Thursday, July 17, 2014

To All the Nations

Acts 2: 5-6
5And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
Luke details the coming of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised after He ascended to heaven. The day of Pentecost was exactly fifty days after Jesus' resurrection. We celebrate this day every year because it is the day that the power of the Holy Spirit was released and given to the disciples that they may carry on the work and ministry of Jesus. The day of Pentecost was indeed special. It was the day that a great miracle was witnessed by many men. The wind and fire of God came down on the disciples and they began to speak with other tongues as the Holy Spirit directed. But the miracle of men hearing the disciples in their own language beyond Hebrew and Aramaic without the disciples ever studying was an example of what Christ said in the great commission in Matthew 28, "Go therefor and make disciples of all the nations." Remember, originally, Jesus' ministry focus was only on the Jews. The NKJV Study Bible notes "it underscored the universal outreach of the church."  Men of all different backgrounds began to hear the word of God in a language they understood. A supernatural gift from God given to reach the masses. The apostle Paul talks about the ability to interpret tongues that are spoken in 1Corinthians 14:6-13. As the apostle Paul stated, "How will it be known?"  Speaking in tongues is one thing but as Paul said, someone must be able to understand or interpret what is being said. The day of Pentecost was also special because God reversed what He did at the Tower of Babel in Genesis. Even now, the word of God is heard in other languages in other countries so that men might believe. It is a gift from God to know another tongue or language without study to communicate and most importantly, to communicate the word of God that men can be saved.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Continued Conversations in "C"

Song of Solomon 2:7
7I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.
We are continuing the conversations in "c" or celibacy. God is really serious about everyone getting this. In Song of Solomon, the Shulamite woman who was the apple and object of young David's love, acknowledged that as tempting as it is to consummate a dating/courting relationship with sex, that it is best to wait until the proper time. Anything not done in God's timing is off and out of order. The reason is you don't get the opportunity to enjoy the full blessing from Him and all that comes with it. When you have sex according to your timetable and not God's in the confines of marriage,  you taint the act of worship and expression of love that is supposed to be for a spouse. If you are not sure if you want to marry or when you want to marry that person, you rob them and their future spouse of the act of worship that sex is supposed to be. You essentially steal someone else's spouse and taint them physically and spiritually. Do you go to the grocery store and take a bite of an apple and then sit it back in the barrel for someone else to take? You have left your physical DNA all over that apple and because you decided you didn't want it, you expect someone else to see it as attractive and take it home. Too many people coming by to take a bite of that apple then leaves nothing for the person who was intending to buy who may have seen it in the barrel yesterday and waited until they were ready for it and God said it was time. Now if this sounds gross to you, then you are getting a picture of what you're doing when you are not celibate and waiting for God to send your mate be you man or woman. Remember in John 10:10 the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. He would like nothing better than to steal or destroy anything God has set aside for you. You play right into his objective when you lack self-control. Satan exploits weaknesses and this subject is the one he gets many on both out of ignorance and pure disobedience of the men and women of God.
The book of Song of Solomon and the book of Ruth include romance but also note the importance of waiting. In the book of Ruth, Boaz was much older than Ruth. He was aware that Ruth had been married before but she was celibate. Boaz was in love with Ruth but respected her enough not to consummate a physical union until he was one with her spiritually by the authority of God. He respected Ruth and would not taint her until he knew for sure he could marry her because she was potentially someone else's wife. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sex and it is a beautiful act of worship, which is to express love and connect to become one but only in its proper time and with the person God has set aside for you. Conversations in "c" or celibacy concluded.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Conversations in "C"

Matthew 19:12
12For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their  mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.
What is a eunuch? The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary says that a eunuch is a castrated man. In ancient times, including times of our dear Queen Esther, men were castrated so they could focus on the task assigned by the king and not be distracted by their physical organs. But the focus on the last part, "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake," is where we are. God gave this to me last week but said to wait. And then of course Pope Francis addressed the issue of celibacy.  For essentially a eunuch is celibate. Yes, the conversation the church often avoids.
In the Protestant church, ministers and pastors are not restricted from marriage. Actually, they are often encouraged. Some churches prefer not to employ pastors for their church if they are not married. Why? Because they are seen as power figures and the women in the church who unfortunately lack self-control and have not been delivered from the spirit of lust, go after them. The women become Satan's tool in attempting to find a weakness in the pastor or spiritual leader that can shift his focus. The enemy's objective is, " if he can get the leader then he can take the flock." This is not to obstruct a spiritual leader from responsibility, it is just to describe a most common and very real situation. There is no rule that says leaders of the church cannot marry. As a matter of fact, deacons and overseers are described as, "having one wife" in Titus. But Jesus spoke of those who are eunuchs for heaven's sake. The apostle Paul addressed this issue in 1Corinithians 7 because there were some who sought marriage as though it were the greater of situations. The NKJV Study Bible translation notes the apostle Paul was saying that celibacy or circumcision was not less spiritual than marriage. Yes, marriage was the first relationship God created between humans but it does not mean that being single is bad. The apostle Paul was saying that being single allows one to focus on the desire of God and the kingdom of heaven which is what Jesus said above. However, ANYONE who is unmarried and a follower of Christ is called to celibacy unless they are married for that is your "reasonable sacrifice" as said in Romans 12. The apostle Paul also wanted  to address those who seem to lack self-control. Those that do must be married so their passions do not overtake them. In 1Corinithians 6 the apostle Paul illustrates what happens when passions overtake a person. You end up becoming one flesh and spirit with someone like a prostitute. I saw a picture demonstrated on Facebook of a man sleeping with a woman who looked dead. Thought extremely gross, It was used as an analogy for those who have sex with someone who God did not call to them and who is by all accounts, spiritually dead. For if every person saw the spirit of the one they physically desired before lying down with them, they may have second thoughts because that's what they would become inside. Hosea 4:6 says for my people perish for a lack of knowledge. Many perish because they are caught on conversations in "C" or celibacy.
Be blessed!