Friday, April 8, 2011

Not Hearing It

2 Timothy 4:3
3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

Did you know that truth is not about what we want to hear? The apostle Paul addressed Timothy in a letter about the ups and downs of ministering. He said something that is true no matter what the situation. When people don't hear what they want to hear they tend to discard it and will go through great lengths to find someone that will say what it is they really want to hear to justify the desires of their hearts. Paul's declaration to Timothy was basically to keep moving and keep a level head. In other words, do not take it personally. No matter who delivered the truth, some just prefer not to hear it.

We all have to come to a place where we are willing to accept truth even when it's not what we desire to hear. It is meant to teach us to be better, to do better and even to grow in areas where growth is needed. Unfortunately, not everyone desires to grow because growth requires change. Some of us don't want to change. We'd much rather stay where we are because it's comfortable. Comfort isn't what God put us here for. God put us here to perfect us so that we would lack nothing. What truth have you heard that you've decided you'd rather not hear it? Does it make it any less true? Or have you been the one to deliver truth that was not accepted?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Losing Sight

1 Kings 11:31
31 Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes.

The ability to lose favor in God's eyes is often underestimated. When King Solomon was given his father's kingdom, the Lord told him that as long as he obeyed his commands and did what was right in his sight, he would have favor and be blessed, but if he didn't, then trouble would never leave him. And so what became of Solomon' life? King Solomon, not only married women that God specifically said not to marry but then he became influenced by these women and worshiped idols. King Solomon had appointed Jeroboam to a post because he thought his work was good. But what he didn't know was that God was going to tear the majority of the kingdom from him and give it to Jeroboam. If it had not been for the promise God made to David, King Solomon would've lost it all.

The way to ward off a lot of trouble is to live a life of faithfulness but it doesn't mean there won't be trials. To do things that we know God has said not to do thinking it will go unnoticed is a grave mistake. As much wisdom and wealth that King Solomon was blessed with, his problem was his arrogance. One of our continued prayers must always be to have a humble spirit. Yes, it is difficult to have when in a position like King Solomon, however, not impossible. Let us learn from King Solomon's mistake. Always pray for a humble spirit and live a life of faithfulness to God.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Time to Exit

Acts 18:3-4
3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Have you ever asked why you were in a particular place? The apostle Paul spent time in Corinth. He vocational skills that he was able to utilize while he preached the gospel to the group in place. Unfortunately, those he ministered to turned a deaf ear so it was of no use to continue to minister those that refused to open their eyes. Instead of beating a dead horse, Paul knew he could do no more. He shook his clothes as a testimony against them and pronounced from that day forward that their choice was then on their own head. For they had been given an opportunity to know Jesus but wouldn't take it. When the Jews and Greeks that Paul ministered to turned against him, he knew it was time to go.

Sometimes God will place us in areas that seem unsuspecting because but he intends to use us. It can be anywhere. Like Paul, we may have a vocational skill so God may use that skill to allow us to spend time with people and witness to them simultaneously.  Never under estimate God's ability to use you where you are. But, it is a two-fold process. We can witness to others but if they refuse to have open hearts to receive, then we cannot force them. We must know like Paul when to move. The only way we will know is to listen for God's prompting. Otherwise, we can stay too long and miss when it is time to go.

What environment are you in? Has God been using you to be a witnessing voice to those around you? Have you gone from friend to foe? Has God told you it's time to go but you've been hanging on for reasons God did not intend? If so, it's time to exit.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Daily Regimens

Colossians 4:2
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Do you have daily regimens? The apostle Paul suggested three regimens that were necessary particularly for the people of Colosse and for us today. Heresies or false teachings were growing rapid within the city and Paul's suggestions were the only ways to combat their rapid spread. What does it mean to devote? As defined in Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary devote means to:

1: to commit by a solemn act <devoted herself to serving God>
2: to give over or direct (as time, money, or effort) to a cause, enterprise, or activity

How many of us direct our time to pray regularly? Do we only pray in times of trouble? What about praying everyday, to ward off trouble? The saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." A prayer a day keeps the enemy at bay. Praying regular and then listening to God leads us into Paul's second suggestion which is to be watchful. How do we know what to watch for if we're not praying and taking guidance from the Holy Spirit? We ought to be thankful anyway that we open our eyes but we gain more perspective on thankfulness once we see God has brought us through and what he's protected us from. Example: the car accident you just missed. Prayer, watchfulness and thankfulness ought to be next to breathing in our lives. Yes, everyone's busy but if we have time to pray when things go wrong, why not start while things are alright? What if God was too busy to wake us up? That's just one reason for a daily prayer and huge thanks.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS: My 1st internet radio interview with V of Artist to Artist is now available on YouTube at and join me for a book signing/gathering on Saturday, May 14th at John 3:16 Christian Bookstore in Lanham, MD from 1-4pm.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sticky Gray Areas

2 Chronicles 19:7
7 Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”

Our God is a just God. Jehoshaphat was King of Judah and Ahab was King of Israel. Ahab was not happy with a prophet named Micaiah. He wasn't happy because every word given to him was one of correction. Instead of taking the correction from God's mouthpiece, Ahab rejected it. Because of this, a prophesy of judgment against Ahab had been issued that would result in his death. To avoid death, Ahab attempted to set up his ally Jehoshaphat. When it was time for them to go to war, Ahab had entered the battle in disguise so that Jehoshaphat would be the one attacked. But God's justice prevailed. God stepped in! Jehoshaphat was protected and Ahab was killed. This is an example of justice served. Afterward, correction was pronounced by another prophet against Jehoshaphat because he conferred with a man he knew didn't act according to God. But he was given grace and still used because God saw some good in him.

The story is an illustration of God's justice prevailing. What's wrong is wrong and what's right is right. God sees no gray in that area. No one can escape God's correction regardless. However, God does judge the heart. If one's heart is still leaning in the direction of God, then he will still make use of them. Jehoshaphat was used to establish judges in the land. Their job was to judge according to God's standards not man. Why? Man sees a lot of gray and like Jehoshaphat, man can be swayed to judge according to what benefits him. For that reason, we cannot rely on our own judgment but must seek God in all we do. We can be easily swayed and like Jehoshaphat, can be unknowingly set up. But God's grace is extended to all through Jesus Christ. It doesn't mean we do not have consequences of our decisions and actions but it means we don't have to feel the full wrath and there is a window to get it right.  Something to think about the next time we see a sticky situation approaching.