if the body of Christ was like an ant nation? What could we accomplish? How many more people would be exposed to the knowledge of Christ? How many more lives could be saved both naturally and spiritually? How many more miracles would be revealed? The ants don't need a general because they have "group think". It's not about "I" but the collective and they understand the importance of getting things done. If we operated as one unit, what could we get done? The Holy Spirit is our level of "group think". Our problem, unfortunately, is that our "group think" is often outweighed by pride and everyone wanting to be a general. What if there were no generals and everyone was equal? Under the Holy Spirit, we are equal we just perform different functions but pride within us keeps God from operating in the fullness of his glory in our lives and within the body of Christ as a whole. As the weather gets warmer, start watching how ants maneuver. What if there were no generals? What could we do with "group think"?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Praying for Leadership

1 Timothy 2:1-2
1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Did you know that it's important to pray for leadership? As John C. Maxwell says, "everything rises and falls with leadership." Why? Because the spirit of the leader resonates throughout the organization. The apostle Paul instructed Timothy, head of the church of Ephesus, to pray earnestly for their country's leadership. During the period of Paul's letter, the Roman emperor Nero had begun persecuting Christians and Jews. Nero's persecutions were a deflection from blame for fires that spread throughout Rome. The portions of Rome that were not burned down were where the Jews and Christians resided. The fire was within Nero's palace as well. Christians and Jews were not liked anyway because they did not represent the old and pagan ways of Rome. So the fire was a perfect excuse to remove them. Why is this story important? Regardless of who's in leadership, every leader needs to be prayed for. The decisions of the leadership affect everyone. Whether it's leadership of a nation or an organization, the decisions impact all. To pray that the leadership make godly and fair decisions would be prudent. For God has put authority in place for a reason. The last thing anyone would desire is leadership like that of Nero. But regardless, prayer works and prayer changes things so to go to the throne of God on behalf of any leader is a sign that one is conscious that leaders are people too. Leaders are not invincible and need guidance and why not have the best guidance of all, our loving God who is the father of wisdom. King Solomon asked for wisdom to lead a kingdom, not all do so. So it is also the responsibility of those who follow to not only pray for followers but those who lead them.