New Temple; Same Market! Pt. 2

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If you read Part I, proceed to paragraph 5.      To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market! John 2:16

Part one posed many thoughts about the current challenges facing our churches.  Shamingly, I writes churches, a subtle admission of the largest problem we face, while challenging us all to take a close look at ourselves with sober judgment and face a sad reality or ignore warnings and trends.  

As we continue to look at the marketplace, we find Christ encountering the temple before the Passover.  He wandered into the courts and saw up close the wickedness that had emerged in the place that was to provide a medium for healing and restoration.  He stood face to face with the place, no doubt, many had complained about the scales used to determine whether one was forgiven or in limbo with the Lord.  While many approached God with a contrite heart, they were instructed that there best wasn’t good enough for the Lord.  The system that was created to facilitate, no majored on regulating, leaving more wounded than whole.

Our Lord fashioned a whip and declared, “Stop turning my Fathers House into a Market”  reading this, I thought of today’s circumstances and wrote, “New Temple; Same Market.”

Today’s Temples are absolutely amazing.  I’m sure upon Christ return that He will visit each one and sign up for the guided tour of each of our localities.   I can imagine that He will take pictures in our pulpits, possibly baptize a few in our baptismal pools, and recline in our offices, later taking a ride in our vehicles which He blessed us with.  Nah!  We know what His return will be like, but not to let the moment pass, when Jesus encountered this Temple, he wasn’t impressed with the operation, He was angered by the misuse of His Fathers house.  It was not created to be a for profit, it was to be a non profit directed by a Prophet that was not focused on making a profit, but doing what was profitable for ones soul.  (I know the Prophet didn’t control the temple, I’m bridging to today).

New Temple; Same Market Pt. 2

With the house out of order, He paused the festivities to clean house!  I am convinced that the same would occur in many places today.  Jesus prays to God about the disciples, the church, and their role in what was to come.  Thus we too must clean house. We must focus on the Message of Christ and being like Christ; correcting un-christlike behavior.  And when abuse occurs in the ranks and pew, we must reestablish the will of Christ within our walls.

He says,

“I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  John 17:23

Jesus stressed Kingdom, as in One, not Kindgoms as in many.  Though there is freedom and beauty in the variety of praise, there is nothing beautiful or freeing about the many messages from the messengers.  Confusion exists when seekers hear speakers promoting political and personal agendas.  It is as though there is no truth today.  Truth is no relative to the audience one is trying to reach it seems. Market studies reveal the perfect Message for tingling ears, and many have chosen to deliver it line by line though to fill empty seats.  These things result in a rejection of truth, a group that don’t have the truth in them, and creates a pew filled with cynics.

Each time my Grandfather and I speak, he says,  “There is a difference in a church and a congregation.  We have too many congregations!  We must be the church!” Pastor Buford Horn (#grandpahorn)  “What’s the problem you ask?” Many of our churches are congregating around ideals and values that don’t align with Christ!  And for many, they aren’t disciples, rather people who are similar and use the church as a place to congregate and do commerce.

John Maxwell said at the GROW conference, “The world is motivated by an untapped market.  Are you motivated by the unsaved?” Which brings us to our next issue in the market, competition.  It’s not the competition that is the issue, rather the ones being competed for.  Maxwell spoke to us, “If I told a business man that 60% portion of a the market was virgin, he wouldn’t hear the rest of my presentation.”  He gently scolded us, confronting us will a sad reality.  Much of our growth has been movement not salvation’s.  Some have catered Sunday mornings not for the unsaved, but have designed our worship and temples to gather the largest portion of the existing market-share possible.  We are not creating an audience, we are competing for an audience. img_2881-2

Yes, people need a place to worship.  Yes, we need to track down the one and reach those who have fallen out of fellowship. These are responsibilities placed on the Shepherd and his team, but the great commission refocuses us on our main task.  It’s to take the Message and create more Messengers that can take the Message and create more Messengers.  It seems we have fallen in love with the twelve and crowds and forgotten about the cross.  Why were we sent? To whom where we sent?

If we are anything like our Christ, we would see a shift in our target audience!  There are still poor, prisoners, blind and oppressed in the hedges and highways.   And as long as these aren’t our focus, the country club atmosphere and mentality will continue to plague or congregations, and keep us from becoming the church of Jesus Christ.
#pastorjdo3

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New Temple; Same Market! The Market Place Wins Again! Pt. 1 John 2:16

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I started this blog with the intent of writing a blog called “The Elephant in the Room” and talking about the events of Charlottesville, Virginia (and using the Republican Elephant as the main picture), but I have so many friends that are Republicans and great people that I thought it both wrong and irresponsible!   Furthermore, the politics that has permeated our churches has become a silencer to the smoking gun called hatred!  By now, I pray that all of you are tired of hearing our faith linked to political organizations who only use our principles to garner our votes!  Again, the church of Jesus Christ is not a political party!  It is a group of people who have walked away from a life of sin because of the Messiah King’s sacrifice, and have chosen to become disciples in a pursuit for righteousness.

Having said all of this, I come to the point of this blog.  Many young people have left our churches not because of the message of Christ, but because of the foolishness of the messenger and the immaturity of the followers!

Christ came into the world and showed one act of aggressiveness.  No, it wasn’t at a rally!  It wasn’t with the tax collector!  It wasn’t with the woman caught in adultery or with the man in the tombs!  It wasn’t even with Peter who spoke incorrectly or when the disciples again displayed little faith!  Not even when the disciples fell asleep while he prayed.  He rolled up his sleeves, fashioned together a whip, and went to the alleged “house of prayer” and ran out all animals, people, threw all the coins on the ground and turned over every table!  The leaders rebuked Him, asking who gave him authority, and standing on the 46 year existence of the temple.

marketplace

From the depth of His core, He demanded,  “..Stop turning my Fathers House in to a Market…”, which takes us to the Title of the Blog, “New Temple; Same Market! The Market Place Wins Again!”

 

Jesus walked into the temple a saw the drive of the leaders and managers to find the most profitable way to restore the relationship between God and Man.  The took God’s law and wrote into it a way to eat, drink, live and drive the finest.  They analyzed the bottom line, crunched the numbers, and like good stewards, figured a way to increase profit margin and in the the profit, increased there margin of spiritual error.  The bottom line became the main focus, and thus Jesus took a moment from His busy schedule to refocus the flock!

With His own hands, He braided together chords and sought to bring about harmony with the church and the will of God.  As His whip cut through the air, I imagine that each strike was precise, and the sound of His strike snapped with such power that it echoed throughout the country side.  As animals scattered, He turned to those profiting and demanded that the doves be turned loose as well.

Marketplace2.jpgI was both angry and relieved by reading this passage.  The passage list that the whip was used to run the animals out, but he left the servants that had turned it into the market.  I thought to myself, that whip should have met a back not the ground.  It should have cut a thigh and cheek, not just the air!  But even in anger, He was poised and controlled.  He displayed His disgust as a warning while knowing that in a short time, the source of revenue they had built would be torn apart.

Yep, today, I declare that many of our “Houses of Prayer” should cut down all vegetation on site and in the surrounding area!  Christ would in many cases clean out the foolishness that has overcome some (NOT ALL) of our temples (churches).    As I both read and discuss some of the rhetoric about the Global Church, actually, the “American Church”, we find all to often that reports about abuse and misuse surface.  Though most of these stories, though some are true, do no apply to the majority of churches, it does apply to some.  Without throwing a blanket over us all, it is important that each parishioner and reader know that the man of God, preacher,  or pastor is human; we are not perfect.  We make errors, and God deals with us, and in some cases, so does the pew.

Forgiveness should be in play in all cases, just as God chooses to forgive in all circumstances.  Be it duly noted, that God says every man will be held accountable for his own actions.  Having said this, Forgiveness is not turning a blind eye to evil or supporting it with silence.  And Patience and Long Suffering is not watching another suffer at the hands of one who abuses and misuses power.    Jesus could have walked by this temple and ignored the actions of those who were misrepresenting Him and abusing those who He had chosen, but He spoke up, and took action to bring about change.

marketplace 3I am convinced that everyone silently protesting and verbally protesting the church isn’t mature, unsaved or stuck in un-forgiveness.  

I fear they tuned in, took positions and in the end, simply weren’t buying what we were selling! They packed and left! Some frustrated that the house of God is not the place they expected it to be.  They remain baffled and the countless amount of Pastors and clergy men that remain silent when those who are less than are picked on and taken advantage of.  They are confused as our churches ignore truth, and create a message that caters to top givers.  They are saddened by those who sit in comfy chairs, have reserved parking, television and radio programs, blogs and podcast and chose to remain silent as evil occurs for fear of loosing membership and the worst, low approval ratings!  They are wondering to themselves how someone can be responsible for their soul and not care for them as a person.  They watch in disgust, and choose to watch from their couches, and shrivel away while they feed themselves, and starve from lack of nourishment.

In this day in age, not to reduce everything to buyers and sellers, but a great product can fail because of bad marketing and false advertisement!  Our Bible describes the product, and gives a ingredients list.  It even describes the mission and values of the church and how it should be run.  Much of the criticism we face is not about doctrine, but its about mission and actions.  If these are not attended too, the natural ebb and flow of the market will continue, and our houses of worship will be just like Blockbuster and Hostess!

 

#PastorJDO3

He Took a Wife and a Life (2 Chron. 11:14-15)

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14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent
it by the hand of Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote,
“Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting,
and then draw back from him, that he may be
struck down, and die.” 2 Chronicles 11:14-15

As I read this passage with fresh eye and an open heart, I considered the many opportunities David had to avoid trouble “A” and digging a deeper hole “B”.  God promises us that He will always leave a way of escape, but like David, the Promise of Pleasure was chose over Righteousness and Relationships.  

The portion that bothered me was found first in verse 6 when David said, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.”  Though I was familiar with the story, I kept hope that this encounter with Uriah would be different.  I thought, surely David will apologize to Uriah!

I wondered to myself, “How much drama and chaos exist in my life and the life of others because we won’t apologize?”  What in your world is not aligned because you are stuck in pride?   How much more damage did you do to yourself and to others because you would not confess your wrong?

The reality is that many of us have taken something
that could have been a moment of pain
and made it the central theme of our life
and the main narrative between
yourself and another
because personal pride won’t let us do what was right.

A sad reality David found is:
Not admitting wrong doesn’t make the wrong right. 

But David is God’s chosen.  He’s a man after Gods own heart!  Surely David will make an attempt to restore to Uriah what he has damaged. Nope!  Davis send for Uriah not to make the relationship or his marital circumstances but to trick him!  His plan to deal with his sin was to cover it!  He simply thought he would sweep it under the rug by getting Uriah to sleep with his wife.  I wondered as I wrote, how many readers have several lumps under their rug?  The problem with sweeping under the rug is that problem is not visible, but it presence is still evident.  sweepunderrug

 

Next, David discovered:
“Your Struggle isn’t the Struggle of the Next.” 

David figured he would fool him by giving him an opportunity; one that David himself would have taken!  He sent Uriah home with a gift from the King following him, but Uriah slept at the Kings doorstep.

David’s plan to cover his sin would have allowed this man to raise David’s son as his own.  He was going to spend his life looking at this boys face, touching this boys hair, looking at the shape of his chin, comparing him to his sisters and brothers and questioning his wife, and David was OK with this!  David was ok with making Bathsheba live with her husband in a lie; all to cover his wrong!  His plan was to make Bathsheba live a life avoiding eye contact, and denying truth, and eventually loosing the complete trust of her husband.  Worse, she would be discovered and potentially stoned by the community, and David was OK with this!

What lie have you created to protect your own truth?  How many of us have allowed an innocent person to bear a cross that belonged to us because we were more concerned with our own interest than how our actions would affect someone else?

But his plan failed!  Though Uriah had the right to sleep with his wife, Uriah denied his flesh, and was consumed with returning the Ark, being a good soldier, and being a good citizen.  As long as others were suffering and fighting, he would not allow himself a moment of peace and pleasure.Crown

 

David found this too to be true; The Crown does not establish you as the King of Character just over the Country!

David found that there were people under Him that had more character and more discipline than him.  There were people He was called to lead that placed God before self, and self before others more than he would.  How tough this was for David to swallow.  How dare this man have ethics and live by a high standard of morals when David himself had taken liberties.  How dare he carry himself like a King and leave David feeling like a Peasant!  It’s always challenging when you discover that you’re the only one that has a mouth full of apple.  This had to fuel David even more, thus sealed the fate of Uriah.

subordinateSadly, David response to Joab reveal his perspective.  Davis didn’t see him as a Servant or as a Citizen, he saw him as only a Subordinate!  Too often those in power suffer from this perspective!  TD Jakes said in a conference once that when he want to judge a mans characters, he watches how he treats those who are thought to be under neath them.  I see this as a heart perspective.  Though we have different positions and titles, we are all God’s children.  The same rights afforded to you have been afforded to all of Gods creation.  In this moment, David valued his public perception more than. He valued his brother!  In a moment where David should have been humbling himself before his brother, he exalted himself by placing his foot on the neck of a loyal servant.

Do you do this?  Seeing others as less than, and treating them accordingly.  David sins, and then sentences an innocent man to death!  Worse, he puts into motion the demise of one who was loyal to both him and the creator!

David would not only take his wife, but would take his life!  

2for1

David get’s a Two for One!   What was one error is now being compounded by his attempt to cover up his sin.  How many times have we made this same error?  What should have been a skit, turns into a pilot episode for a syndicated series.   How much innocent blood has been shed for you to keep your image in tact?

He sent this valiant warrior to fight, and ordered the troops to leave him uncovered so that he would die.  He probably presented his wife and family with a flag and a purple heart, made a commemorative plaque and made that day Uriah the Hittite day, as the band marched past the palace where he sat on the couch in front of the fire with Bathsheba, pulling up his blanket up with a glass of wine and stogie in his mouth.  He covered his sin, and left Uriah uncovered.

Lord be it that I and others will do right after we have done wrong.  Lord forbid that we break the law and write the letter!  Lord keep us first from the wrong, and in moments were we fail, allow us to make our relationship with you and our fellow brother and sister right.

 

#PastorJDO3

Restoration Participants (Galatians 6:1)

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“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin,
you who live by the Spirit should
restore that person gently.
But watch yourselves,
or you also may be tempted.”
Galatians 6:1 

There are many parts of this text that bother me!  There’s that whole “caught in sin” piece and the intro of “brothers and sisters” that seems to work contrary to “those of you who are spiritual.”

This passage is such a reflection of the Body of Christ.  Paul writes to inform us that a midst our brothers and sisters, there are those who are not “living according to the Spirit.”   It would seem that Those who are Spiritual would be included in the “Brother and Sister.”  Maybe there are three groups within our walls:  1.   Those who are Saved and Not Spiritual” 2.  Those who Saved, Spiritual but Lacking Maturity”. 3.  Those who are Saved and Spiritual.”

Having said that; which group are you in? 

And how does your group affect the productivity within the church making disciples?

Groups 1 & 2, in this case, would  the individual in sin and in an an attempt to restore them would respond the opposition Spiritual; carnal or with frustration and impatience.  The carnal nature would bring in the gossip, judgment, and condemnation.  The person who is already ensnared, would now have to fight through the arrows of their fellow brothers and sisters.  The lack of maturity could cause one to mismanage the circumstances or process, causing further delays or possible offenses.

Furthermore, they individual would have to fight through brands and labels placed upon them.   Long after God has forgiven and restored, the one caught in sin would be on trial by a jury of peers whom might be struggling but not caught it in a different trap but not exposed or caught yet. This person would not be effective in the restoration process because they in flesh could further scar and embarrass the one caught.

Paul says, “those who are spiritual,” and then gives an instruction, “restore them gently“.  This is key to restoration!  Too often we are harsh, abbrupt and abrasive when dealing with those who have fallen!  Paul Reminds us to approach our brothers and sisters with love as we guide them back to a path of righteousness.

Gently also means in our approach and persuasiveness.  We must be willing to speak and pray with those ensnared, walking them through and pointing them towards that which is right and then holding them accountable not by force, but though love and support.   Gentle implies that we must restore with care, washing thouroghly with the Word, but not scarring our brother and offending them in the process.  We must be willing to reason with them in some cases, understanding that they might feel justified and also be set and comfortable in their present state.  

imageRestoration is a process!  This is why Paul calls upon those who are spiritual! These individuals will approach with wisdom and insight, being patient with their fallen brother or sister according to God’s plan.  

But I am bothered by this warning from Paul!  He says “Watch yourselves or you also may be tempted.”  This was bothersome because the implication is that the one that is spiritual is subject to fall to temptation.   It would have been more comforting if he said, be careful if this is something you struggled with in your past. Or be careful if this is a current stumbling block to you.  But he said, “you may also be tempted.”  This is too generic! It insinuates that one is subject to be tempted and can fall period!

But the ones restoring are walking by the Spirit right? Then why the warning?  How crafty our adversary is!  Even those who walk by the Spirit can be caught.  Just a slight loss of focus and one can stumble and move from restoring to being restored!  

How humbling this is!  Why should we hold back judgement and condemnation for our brother and sister?  Cause we could be next.

Last, let it be said and duly noted that it doesn’t take a Spiritual Person to catch someone in sin, but it requires a Spiritual Person to resort them.  In this, sometimes a person just has to remove themselves from the equation.  I wrote earlier, sometimes the best advice you can give someone is, “ask someone else.”  There are times and situations that are just beyond you and handling it will make things worse.

Reality; everyone can not play a role in restoration.  As we have experienced in the Kingdom, the harm done by those who are immature who revel in catching and condemning those they find.  We have suffered the scars of this who have been exposed for entertainment and cast out from the community to the delight of those operating with carnal minds.  We must in the future find some way to cancel out the harm done by those who refuse to grow and or walk by the Spirit within our walls, or we will find more that choose to stay at home and loose the benefit of being in the Body of Christ.
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The Believers Bite Galatians 5:15

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15 But if you bite and devour one another,
watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit,
and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Galatians 5:15-16

Tonight we enjoyed a fruitful discussion in God’s Word.  Drawing our thoughts for the lesson from the 5th Chapter of Galatians, we allowed the 15th and 16th verse to run the first leg of tonight’s’ teaching.  In our discussion about becoming better evangelist and witnesses for Christ, we find ourselves working on self that we might be more effective in efforts for Christ.

But first a pit-stop.  Paul addresses in this chapter an important part of Kingdom, its citizens.  He writes to handle issues that have arisen in the church, and with a stroke of the pen, corrects bad teaching and bad behavior. full burger

For today’s discussion, I presented to the group the illustration of a freshly prepared hamburger.  It exist whole, without a bite.  The burger, fully in tact consist of many layer, and holds in it a varying level of content.  In this, it is placed into our hands to handle as we choose.  Now of course, our flesh and stomach need and are designed to consume, but today we took our discussion to the Spiritual.

The first question asked was:  “How is a burger consumed?”

The answer of course is “One bite at a time!”  These bites can vary in size, ranging from small to large, they can come from any angle, can be taken in a short amount of time, or a long amount of time, but with each bite, that which was whole begin to disappear.  Paul wrote a warning to the Body of Christ, “if you bite” he warns, soon you will “consume…one another.”

The next question asked was: “Who have you taken a bite of?”

This is an important question.  As we hit the neighborhoods to bare witness bout Christ, we have found that many people have met Christ, but remain at home because they are suffering from the wounds of a bite!  They accepted the Gospel, but couldn’t get past the offenses committed by His church!  I know, they are immature! That’s what you are thinking!  They have a fake faith built on man, and your faith is built on God.  They don’t have enough Word in them?  Right?  Get over yourself I say!  Mature or Immature, healing from wounds takes time, and some bites are just fatal!  Infection set in, and death follows.  And yes, you would probably say that its their fault, right?  It’s their fault they are offended, right?  They should simply forgive and move on, right?

Paul warns us, bites take away from us and lead to consumption.  Someone are simply being eaten alive by those who are in the fold and not walking according to the flesh.  People have perished in our ministries, and some who survived, are holding on to life by a thread.  This brought out a sad reality; many of the people entering our churches are half eaten. halfeatenburger

That’s right.  Those entering your church from previous church homes are sometimes lead to new fields, and other times are escaping hurt and looking for healing and peace.

Why is it you ask that a person can leave after one offense?  Ahh, you said they were immature, but the reality is that many of them were suffering from prior bites, and are just trying to keep from being completely consumed.  And then we foolishly judge them for protecting themselves, and label them to protect our own ignorance.  Our bites are often made worse by those who are not remorseful.  Yep, its that important that we treat each other right, because each person is in a different state, and have different experiences, and your encounter with them can be the difference between them growing in Christ, and dwelling at home alone.

In this day of social media and technology, our encounters with people are weighed even heavier in that many people have grown accustomed to experiencing the world via a video and even a blog.  The human factor is being removed and replaced by imogies and virtual reality, thus limiting the room for error in our encounters with one another.

Paul says while some suffer from “bites” others are “devoured”.

Have you devoured anyone? 

emptyplateThis word frightened me!  The thought that there could be one within our ranks who doesn’t fall from time to time and bite someone, but that in one or two encounters, shows a complete lack of restraint and concern for another and eats them alive in one or two sittings!  How is it that we can destroy those God has sent, stitching the bond of peace afforded to all of us through the blood of Christ and the unity of the Spirit!  Our lack of restraint towards one another can cause those in our midst not to question God’s existence, but if God exist in the place they have become a part of.  Let it not be said of you that you chased away someone that the Spirit draw-ed neigh because of your unwillingness to pursue righteousness and kill the flesh.

How many people have you devoured?  Who’s at home licking their wounds?  Who’s exploring different horizons?  Who’s falling away from the faith because of you?  Sadly, only God knows.  The reality is that most multiple offenders are just being themselves and don’t realize or acknowledge that they are “biters” dare say I “consumers.”  Shame to say, this “consumer” mentality exists in the house, as we jockey for position and protect our territory, and fight for a light that is the glory of humans, which is the glory that fades.  We shine our light not to lead, but to blind people with judgement, and are eager to condemn others, while pardoning our wickedness and justifying our actions.

Paul says, don’t “gratify your flesh”!  Yep, there is nothing good within us, and every once in a while, the desire to bite happens.  The old man fights his way back in the picture and begins warring for control of your limbs.  He plants thoughts in your mind as to how you should respond, and how you should act, what you should say, and how it should be said, but Paul says resist!  “Walk by the Spirit” he says.  Control that which remains dormant in you by continually submitting to the God that is in you!   Just because you have the thought, doesn’t mean you have to follow its suggestion.  It’s just that, a suggestion.  Unwise counsel given from an unwise source, whom desires to wound as many as he can from fire within the camp.  The devil hinders the growth of the Kingdom through those of us who continue fulfilling the desires of the flesh, allowing the old man to once again lift his hands in victory.   Yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit and allow His guidance to keep you from biting and devouring your fellow brother and sister.  Kingdom depends on it!

 

#PastorJDO3

 

A Kings Witness: Deuteronomy 17:18-19

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19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees
20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:18-19)

Wednesday, we talked about how to perfect our witness.  One of the text we explored was Deuteronomy 17:19, which lead us to an important point found inverse 20.  In the passage, God is instructing His people on the type of king they should select to lead them.
Verse 19 says he should be one that “…reads it…”.  It states that he should carry the word on him at all times that it might be his source of knowledge and wisdom.   He must be one that soaks in the Word, not just rinses off.  He must emerge himself in God’s Word to such an extent that it both covers and fills him and keeps him as he rules.

Then he must “…follow carefully…”  His reading about God will help him respect and fear the Lord, leading him to be obedient to God’s law and decrees.  He must learn the word and respect God to such an extent that His life aligns with God’s will for His life.  He is to mirror God’s character, seeking to meet his approval in all he does.
And these two lead us to verse 20, which will sum up our thoughts on witnessing.worship-fast

Though this king would be chosen to lead and head the Israelite people, God wanted to insure one remaining thing, that being that he would “…not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites….”  Even amidst all the power he would have, God wanted to make sure he feared the Lord to such an extend that he would not loose sight of who the real King was and where the source of his power lay.

As a king, God wanted him to remember that his title was a position that came with authority, but not absolute power.  He was to serve not as one that was greater than, just as one that has more responsibilities than.  His job was not that people would follow or worship him, but that he would lead them in the ways of God, keeping them focused on his laws and precepts just as he would be.  The Word was also to keep him humble, reminding him that he was a citizen of God’s kingdom, despite his position as king.  He was to keep the perspective that he was a part of the kingdom no apart from the kingdom.

Thus I asked,
“What would your witness and worship be like if you had the same perspective?”

Most of what is translated in our witness
isn’t the boldness of our faith in Christ, when you talk to others.
It’s a condescending type of arrogance that is
overcast with sprinkles and showers of judgement
that would be described by many that have encountered us.

After reading this text, I thought, maybe we need more time in the word?  Maybe we need to be humbled just a tad bit or seasoned by a constant reminder that we have yet arrived and the leather exterior we display is not a result of our own righteousness, but the righteousness of God given to us by the death of our savior and by living out the Word He has provided for us.  The wisdom we display is not because we are just that intelligent, it’s because we are that discipline in our studies, which changes the way we speak, and helps us control our actions and has changed our ways.  The change in our lives is not because we came to the conclusion ourselves, but that He sought to free us and change us through much patience and long suffering, marinating us in the Word, seasoning us with forgiveness long before we were served as a gourmet meal.

imagesEven as the king bore his title and served as a representative of righteousness, he was to remember that he has been chosen,  not elected, nor was he self appointed, and neither are we.  God’s mercy and grace flowed upon all of our heads, as we were convicted by the Holy Spirit as to our ways, and the standard being held that we could not maintain from a God that is Holy and Pure.  All of us realized judgement was inevitable, and that our case for righteousness would be a few exhibits short lest we had Christ as our sacrifice. 

We all need him interceding on our behalf.  We all need him to stand for us and to claim us before the throne of Grace.  We all need His blood to cover us as we stand before God praying to be called sheep and not goat.    Be it reminded to us as we bare witness to others that they need what we have, and what we have doesn’t make us better, it just makes us believers.  The person we speak to is another of God’s creation who has yet to surrender their lives back to their creator.  He loves them just as much as He loves us, thus He sends us to them to bare witness of the story of His love and His desire to be in relationship with them, just as He did with us!

In a faith where the first shall be last, and the last shall be first, the emphasis is not placed in birth order, just in re-birth.  We see this even in how God was able to use Paul to impact lives and plant many churches.  He was able to mentor many saints and train up many young preachers and pastors, though he himself was not an original apostle or disciple that walked with Jesus.  God used him to make a great impact!  He can use you and he can use the one you are witnessing to!  You could be used to witness to the next Paul, so speak to them in that manner.  The Kingdom needs them, much like it needs you!

Think yourself not better, but as one that is bears the honor of sharing God’s truth with the world.  Like the king, remember that you too are a citizen, still growing, still stumbling, and at times still struggling.  We are all a work that God is working until completion, so lets ditch the completed action, and realize that we are still in process of be being made perfect.

If we do this, I bet our witness would be much more effective!

#PastorJDO3

Life’s Litter Box! Prov. 11:3-6

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Our study this week brings us to the 11th Chapter of Proverbs.  Verses 3 to 6 lead us to a powerful discussion.

3. The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the unfaithful destroys them.
4. Wealth does not profit in the day of wrath,
but the righteousness delivers from mortal danger.
5. The righteousness of the blameless will make
straight their way, but the wicked person
will fall by his own wickedness.  Proverbs 11:3-6

To dive into this portion of the passage, we weighed the benefits of righteous living verses wicked living.  In the discussion, the illustration of the Little Box was introduced.

A “Litter Box” is an invention most associated with cats.  One of our guest shared that the litter box she provides for her can serves as a place where waste is made.  Then further spoke that the box can get to a point of capacity if not cleaned out.  When this occurs, the box can get to a place where the smell of the box makes it unbearable for the cat to perform the duties in which the box was designed to handle.

For discussion, the “Litter Box” was equated to our Living Space or Life Span.  Through our existence, we encounter life’s situations and circumstances.  They can not be avoided, but must be faced and handled.  We must be cognoscente in our encounters that our actions reap a harvest, and leave significant marks on our lives and the lives of those we encounter.  And each encounter has the potential to become a mess.

How is your Box?

The scripture reveals to us a truth about the wages of wickedness.  He will suffer from his/her own mess.  This person will be forced to live in a box filled with the mess that they have created!  How is your Box?  Is your box once that is so congested tkittylitterbox.pnghat each step is a challenge?  Is your life’s challenge to avoid the foolishness of the decisions you have made and the people you have wronged?  As spoke, many of us have lives that just stink!  We have accumulated such mess from mishandled situations and circumstances, that we have become overpowered by the stench of our own existence.

The cat is blessed in that he can mess up the box, and when the smell becomes overpowering, he can find another place to leave the waste.  The shame of this is unlike the cat, we can not avoid our box.  We are forced to live in this box called life.  We do not have the ability to separate our existence.

I asked myself, “What’s in my Box?”  Thus I ask you the same!

“What’s in your Box?”

Are you a desperate cat scratching and clawing to find a place that you have not created a mess in, and now feeling the burden and weight of your actions?  Is the stress in your life a result of your wicked living and loose morals?  If so’ It’s time to clean up your box!  And once clean, we must Keep our Box Clean! 

Keeping your box clean means properly managing relationships from the present point on.  It also means you might be required to seek out strained relationships and to repair and restore them to something that reflects Christ.  This also might require humility and also forgiveness.  Humility could be found in accepting acts of kindness, even for those whom you swore you would never take a sip of water from.  Forgiveness might be your narrative if approached from one who has wronged you.  You might be required to release one from their past actions, and to propel them towards a Clean Box of Freedom.

A Clean Box requires discipline and change.  We must allow the Word of God to change us, and the Holy Spirit to direct us.   Most of us cant live in peace because we refuse to apply God’s Word to our lives, choosing to memorize it, and or find its value in applying its truths towards other, while living a fictional existence of perfection. The Word takes no root in our lives!  Though it is broken down and consumed, it is not digested.  In essence, we are bulimic believers!  We stuff ourselves with The Word, but do not digest and distribute its nutrients to our body. 

Lastly, keeping a Clean Box means being obedient to the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is to be our teacher and our guide, as well as the power we need to control our flesh.   Yielding to the Holy Spirit will allow us to keep our boxes clean because its will is to please God in every way.  The Holy Spirit gives wisdom on when to walk away and how to respond.  It points us towards the mark of Christ, and serves as a counselor while going through, giving you not only God’s perspective, but helping you keep a proper perspective on yourself and other bringing about deeper understanding.

 

#PastorJDO3