The Impedance to the Gospel

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You must be truthful, honest and upright
when you take an oath saying,
‘As surely as the Lord lives!’ 
If you do, the nations will pray to be
as blessed by him as you are
and will make him the object of their boasting.
Jeremiah 4:2

As I read this text, (yes, I’m still trucking through Jeremiah), I once more saw our communities and a parallel to a current predicament.  God addressing His people confronts them with a truth about the bi-product of their lives in Him and a part from the community of believers.    He beacons to them about their commitment to the Lord, and their dedication to living for Him.  It seems that a bi-product of their disrespect and discipline is that is spilling over as an example and sample to those who are watching.

a-covenant-with-godThe people of Israel have walked away from their God, and chosen to worship the false idols of the communities in which they existed.  Their willingness to walk away from God, as well as the lack of reverence and fear for the Lord, was speaking loudly to the people who had front row seats.  Those who feared and revered the Lord, though not God’s chosen people or ones who worshiped the Lord, had fear and respect for God, and lost it as His people walked away from Him. 

cooperation SSTheir abandoning of God and choice to worship idols, validated the idols to those who worshiped them, leading to an even deeper worship and placed further distance between them and the Lord.  I thought of us!  I considered how our behavior has either given glory to God, or served as hindrance to them worshiping and acknowledging God.

 

Who have you hindered?

What have you validated?

God says,
‘You must get those disgusting idols
out of my sight and must no longer go astray.  
You must be truthful, honest, and upright
when you take an oath saying, 
As surely as the Lord lives!’
Jeremiah 4:2

Barrier

What we have done with our personal lives and lack of discipline and dedication to the Lord, that we are Impedance’s to the Gospel.  Our love affair with the world has further confused those who seek truth and freedom.  

God says, “Get those disgusting idols out of my sight….”  Yes, the God that is everywhere and sees all things says get them “out of my sight”.  The only option is to destroy them.  Putting a blanket over them is not an option.  We must destroy all idols!  They are not God!  They are not deserving of our worship!  They are not worthy of our time!  They can not help us, direct us, deliver us, cleanse us; they are useless!   Much like we are useless when we are a part from the true vine.

God speaks loudly about the character of those who are to represent Him.   God says, be 1. Truthful.  We must be truthful.  On display for people not only the sincerity of the word we speak, but the reliability of the words we speak.  When our mouths are associated with lies, the words the proceed from it are not trust worthy.  The truth of the words we communicate, give power and validity to the testimony we share.

love-wallpaper-21-1080x675We must also be honest.  Honesty is a dying value our capitalistic mindsets.  The mindset that is ingrained in us is to do what ever is necessary to prosper.  Our behavior is justified by the productivity of our hands and plans.  This my friends is wrong.  There is a right and a wrong, and bearing fruit from evil is not a part of God’s plan.  We take God’s word to be shrewd and or skew the concept of the wicked wealth being stored up for us.

Lastly, He says we must be upright.  Upright means that our daily walk should be reflective of the righteousness we have obtained.  Though not perfect, our goal should be the perfection of the image of Christ that was modeled for us.  Our goal should be to align myself with the Word of God that displays the character of our God.  We should be people that have ethics and whom abide by a moral standard in our dealings with others.  And we do all of this because we are under a covenant and have taken an oath.

God says the oath that we take, “As surely as the Lord lives…” before people is only as strong as the decisions you make after these words are spoken.  Yes, we are impedance to the Gospel.  It is our walk that has been the loudest testimony, while our voices have missed the hearing to be character witnesses.  It is impossible for us to claim this intense love for God while we court and date other Gods, and adopt the values and traditions of a powerless god.  We must sure up our relationship with God, living up to the oath/covenant we took, and honor properly the covenant He keeps with us.

ragstorichesKeep the covenant with God will keep us from being in exile.  God shares that His plan was to lavish His people with blessing in the land He delivered them too.  And as He blessed them, the testimony as to His goodness would be upon their lips. His children would be elevated in the midst of surrounding kingdoms, blessed beyond belief, leaving no doubt that this was truly the one true and living God.  Because they worshiped the things and opened up to other gods, God has to punish them, thus resulting in people doubting God and not desiring to be in relationship with Him.  God wanted to restore the people and make them the envy of all.  He said the people would look at them and “pray to be as blessed by Him (God) as you are, and will make Him the object of their boasting.

The World will make their boast in the Lord
when we make our boast in the Lord!

 

 

#PastorJDO3

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Queen Vashti: Your Example Esther 1:12

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But when the attendants delivered the king’s command,
Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became
furious and burned with anger.  Esther 1.12
Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout
all his vast realm, all the women will respect their
husbands, from the least to the greatest.”  Esther 1:20
He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom,
to each province in its own script and
to each people in their own language,
proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household,
using his native tongue. Esther 1:22

 

VashtiThough it would be fun to start a tense dialogue, I dare not ring the bell to start the war of the sexes.  Far be it from me to jump into this text and risk every female reader (including my own wife and 5 daughters protest and attack me for discussing the ins and outs of the text), but I will, but in a different manner; kind of.

When looking at this text, I looked at it from the perspective of both Queen Vashti and King Xerxies.  Settling on Queen Vashti, I wondered most why she refused to come to the King, but as I read, I wondered if she considered the affect her refusal would have?  Sure she thought about how tired she was, and I can def identify with being tired of the “dog and pony show”, but she was more than Vashti, she was Queen Vashti.  Much like you are not just Bill, but you are a Father, Mentor, Coach, Teacher…. and your actions and decisions extend far beyond a moment.

Didn’t she consider that her example was an example?

How you respond is translated by those who follow you,
and transcribed into their lives.

Queen Vashti understood that there were potential consequences to her disobedience to responding to the King in the manner she did, but her consideration included like most of us, herself.  memyselfirene

Who are you thinking about before you act?  And yes, this would be a perfect moment to interject our Lord and Savior, but who are you thinking about?  I believe most, if honest, are thinking about a small sphere called “Me, Myself and I” (Irene if  you are silly).  The moment we are experiencing is so powerful, that the weight of the moment to impact our future and the live of those following us.

If you are like me, you are probably thinking of at least two Queen V moments!  How many moments would you like to take back, not for yourself, but for others?  Moments where you forgot that people were watching you.  Not watching you for the sake of judgement, but watching with the intent to learn from and draw from your example.  There are people within your sphere that take notes on your life, and use your example and model as their blueprint.

Or maybe she was just so “fair to look on”
that she considered herself irreplaceable.

removecrownIt could be possible that she over estimated her beauty and the influence it had over the king.  Maybe she thought the favor she obtained from the king through past encounters would ensure that she would be given a second opportunity, or that her disobedience would be over looked once he looked her over? 

She was wrong! 

And so are we when we loose sight of the privileged we have through the positions we have been placed in.  Sad to say, Queen Vashti received the Queen B treatment, and was told to move to the left.  Worse, she thought herself to be irreplaceable.  Then still found she had to bow down(I’m really not a big fan, but I have 5 daughters!!!). leftbeyon

How many times have you been right, but wrong?  She was wrong about the outcome of her decision.  Her decision forced the King to make a decision regarding the wife he was so proud and pleased of.

Beyond his anger, both he and his counsel understood that the example set by the Queen would have implications far beyond the King’s castle.  They knew word would spread from home to home, starting with the leaders, and work its way down to each citizens home.  Her disobedience had the potential to shift the entire direction of a nation.   And so can yours!

Example-stamp

I look at the state of our homes, our communities, and of course our churches.  I wonder how many Queen Vashti decisions we are struggling to correct?  How many bad examples were passed down from mothers, fathers, councilmen, senators, pastors and parishioners that we have adopted as acceptable behavior?

As we watch the entertainment industry being unclothed and politicians being exposed, I am not only disgusted by the actions of these individuals (not that I am without sin), but am bothered by those who have emerged to testify that they knew what transpired, but kept quiet so that their means of income would not be disturbed.   For every abused woman and abused entertainer, there are multiple witnesses that chose not to speak up for fear not only of being not believed, but being black balled from pursuing their careers.  These actions had transpired so long, that it became and acceptable practice in the industry, and they had a start.  There was an original casting couch, much like there was an original oral office (Bad Clinton Reference).  Somewhere, the abuse and misuse of power became acceptable and idolized and not reprehensible.  It was admired by those who desired those positions, and supported by those who watched quietly to keep food on their tables.

Old books, inkstand and scrollThank God King Xerxies administered a decree!!!!  He administered a decree to address the unacceptable actions of the Queen.  I wonder how our families, communities and churches would be different had those in power bound together to do what the felt best for the kingdom, not just the King or the Queen?  Oh that decrees would have been made before the actions of one or two had become so prevalent that it became an acceptable part of culture.

#PastorJDO3