Help is on the Way!

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For behold, the Lord is coming forth from His place.
He will come down and tread on the high places of earth.
The mountains will melt under Him,
And the valley will be split,
Like wax before the fire,
Like water poured down a steep place. Micah 1:3-4

“Help is on the way”, Ms. Doubtfire yelled as she rushed through the restaurant to perform the Heimlich on a chocking person.   Though the children of Israel are not dining at the worlds finest establishment, they find themselves stumbling and chocking from what they consumed quickly without consideration.

loudvoiceNot taking the time to chew, they consumed what they encountered, breaking covenant with God, inviting others to the table, to receive praise and adoration as well as sacrifice and worship.  Their practices quickly caught up to them, much like our practices have caught up to us.  No, they aren’t the first to dabble in spiritualism.  They aren’t the first to have other gods, and formed idols to which they pray to and seek, but they were the first to realize they had made a costly mistake.

Micah says, “Look!  The Lord is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads the high places of the earth.  The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like water rushing down a slope.” Micah 1:3-4

As Ms. Doubtfire displays a burst of energy, weaving through tables and patrons, leaping over a half wall and sprints to the back of the man, getting in position, he prepares to dislodge the blockage by applying pressure; I imagined the Lord leaving His place of comfort to deal with His children. He descends from the mountain, as we choke and gag on the foolishness we have consumed.

He’s tried many ways to dislodge the blockage!

discouragedNope; they wouldn’t listen to the Prophets!  He sent word via representatives, left His law by which to abide by, and given oral tradition to teach and correct; but they stopped up their ears, ignoring the words and advice of those in authority, and inadvertently pushed the call button to request the stewardess.  And He is coming.

I read this passage, shaking in my boots. Much like a child in the wrong, sitting on the edge of the bed, waiting for mom or dad to enter the room (I initially typed “my room” 🙂 ) with pain or punishment (possibly both).

Micah says, He’s coming from heaven; and the heat that exudes from His person melts the mountains beneath Him.  It’s as thought God is stepping out of bed, and the mountains are toys on the bedroom floor, He grabs His house coat, puts on His slippers, and begins His decent to confront His children.

All the while, His children continue to play, breaking the law, and ignoring the sound from the mouth of the prophet. They ignore Proclamations, sleeping through the Sabbath, and have their Ear Pods in during the reading of the scripture. The Torah, more a history book, than the Word of God given to His chosen people, they sit arrogantly in exiles, settling for miracles and handouts, rather than living the best life God described for them.

Micah says, the valleys, that are already separated naturally, aren’t big enough for the feet of our God! As He continues His course to discipline His children, Micah says the valleys which have held together now separate, as though the heat from God burns so great, that the rock established mountains melt like wax. The temperature is so great, and that it melts so quickly, that wax takes on the consistency of water and rushes down as though cascading off of ledge like a flowing stream.

160530161716-willis-reed-1970-finals.1280x720This God, Micah says, is on the way, and is going to discipline His children, and yet, foolishness continues.  Sadly, we are like the children of Israel.  We know that God is coming and the sky will be parted much like Willis Reed  entering game 7 and hitting his first two shots.

Yes, He is our God, and He is coming to us, but he is not bearing a crown, He is bring correction! The first appearance, He came not to condemn, but to save, but this second trip, He’s dividing sheep from goats!

Yes, again; help is on the way, but we forget that God chastises whom He loves.  We forget that healing is not only encompassed in Him, but so is judgement and wrath.  While we all jubilantly sing about seeing Him face to face, The Prophet Micah reminds us descriptively of how powerful and all encompassing our God is.

Only few saw Him and lived.  He had to hide His face from most, and just reward them with His presence.  It is this God that will return.  This God that will speak.  This God that will Judge.  This God that will Congratulate.  And This God that will Condemn.

Why do we carry on as though we have nothing to fear?  We cut off salvation like a box top, We confess Him as Lord, as though we are participating in insider trading.  And while measuring our relationship with Him, it will be revealed that most of our interaction with Him was a ponzi scheme.   We enter relationship with Him not to grow with Him, or to Build His Kingdom, but that we can access His resources and build a Kingdom of our own.   doubtfireheimlic

Foolishly many of us think we are winning because we have amassed some earthly trinkets,  but will realize in the end, that it rains on the just and the unjust, and the blessing you received weren’t favor, but His mercy and grace poured out on an His creation.

Help is on the way!  I saw our Lord, like Ms. Doubtfire running through the obstacles, and dislodging the blockage that is within us, because in the end, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, that He is Lord! 

#PastorJDO3

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Hardship/t

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Wrote this thinking about a son in ministry going through medical challenges:

I talked to God about you this morning.

I started to ask Him why His children experience hardship, but in frustration, I dropped the “p” and a used a “t”.

I’m not sure He was pleased, but I’m sure He understood.

Why we are allowed to encounter challenges?
And yes the scripture comes to mind.
Yeah,
I believe it,
But some of us love you and live for you,
Read of you
And
Depend on you,
Desire to be like you,
And point others to you!

Are we that hard headed, that we have to experience pain?

Are we that stubborn that we must face struggles?

Are we that unfaithful that we must feel hopeless?

It’s still quiet!

I guess I’m talking to myself?

Even amidst my thoughts,
I know He’s there and listening,
Compassionate and not just Concerned.

He is God!

And while we understand in part,
He understand in total.

I prayed that God would speak to you in a flow
Like you displayed (he was an excellent freestyle rapper).

I saw Him taking memories and holding them up one by one,
Just like you used to freestyle,
Displaying random things,
And sticking together verse after verse,

Masterfully,

Creating a hook by accident,
Making verses out of nothing,
Adjusting His cadence to life’s beat,
While we sit eyes and ears open
Waiting for what’s next,
Knowing that the verse that had been spoken,
He’s not spitting off the dome,
But recounting pages of lines in one breath.

I breath in
And asked Him to not only fill your lungs,
But to fill you with the hope
And the faith that allowed you to pursue your passion to inspire others!

Love you!

#PastorJDO3

Love is not Rude

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Love; “It is not rude,” 1 Corinthians 13:5 says.

What an important revelation this is.  It would seem a little unnecessary to state on paper, but upon watching and listening to the state of married couples everywhere, it has been determined that instruction is very needed.

Marriage includes many ups and downs, and amidst these highs and lows, couples are still interacting with each other.  During these times, men and women will continue to communicate, and must be careful to watch and measure each word, especially during the lows.

Rude is a default setting for many.  When covenant has been broken or strained,  it can be challenging to restrain the old man, and respond with the new man.  Our relationship is defined by love, which is compassionate, and considerate, selfless, and refreshing, not rude and or destructive.  

Why then is rude an options?  Because covenant requires trust, and trust requires one to have a level vulnerability with the covenant member.  It is this vulnerability that makes the pain felt and the frustration experienced more intense, and stirs passion and damages and destroys hope, which extinguishes faith.

This abrupt shift can cause one to swing from the left to the right; leaving one pendulous between love and its opposite pole hate.  Swinging between these emotions can cause one to guard their tongues in the morning and loose it at night.  God warns us about the power of the tongue, and instructs us about the purpose of our words.  A broken heart, left without a filter, can relive and release emotions from the past enough to cause one to bypass forgiveness and place all their chips on vengeance.

Worse, many continue forward in covenant, with the wrong guard over their heart.  As opposed to guarding ones heart against offense, one can because to guard against hurt and pain.  One hurt in the past can place barriers in place to keep them from being vulnerable again.  This prevents not only forgiveness and healing, but wont allow for love to exist and to thrive.  One can not rest and find peace in trust, if their heart is protected by being removed from the equation.

We must understand that a heart removed for the equation is broken covenant.  In addition, a tongue and actions seasoned with the spice of rude, will lead to further offenses.  One can not maintain covenant and can not heal hurts where there is either an abundance, or regular actions.

 

#PastorJDO3  #DrQDO  #TQAYMYM

Disqualified Before the Start

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“You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.  You foolish people!  Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?” Luke 11:39-40

This encounter between the Pharisees and Jesus is powerful.  He finds himself reclining at the table of a Pharisees.   Via personal invitation, Jesus prepares to eat dinner with a local, no doubt to teach further about what was presented.  Though there to eat, the teaching began long before the meal was served.

The Pharisee, like many, watched Jesus closely.  He was measuring each action and word by the strict laws of the land, hoping to disqualify Jesus, and to dismiss His actions and purpose as not divine, and demonic in nature.  discouraged

Not that I am Jesus, cause I am not, but I have found myself in this position many times.  As a Youth Pastor, the teens were always measuring each action, word and deed, hoping to disqualify the message taught even before it went forth.

Is this you?  Are you the Pharisee? 
I wonder how many people are like this?
How many worshipers are like this?
How many people are watching to disqualify?

This watching is both good and bad.

It’s good in the sense that our actions and deeds should match the message that we preach.  We should all know this and be keenly aware of this while interacting with people.  This is a healthy action for most, that helps them to discern who they should trust and whom they can follow.

On the other hand, its bad.  It’s bad when the person is looking and analyzing the smallest of details to disqualify a person.  It’s bad when one uses one small action to over ride all the good and positive qualities and teachings of an individual.  It’s not that we should make room and accept the sin in ones life, rather that it is foolish to dismiss all truth because of one mistake.

This present age has taken on the character of the prince of the air, in that it has been raised to be an accuser generation.  As a Youth Pastor, I knew all of the teachings and moments spent with the teens could be tainted by one event (be it truth or a lie).  This means we must do our best to live out before man the truths of God, and also must be diligent in protecting our reputation in the community.  Though we can’t spend our days in defense, we must defend greatest by our commitment to righteousness.  It’s this commitment what will testify for us, causing others to fight for us, and our reputation and lifestyle to testify against any attack.

shockedThough the Pharisee had heard great things about Jesus, their concern was not to learn and confirm, but to disarm and disable the ministry that would pull people away from their structure that was making money and yielding them power.  Jesus, after teaching and healing, reclines at the table and finds himself disqualified for not washing his hands before he ate.  Because of this, it was thought that He was unsanitary and thus unclean.  Thus Jesus, knowing what disturbed them replied,

“You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish,
but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.”

The Pharisee was measuring the righteousness of God in the way the measured their righteousness, and the righteousness of others.  They were not concerned about their soul, but were concerned about their public persona.  They left their homes each morning, and were meticulous about their outward presentation before other people.  This was done not to please the Father, but more to give them a platform to judge and condemn others.  They used this bit of obedience to elevate themselves above others, and not to elevate them in the sight of God.

People respected their commitment to God, and were impressed by their diligence to learn the law and master all of its tenets, but God was able to see the insides of the Pharisees.  He could see their heart, and thought the outside was impressive, He saw their thoughts, and knew their motives.   He knew they were not out to please the Father, but they were positioning themselves and leveraging their position to gain favor and wealth with Rome.

You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?

Jesus continues, by pointing to the Father.  He says, the one that made the outside, made the inside also.  In other words, these things stem from the same source.  God is the maker and creator of all things.  It is not the washing of your hands or the blessing over your meal that sanctifies, but it is your acknowledgement of God as the provider and protector that is required and measured by God.confused person

Honestly, I have had food poison before, and been sick; and yes, I prayed over that meal, and thanked God for providing it.  I have had my blood pressure spike after eating things that are high in sodium, and yep, I asked God to bless the meal, and asked it to nourish my body.  Likewise, I have eaten without blessing my food, caught up in conversation, or just plain hungry, and have not bee poisoned by the food and gained strength and energy from consuming it.  I have also eaten meals without washing my hands, and eaten some after a good scrubbing and even using alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer, and found that they were not enough to protect me from unsanitary cooks, kitchens, in-properly stored food and the like.

I’m sure you too have found the same.  Jesus does not speak against us washing our hands, but lets us know that other factors are at work, and certain truths must be acknowledged.    God is the creator of all things.  It is how we handle things, and how we live that make them impure.

So how are you living?  Are you washing the outside and leaving the inside dirty.  The same piece of chicken properly prepared, must be properly stored or it will prove possibly fatal for the one that dines next.  In this, we must be aware that more than a blessing or hand-washing is needed to be considered clean before the Lord.

 

#PastorJDO3

 

Love is not Proud!

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This is from a blog I write with my wife.

“…It is not proud…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Man, this was a tough one to read. Much like love being not a “boastful”, God reminds us through Paul that Love is not proud. Proud is defined as “feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.”

While I looked at boastful as outward displays and actions, I thought we would look at proud as more internal. It is similar to boastful in that it often is directed towards an audience, and is reflective of what one has in their hearts. But it also be the cause or the effect. It is a cause in that self pride can cause one to boast, and the effect because boasting can create pride.

Pride can also be dangerous, in that it can halt growth. Pride can cause one to be neglectful. Pride can cause one to be comfortable. When we admire our relationships to the point of pride, we can find ourselves believing that it if flame retardant or at least stain resistant.friendring

In pride, our marriages can also lead to idolatry! Yes, your marriage can be an idol. You can worship, cherish, and value your relationship with your spouse to such a way, that it stands before your relationship with God. We can experience distance from God, and find ourselves consumed and challenged in intimacy with God.

In 21 years of marriage, 25 years of friendship, we have found that the strength of our bond, and the pleasure and satisfaction found within it requires full time attention. And shamefully, we can also attest that there are periods where it has received part time attention and at other times is neglected all together.  We have also had to fight to maintain a balance between honoring our covenant, and worshiping our love for each other. We fight to maintain this balance, because its our love and commitment to God that allows us to experience 25 years of friendship and 21 years of marriage. Without God first, the stage for a broken relationship would be set.

But God, in His power, through His Word, and by
His Grace has sustained and directed us such that
we have been able to maintain purpose and perspective,
understanding that its not our love for one another
that seals our bond, but the love received from
Christ that allows us to look past faults,
and appreciate the full measure of who we both are.

It is His sacrifice and example that we seek to mirror, and in our flesh, our individual foolish actions that should destroy what God has joined together, yet we remain. We remain because God’s sacrifice is the model by which we are guided, and His interaction and treatment of us as His individual children that allow us to find comfort in that which is an earthly representation of His spiritual provision.

Knowing this makes us much like Paul; boasting in our weakness, and knowing that we about in grace. Because of this, we have very little room to boast. We cannot boast because with God most of marriages would have end years ago. It is through our faith that we have learned forgiveness and grace and practice it in our marriages.

#TQAYMYM  #PastorJDO3  #DrQDO

Church..No Hazing Policy

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For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” I Corinthians 12:13

Over two decades ago, I was tormented by the words to a chant. If I close my eyes, I can still hear it…

“I’ve got a feeling, that somebodies trying to sneak in my frat…….”

I cringed each time I heard it, first because it wasn’t true and second because it came from the vocal chords of those who had achieved entry and couldn’t keep the organization on the yard because of foolishness. They got in, and then made it increasingly difficult for others to follow, some of which would have been great lights for the group. Sadly, some took pride in this foolishness and felt making the organization more challenging to enter made it more exclusive and somehow made them look more accomplished.worship-fast

It is interesting that some organizations allow people to rule today and destroy tomorrow. Ok, why this intro? Why this text? include those with this perspective.

As I spend time in the confines of the church walls, there are times when I hear similar chants. They come from the same type of people, and cause the same amount of damage. Practices of “blackballing” and “hazing” from the pulpit and from the pew work against the Gospel Message, often excluding and causing many to drop out of the process leaving with #churchhurt , accepting the head and rejecting the body. This often leads to new movements; feeding sheep directly into the hands of the wolves. It has increased Spiritual Streaming and lead to a Broken Body that’s forced to operate with missing members (gifts, talents, labor, resources).

This is why the intake is so key, and why the process has to be uniform. And from time to time, members must hear the Gospel to be reminded that we are all beneficiaries of the same corporate buyout and experiencing the same painful merger!

Paul, Christian Royalty, states “For we…” Let’s take a second to acknowledge the Paul includes himself in this “we”. Though he was a “Jew” and a “Pharisee” he relabeled himself “slave”, “bond servant”, “chief sinner” and “we” keeping his perspective on who he was, who he is, the purpose of the Gospel and the work of those who follow Christ. Though a focal point of many, Paul chose not to elevate himself, and chose to step down, like Christ from any throne, and dwell among and serve God’s people.

Are you a part of the “we” or do you see it as “I” and “they”?

Most of us are preaching and teaching to the they. This is obvious in some cases because our presentation of the Gospel includes judgement not just love and compassion. The humility Paul had is one we must also carry. Though He has obtained, he was eager to add to the flock daily. And though ministering across the country side, Paul thought of himself as one who was no better than those He was speaking too.  And so must we!

IMG_1065Paul didn’t measure his experience to others. Though he was knocked down, heard God’s voice, blinded, and confirmed by the Apostles, Paul acknowledges that his entrance was the same as others. “We were all baptized by one spirit…”. Regardless of who preached, who taught, and who baptized us, Paul writes, it was “…one spirit…” that was present and received by us all.

Sadly, some have stumbled upon pride, not in themselves, it in their church and even their Pastor.  Though an honor, there is no significance in the one who baptized, rather the significance is in the Spirit that is received.  Paul took the time to squelch foolish arguments, as such, choosing to find common ground in One Lord, One Spirit and One Baptism.

So too should we! Let’s put aside foolish discussions and traps for pride.  Let’s be humble and honest about who we are and what we have been called to do.   Our hope lay in Christ.  Save His sacrifice, we would be uncovered by His blood and exposed as who we truly are, unrighteous.

Because of this, churches should have a no hazing policy.  There is no reason, brother should persecute brother and. sister sister.  Our judge is God, and none of us are deserving, God shed His blood foe us all.

#PastotJDO3

Love is NOT Proud

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This is taken from a blog my wife and I share together.

“…It is not proud…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Man, this was a tough one to read. Much like love being not a “boastful”, God reminds us through Paul that Love is not proud. Proud is defined as “feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.”

While I looked at boastful as outward displays and actions, I thought we would look at proud as more internal. It is similar to boastful in that it often is directed towards an audience, and is reflective of what one has in their hearts. But it also be the cause or the effect. It is a cause in that self pride can cause one to boast, and the effect because boasting can create pride.

Pride can also be dangerous, in that it can halt growth. Pride can cause one to be neglectful. Pride can cause one to be comfortable. When we admire our relationships to the point of pride, we can find ourselves believing that it if flame retardant or at least stain resistant.friendring

In pride, our marriages can also lead to idolatry! Yes, your marriage can be an idol. You can worship, cherish, and value your relationship with your spouse to such a way, that it stands before your relationship with God. We can experience distance from God, and find ourselves consumed and challenged in intimacy with God.

In 21 years of marriage, 25 years of friendship, we have found that the strength of our bond, and the pleasure and satisfaction found within it requires full time attention. And shamefully, we can also attest that there are periods where it has received part time attention and at other times is neglected all together.  We have also had to fight to maintain a balance between honoring our covenant, and worshiping our love for each other. We fight to maintain this balance, because its our love and commitment to God that allows us to experience 25 years of friendship and 21 years of marriage. Without God first, the stage for a broken relationship would be set.

 

But God, in His power, through His Word, and by
His Grace has sustained and directed us such that
we have been able to maintain purpose and perspective,
understanding that its not our love for one another
that seals our bond, but the love received from
Christ that allows us to look past faults,
and appreciate the full measure of who we both are.

 

It is His sacrifice and example that we seek to mirror, and in our flesh, our individual foolish actions that should destroy what God has joined together, yet we remain. We remain because God’s sacrifice is the model by which we are guided, and His interaction and treatment of us as His individual children that allow us to find comfort in that which is an earthly representation of His spiritual provision.

Knowing this makes us much like Paul; boasting in our weakness, and knowing that we about in grace. Because of this, we have very little room to boast. We cannot boast because with God most of marriages would have end years ago. It is through our faith that we have learned forgiveness and grace and practice it in our marriages.

#TQAYMYM #PastorJDO3 #DrQDO