Friday, December 6, 2013

Doing it For Love

Romans 13:8
8Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The law means the Ten Commandments. The Lord talks continuously in His word about the "motive" or reason for someone saying or doing something is important. It is mentioned in Proverbs repeatedly but also Jesus spoke about what comes out of the mouth is what is in the heart and people claiming to do things in the name of the Lord but being turned away at judgment. And the apostle Paul spoke about love being the greatest no matter what gift you have to give to the world in 1Corinthians 13. Why? Precisely the question. Why? Why are you doing what you are doing? Jesus spoke about the Pharisees loving the place of honor yet they had no regard for the people they were supposed to teach and lead. Do you realize that by Jesus talking about people who gave to the needy and claimed to be prophesying in His name He was saying that doing something just for the sake of doing something or to receive your own recognition is no better than not doing it at all? Why? Because God wants you to be motivated by love. "What's love got to do with it?" EVERYTHING!! The Word says in 1John 4:8-9 that God is love and anyone who does not love does not know God. And His demonstration of love was by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. And Jesus demonstrated His love by sacrificing His blood and life on the cross for you and I. So your motivation is important. If you are not motivated by love first and foremost, then it means nothing. If you are not giving, teaching, leading or doing anything else with love for others as your motivation, then why do it? 
 "Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do but how much love we put in that action" ~ Mother Theresa 
What is your motivation? Are you doing it for the love of God? For the love you have for others? If not, then it's as empty as not doing it all.
P.S. My sincerest condolences to the Mandela family and to all in South Africa in the passing of a great icon. Dr. Nelson Mandela demonstrated his love at the price of giving up 27 years of his life. A clear demonstration of love. He demonstrated like the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and many others, that the suppression of a group of people because of the color of their skin does not have to be tolerated. He also showed the modern world that a Black man could be president of a country and lead it. Thank you God for the 95 years you gave to Dr. Nelson Mandela.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Discernment at Work

Nehemiah 6:12
12Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
God moved on Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and to rebuild the city. While God was moving on the heart of Nehemiah to take the lead in rebuilding the holy city, God was also moving on the heart of King Artaxerxes to financially plant a seed and provide whatever was needed for the rebuilding. Now Nehemiah had been serving King Artaxerxes and was faithful in doing so. Tobiah and Sanballat were upset when they learned that the walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilt. And from that point on, they decided to plot to stop the building. Tobiah and Sanballat came at Nehemiah from every angle they knew how. They had already devised slander in writing. However, when that did not work, Tobiah and Sanballat sent someone from the house of Shemaiah who they paid as a secret informer to "prophecy" or prophe-lie as is often said in the kingdom of God when someone gives a false prophecy and are not sent by God himself. Prophets are to be the mouthpieces of God. They are to speak what God is saying, to give encouragement, God's direction and rebuke when necessary. So if God didn't send them, whose mouthpiece are they? Just something to think about. Now why would someone go to great lengths to do such a thing? These people were actually enemies of the Jews as a whole who had tried many times to destroy the Jews. Rebuilding the wall and the city was representation of the strengthening of the Jews and their reuniting after their captivity which the enemies did not want. Nehemiah did not allow himself to be distracted, paid off or scared into aborting the plans God gave him. The prophe-lie given to Nehemiah was that people were coming to kill him if he didn't stop rebuilding.
So what does this mean to you? Hmmm... Did you know the enemy of your soul uses these same tactics? Did you know there are people that the enemy uses just like Tobiah and Sanballat used someone from the house of Shemaiah to be a secret informer?  Remember the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. So if you are moving in the direction God has for you and the enemy is upset, he will send threats and even scare tactics. He may even send someone to prophe-lie to get you so wound up that you stop moving with God's plans. Like Nehemiah, you have to "perceive" or use the spiritual gift of discernment to understand the spirit of the person and more importantly, the motive behind what is being said to you. For that is what the gift of discernment does, it divides between good and evil. It divides truth from lie and shows the motive behind whatever words are said and what spirit they are said in and the heart of the person saying them. God sometimes allows you to see the plans of the wicked and gives you strategies to combat. 1Corinithians 2:13-16 and 1Corinthians 12 which gives insight to how God uses the spiritual gift of discernment. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines discern as 1) to detect with the eyes: distinguish 2) discriminate 3) to come to know or recognize mentally. So in essence God teaches you to use your spiritual eyes to see what the natural man cannot see. If you need help to see so as not to get tripped up by the enemy, ask God to show you and He will for the sake of His plans.  Sanballat kept inviting Nehemiah to sit down and discuss as a means to get the full plan but also to distract Nehemiah away from the time he was to spend doing what God told him. You cannot entertain everyone when God tells you to do something. You cannot give away the plans God has given you. You cannot give your attention to people who do not mean you well. If God shows you that someone is off and has intention to hinder the plans of God, BELIEVE HIM! God's Word is always true and He is a man that cannot tell a lie in a world where so many do.