Life by the Bee (Drunk in Love)

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Tuesday, we closed out the Life by the Bee series with a casual stroll through her classic, Drunk in Love. Beyonce, newly married, placed her heart and soul into articulating the freshly squeezed passion of wedded bliss. beyonce16

She takes the listener on a journey from a wife, newly introduced to another level of intimacy with her spouse. He memories of their time together, scorch the track, and impress upon the hearer the powerful nature of their loving expression. She recalls in the chorus, that she is “Drunk in Love!” Her words highlight her new life as an addict, in constant wait for the next fix.

Each attendant was asked to think back to their first encounter with Jesus; our Lord. The moment we moved from hearing, to opening our hearts and experiencing the Love of God through Jesus! We rolled the clock back to that moment our heart was broken, and our soul was stirred by the knowledge that God had unconditional love for us accompanied with forgiveness, grace and mercy.

In my heart I store up your words,
so I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

Our focal scripture focused on the need to maintain our covenant with God by keeping His word in our heart. We know we must do this by following the instructions given to us in verses 1-10.

It is written, “…happy are those whose actions are blameless, who obey the law….observe his rules…seek him with all their heart, obey his demands…” (Verses 1-3 of Pslams 119).

Keep Your Covenant!

When was the last time our marital covenant with God was the guiding factor in our life? God’s Word is a guide given us to navigate life on earth and also to please our creator. God promises us that we will be happier for following His mandate, if we make Him the sole desire of our heart, and not succumb to the desires of our flesh.

We must Consume and be Consumed!

breathalizerWe must “store up” His Word in our heart! Yes, we must consume Him. He must be “stored up;” running through out veins. To be drunk, we discussed, points directly to not just consumption, but a high level of consumption. Someone that is drunk has had more than their fill. They are well beyond a buzz! They began to see life through the influence of what is coursing through their veins, touching every organ, and affecting each thing that they come into contact with. Every step changes! Even the speech is different!

Too Many of us are Social Drinkers!!!

Our problem; with Christ, we are mainly Social Drinkers! We are casual with Christ. We consume him in controlled settings and only when others are drinking. It’s not because it is our desire, its because we desire to fit in with everyone else. This is a true problem. You can not store what you do not consume. You can not draw strength from what you don’t have.

We found it key that the actions of one who has consumed alcohol or other substances is defined as being “Under the Influence!”

Are you “Under the Influence?”

Are you Drunk in Love? When we looked at the song, we saw the actions of Beyonce as one who was truly “Under the Influence!” Her day and actions were controlled by the encounter and her feelings and emotions were guided by the relationship that continued to delved into new levels drawing them closer to one another! So too must we be with God. His influence in our life must lead us to sing sweet melodies. The testimony of who He is in our lives must be ready and present on our lips.

Verse 4 stated, “You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.” We must live our life knowing that God has not given us His law as a suggestion for living. He has given it as a mandate that dictates how we should behave. Once we are in covenant with God, His expectation is for us to submit to the will of the one that covers us. He design is for us to be disciples. One that not only accept His sacrifice, but that will make the sacrifices needed to bring our minds and bodies under subjection that we might have life to the full an find ourselves pleasing to Him!

#Pastor JDO3

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Life by The Bee (Flawless)

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Tuesday, we continued the Life by The Bee Series. Last week, we looked at her song “Hold Up” which challenged each member in our Discipleship Group to reconsider the depth of Love God has for us. This week we looked further into the Lemonade Album of 2016 with “Flawless!”

beyonce16Flawless was a powerful song that captured a bold confidence from Beyonce. Her declaration in the chorus of “flawless” presented a bliss and level of satisfaction and peace far above the standard that many before her had been able to articulate or capture.

She listed her many acquisitions that support her claim, leading us to ask the question?

Are we flawless too?
What makes us flawless?
Is it tangible things?
Are our possessions our confidence?

Is flawless simply being satisfied, proud or having the best of something? It is taking care of the things you possess? Is it carefully selecting and purchasing or being gifted things that are beyond the financial reach of others?

We looked at Philippians 1:6 for our lesson:

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hatch begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ. Philippians 1:6

While Beyonce focused on outward beauty, God desires to develop an inner beauty. As discussed, one of the dangers of the song is that it encourages us to place much attention on things, displaying wealth, or meeting and or surpassing the worlds standard of beauty. We have long defined beauty by accessories and feature, as opposed to character and behavior. Jesus became our mark, and His Word stood as our instruction manual. Helping us to live life to the full on this earth, accomplishing things through Him whom is our strength.

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One thing is for sure:

 

Growth Takes Time

 

Paul said as he looked upon his brothers and sisters. even after hearing about struggles and failures. Even having experienced them himself, he reaffirmed that he was confident in the ability of Christ to change them as he too had been changed. He realized that growth took time! Paul said, “…he (God) which hath begun…” The patience that God has shown with him, had taught him by modeling that we are all unfinished and imperfect. Upon saving us, God begins the work of cleaning us, determined to present us before God without spot or wrinkle.

Don’t Get Discouraged!

Facing failure and stumbling is not only humbling, but it can be debilitating! One can question their progress or even the start from a failure of a struggle, but Paul wrote as a big brother and boldly stated he is “confident!” Confident not in yourself, but confident in Him! He begun the work. It’s His job to complete, but our job to comply!

As exciting as it is to know that God will complete the work He begun, it was even more exciting to know, “….will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ!” Yes, Beyonce has one thing right! One day, we will all be able to say, “I woke up like this!”
innerbeauty

You will Be Flawless!

Though we are the process of being made perfect, we live with the knowledge that perfection will only be achieved on the day of Christ. When He returns for us, we will be removed from these jars of clay and live in our new bodies with will be Flawless! We will live eternity with him, singing His praise, and standing beside Him in victory. Though perfection is close to some and far away for others, we must all be on the same plan of growth, becoming better disciples or soldiers in the army. We must continue to submit our will to Him, that we might be able to meet His approval and bring about His Kingdom on earth.

#PastorJDO3

You Ain’t Sorry! (Life by the Bee)

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Tuesday, we enjoyed the First Lesson of the Life by The Bee Series (Series Title from my son Josh) that takes themes from popular artist Beyonce.  We looked first at her song “Sorry” , featured on the Lemonade beyonce16Album of 2016.

The songs lyric capture the pain and frustration of a person that has been faithful to a relationship in which faithfulness has not been reciprocated.  She speaks of the pain felt as one comes to the conclusion that the inevitable has materialized.  In this, she acts out of character by seeking to inflict pain on her soon to be ex.

When listening to the song on the radio, I too was caught by the lyrics and the story of her song.  I thought of our relationship with God, and how we as constant breakers of our covenant with God.  I thought of His forgiving nature, and how long suffering He is, and then considered that He is Just and capable of wrath and destruction as well. 

Paul said,

“What shall we say then?  Are we to remain in sin
so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! 
How can we who died to sin still live in it?” 
Romans 6:1-2

In this I saw us in a lifestyle of sin, depending on the grace of our Lord and the commitment of God to maintain His covenant with us while we sow the proverbial “wild oats.”   He deals with our odd hours, knowing “we should’ve been home” and even listens to our “excuses”.  But unlike Beyonce, who is praying to God that “he reveal what the truth is”, we found ourselves cracking the spine once more and looking at Jeremiah 17:10 which reads,

“I, the Lord, probe into people’s minds. 
I examine people’s hearts. 
And I deal with each person according
to how he has behaved. 
I give them what they deserved
based on what they have done.” 
Jeremiah 17:10

Which was both refreshing and enlightening.  The chorus of the song, which is flat unforgettable, I feel mirrored our prayer life.  While filled with many words, I thought they could be often summed up by saying, “Sorry, I ain’t sorry.  Sorry, I ain’t sorry, I ain’t sorry.”  Though our language and posture are both apologetic, our constant repeating of the same action displays a lack of conviction about the past act and future acts.  Paul said, it is foolishness that one that is saved could continue in a lifestyle of sin.  It’s as though we are in a cycle:

 Sin more; So we Pray more,
So He can Forgive Us,
So We can Sin more
and on and on.

But Jeremiah enlightens us!  When you get down on your knees, clasp your hands together,  bow your head, and open your mouth (be it verbally spoken or silently communicated), Jeremiah informs us that we are experiencing a “Spiritual Polygraph poly-testTest.”  All the while we are talking, we must remember that God “sits high and looks low and neither sleeps nor does He slumber.   God doesn’t just hear our words, but He knows our hearts!

Jeremiah says God “probes into peoples minds” and “examine peoples hearts.”  He is well aware not just of what you did, but why you did it and whether you are sincere in your prayer, or just trying to keep from getting a spanking!  Yes, we often pray not out of remorse or conviction, but out of fear that the God who can take a life, and or administer punishment and judgement will carry out said actions upon us because of our wickedness.  We figure our prayers, which once forgiveness is received is like erasing the taped evidence, and destroying the evidence collected at the scene, as He cast our transgressions into the sea of forgetfulness.  And while He does, Jeremiah reminds us, that God can not be fooled, nor will He be mocked! 

While we can convince each other that we are “sorry” with our stellar Oscar winning performances, we must be aware that God is able to detect our lack of sincerity and conviction even before we stand from our knees to return to commit the same act again before rushing to beg for forgiveness.    Not that God would ever say these words, but if He were more like us, I fear many prayers would end with the response, “Apology not accepted”  or maybe, “You are Not Forgiven” or worse, “Prove it!”

It’s not just that God knows our hearts and probes our minds, he continues to say, “I deal with each person according to how he has behaved.”  Yes, we will be dealt with!!!!!!  When I was younger, the word was, “I’m going to come see about you!”  And no, God is no bully or thug, but He is capable of doing far worse than any man could ever do.  He is God!  And He loves purity and holiness.  He demands it of us and holds us accountable for it!  It is a requirement, not a suggestion and part of our commitment to Him to live in covenant with Him!

We ended praising God!  Despite knowing that we will be punished, God comforts us through Jeremiah saying “…what that deserve based on what they have done.”   Thank God that the punishment always fits the crime!  Even when we are punished, it is according with what is justified.  God is not cruel, nor is He inconsiderate of us.  He punishes us with the hope of correcting and restoring us, not to destroy us!  In this, we can continue in faith, knowing that our God is just in all His ways!  Now we just have to be!

And no, we should not sin so that grace can abound, and in this, we must remember that God is not fooled.  He knows when we are sorry!

Not a Fan…Chapter 6

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Not a Fan.
Chapter 6
Self-Empowered or Spirit–Filled? John 16:7-8

Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that
I go away, because if I don’t go away, the Counselor will not
come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes,
He will convict the world about sin, righteousness and judgement.
John 16:7-8

Fans trying to follow without being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit become overwhelmed by life’s circumstances. They seem to be following Christ, but then something in life goes wrong and they don’t have the power to overcome it. Instead of following Christ and sticking close to him in the storm they become discouraged and keep their distance. Pg. 89

idleman

Power to Live or Power to Do Miracles
We need its power to do miracles because we don’t use its power to live.

Jesus says, “It’s better for you if I go”—because while God with you is good, God in you is better.” Jesus could be with his followers; but the Holy Spirit would live in his followers.” Pg. 90

For many of us, the Holy Spirit is all Comfort, No Counsel and No Conviction!

Fans Watch You Tube, Followers make Sacrifices! (Texas Bama)
Many will watch highlights from the Formation Tour on YouTube and other media outlets, but a true follower will purchase a Ticket!

Corporate Worship (Worship on one accord lead and guided by the Holy Spirit)
vs.
Corporate Worship (worship without the cooperation of the Holy Spirit)

Being filled with the power of the Spirit begins with an honest acknowledgement of our own weakness. The truth is that most of us go to great lengths to disguise our weaknesses. Pg. 93

Discipleship: Masters of Illusion
We have become masters of giving the illusion of righteousness.
If Jesus turned over tables and drove out tricksters with a hand fashioned whip, what would He to in today’s church?

The only way to be filled with the Spirit is to empty myself of me. When I empty me of me, it provides space for the Holy Spirit to fill me. Pg. 95

You will be filled, but what you take in, determines what you will be full of!
You are Full of it!

Less of Me, More of You!

No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
I Corinthians 9:27

 

Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me till I want no more;
feed me till I want no more.