Ears Open; Eyes Closed!

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I am always amazed at the selective hearing and response of human beings.   Each day people are given stories and encounters, real life situations and circumstances, by which we casually surf, swipe, invest digest or cast aside as unimportant. 

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It is amazing how we can hear of the pain of others, and choose not to feel, disconnecting from their agony with rationalizations and generalizations, and justify our lack of concern with political rhetoric and worse, religions (I can’t use the word I would like to use here 😦 ) foolishness.

I am amazed at how our political and economic affiliations and backgrounds serve as a guide to who deserves mercy and grace, whom should be forgiven, who is guilty, who deserved their punishment and suffering, who is worth bailing out, who is a leach, who is profitable, who is necessary, and who lack value and the ability to contribute to society.  Our affiliations also dictate to us who is a victim?  And how we should hear a victim?sexydressedwoman

 

An argument on Facebook emerged once as to:
“Whether women that wore “sexy” outfits
made themselves targets for Offenders
and thus deserved what happened to them.” 

Tempers were high!   Ultimately, it was decided socially that the dress of the woman did not deem certain treatment or response, because it was her right to dress how she decided.  It was determined that a woman offended even while dressed like this, even if flirting with the offender was a victim if she said “no” even if undressed down to her undergarments by her own choice.  We all agreed!  This woman is a victim.

This same general group of people argued about:
“Whether a black male dressed in a hoody
walking through a neighborhood deserved
to be shot even if un-armed.”

blackhoodyPeople were obsessed with the fact that it was late at night.  This, even though it was agreed that a woman didn’t deserve said treatment under any circumstances.  They determined that his clothing intimidated the armed man that was following him, and thus the armed man following the unarmed man had the right to shoot the unarmed man because he had on certain clothing.  In this, they determined that the young man in the hoody was not a victim. 

Thank you God for not taking counsel from man!!!!!  I believe God would consider them both victims and that His compassion for both would be the same.  I’m convinced that Jesus, whom chose not to restore the earthly throne of David, and get caught up in the political foolishness of His days on earth, would again look at us as disciples and opt of of the ignorance that we watch on a daily basis.

He would not be influenced by parties or by His own selfish needs and ambition, but would want what was best for those who were less fortunate than He.  Jesus would be speaking out like John the Baptist, who’s head was on a platter because He chose to stand for righteousness.  He looked, too, in the face of government officials, and sent a message to every follower by loosing his life for what was right. judascoins

Paul put his life on the line for righteousness.  He chose to remain in chains than to compromise truth, using his citizenship to present the Gospel to those who were lost, not to escape punishment to live in comfort.  Paul chose to walk away from his status, leave his career, confess his wrong, and make amends with those whom he persecuted.  He stood toe to toe with Peter, when it came not to his rights which he had as an Apostle, but to those whom were being forced to depend on measures other than grace to be saved.  Though already circumcised, he chose to side with truth, as opposed to demanding that everyone make a sacrifice that would be of no benefit to them because of the new covenant.

We have focused in the past on the saying, “What Would Jesus Do?”
And while this helped some,
it only provide an avenue to be ignorant for others.
Thus, I’m asking you, “What Did Jesus Do?” 

Jesus, like John the Baptist, looked in the face of government officials, who were staining the silk sheets of the temple, exchanging favor and collecting monies.  The government was working hand in hand with the Pharisees to control “their constituents,” and saw chosen church official choosing to speak out against truth because it challenged their authority and pointed out their unrighteousness.

We saw Jesus making His way to the side of families whom He physically, and to those whom He prior had no physical relationship with.   He spoke the same words of life to them all, choosing to break the bread and distribute it to all that had need, not only to the ones whom He knew followed Him with the right motives and intent.  The reality is that he fed those whom he knew listened and followed to eat and receive miracles.  justice1He fed people who would eventually cry out for Barabbas.  He dined at the table as the one who would betray him, walked with those who would scatter in the garden, and shared intimate moment with one who would deny him three times.

To Jesus, a victim was a victim!  Victim is relative to right and wrong, not parties, prosperity and economics.  He looked upon people with eyes of compassion, and invested time with the woman at the well like he invested time with the 12.   He looked upon people and was attentive to their cry.  He kept His Ears Open and His Eyes Open, and we have chosen to keep ours Eyes Shut, and like snakes, are charmed by the melodies of politicians.  But not Jesus!!!  He sat at the table with tax collectors and stood to read the scroll among the brothers in the priesthood.  He took time to spit in the ground and lay hands to bring sight and spent time in worship and being transfigured.  He taught the masses from a boat, and then retreated a quiet place to pray.  He called a dead man from a tomb, restoring to him life, and then allowed himself to be crucified and placed in a tomb.

A man puts a ring on his wife during a mJesus did only what the Father allowed, and chose to line up every action with God, and gave God the glory in all things, not to draw attention and build a following for Himself, but had the goal of pointing back to the Father.  He had a covenant!  He took an oath!  He exchanged vows not with the Government, but with the Creator!  His loyalty was not one of convenience, but one of commitment to communicate to those lost the love of God despite any current and future condition that one would find themselves in.  I believe God grieves for the shooter and well as the one murdered or maimed.  He cried for the children that were aborted and then shed tears for the one who committed murder bombing the clinic.  He is saddened by the man or woman that lives a lifestyle of homosexuality and cringes for the man and woman who sign on to websites and sully their temple and disrupt their relationship with Him! 

In the end, I have concluded like God, that we are all victims and in need of the blood provision of Christ.  We are all prone to sin, and struggle with our flesh, thus are deserving of death and are only righteous because we are justified by faith in Him!

 

#PastorJDO3

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Sleight of Hand (Politics in the Pulpit)

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Lately I have been shaking my head!  As of late groups like the Black Hebrew Israelite’s have used the sad truth that some white slave owners attempted to use the Gospel of Jesus Christ to control their slaves.  Now, what type of evil makes one take a Gospel that should be liberating and uses it to control people, I can not define.  How one justified their selfish desires, and through reading a Gospel of peace, found a way to take a verse or two, while omitting entire paragraphs, I will never understand.  How one can read Genesis and see that God created Mankind, and then make those of different skin hues less than or half of a human being is truly far beyond my imagination.   Their major claim to convert African American’s to their faith is that the white man used the faith to manipulate our ancestors, and thus the whole truth is not truth, rather a lie.

And while there logic is solid, it still does not make complete sense.  The same Bible that evil men thought to use to control people; once read, liberated them.  Those that could read (and by those, I mean a 1 or 2) began to read the Word of God for themselves, and the truth was revealed to them.  They then stood on the Word and were able to obtain God’s will for their life and for those to come.

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We need the same spirit to exist today!  We need to read God’s Word for ourselves.  We are facing the magic of the sleight of hand that prior generations faced.   It’s not that of government printing propaganda, but from pulpits who are attached to political groups.  Our faith interacts like a super pack contributing money to press an agenda, while exchanging votes for favor and prominence.

I watched clips of some of our most famous magicians, I was mesmerized at how they took the items which we had visual contact with, and were able to manipulate them in such a way, that even while paying attention, crowds of 100 were not able to catch the trick.  People watch carefully to catch the trick, but lack the training to have a full understanding of what they are watching.  This is what we face today.  Not enough people are knowledgeable of God’s Word and have a personal relationship with Him to identify when they are being tricked by the sleight of hand.

Much of the sleight of hand is the character or personality with the cards.  The voice and presentation of the magician makes the trick believable, thus making it magic.  People are so trusting of a well tuned vocal chords or a trusting face, that they are easily fooled by that which they know is false.  yoyoThey go home duped, and impressed that someone spent so much time figuring out how to trick them.

Ladies and gentleman, there are magicians among us.   They omit and ignore scriptures, treating God’s word like a yo-yo, walk the dog, making it sleep, and go around the world while we watch in amazement and accept their deception as truth.

This blog is important because the hypocrisy of the people of God is the catalyst for many leaving the faith, or distancing themselves from it and staying away from the house of God.  It is amazing to watch people demand that our current president not be questioned and followed, while they spent the past 8 years challenging authority and encouraging people to rebel.  We can not stand on the scripture only when it benefits our position.  God can not be manipulated.   He knows the heart of us all, and is set against those that do evil.  Being obedient to two scriptures does not make you right with God.  If you break one law, you broke them all and are a law breaker.

It is sad to see people manipulate and massage the scripture to justify their political views and ungodly actions.  It’s sad to see the pursuit of wealth being paralleled with the pursuit of righteousness or a sign that God is pleased with ones actions.   Many people have chosen to do what is expedient as opposed to what it eternal, and this simply is not right.  This, friends, is what led to previous evil and wickedness.  It was further established by a quiet majority who remained silent while the country prospered from trade and goods.  Though not all accepted this truth, someone had to speak up and read for themselves.  Men and women of God who understood truth through God’s Word grew confidence and shared God’s Word and then took action to fight for what was right.

My heart goes out to those sitting in the audience of these magic shows.  I cry for them, as they are caught in a deep fog because they chose not study for themselves.  Much like a bull being led by a nose ring, is one who’s relationship with God and bullringnoseknowledge of God’s will for the world and their life, is found through a person and not by seeking God for oneself.

I had a good laugh today, as so many of my conservative friends struggle to rationalize, how everything was the former president’s fault, and nothing is the current president’s fault.  I laughed to tears as one of my friend called the prior president an embarrassment because he apologized for prior wrongs, and reached across the aisle to live at peace with our neighbors, and then found pride in one who speaks ill of our neighbors and threatens our neighbors.  I crack myself up as evil is now identified as a country arming to defend itself, and as we are led by one who responds to talk-shows and tweets, and we insist that we are the only nation being led by someone responsible enough to manage nuclear power!   I suppose those countries need to get America to Amend its constitution for the right to bare arms?

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Is this the Christian Church?  Or is this the American Church?  Is Christ our head or a president or a pastor?

Why are our pews and seats are empty?  The enemy is no longer identified as the Satan the adversary, but liberals, conservatives or other countries who are not democracies and who do not agree with American values (not christian values).  Our members value free enterprise more than freed souls, and for this, we find ourselves blinded by lights and financial dreams that are painted by 1% who distance themselves from us and with the sleight of hand, created an ever changing road map to join their ranks.  

In our foolishness, we have interpreted Christ as a business man more so than a humanitarian!  This is a sleight of hand!   This is Christianity Today.  We can only pray that with our foolishness, we can say there will be Christianity Tomorrow.
#PastorJDO3

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

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

Open Your Eyes!

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This morning A moment of panic set in, as I searched for a place to eat breakfast.   Why you ask?  There are so many places to eat!  But First Met has entered a fast!  No Bread! No Fried Foods! And no Beverage outside of Water!  Mentally, I was scrolling through menu after menu!  What can I eat?  Where can I go?

Panic set in!  I couldn’t think of a place to eat.  Then I saw a grocer.  Fruit! Quick!  Simple! Delicious! Cost efficient!  I walked in and discovered lot of choices in addition to my desire.  I entered the section and found heaven in a cup.  Parfait. 

It was then I found truth and a key to surviving the fast and to thriving in life.  Often we are so consumed with what we can’t have that we can’t think of what we can have.  

Are you so focused on what you can’t have that you can’t see what you can have? 

Do we fail because our minds become consumed with boundaries and rules?  Do we miss opportunities focused on the things because we are focused on things that are not within our grasps? 

Truth be told, this is why most fasts fail.  Our minds become laser focused on the no,’s and overlook the yeses. For a moment, a problem existed.  Not a real problem, but one created from my inability to see past what was restricted from intake, so much so that I was blind to the many options around me.

Once I took a moment, I was able to see not only a store, but 3 other options.  Not only that, but the real blindness was created by a fear for a lack of discipline.  Every place had something on the menu that I could eat, but I feared that I would not be disciplined or strong enough to be obedient if given the opportunity to break the fast.  The reality, there were many options by which I could dine, but not many in which I might be successful, that is being undisciplined in this area.

I made my purchase and was in my car within almost the same time frame it would have taken to drive through the drive through.  I broke the seal and mixed together the items and dug in.  While eating, I realized that we are so bound by what we don’t or can’t have that we miss out on things that can bring us joy.  

Are you so blinded by what you can’t have that you can’t appreciate what you do have? 

The Parfait was delicious!  I enjoyed the bitter texture of the yogurt, the sweetness of the strawberry and the crunching through the granola.  I enjoyed spoonful after spoonful. I could only thing that I would have missed this bliss consumed with what I had to miss.  When we place our mental energy on what we can’t have, we rob from ourselves the joy of what’s available to us.   

I screamed to myself!  Johnny, Open Your Eyes!  I say to you, Open Your Eyes!  See what God has provided. Open your mind to what’s available. Discipline yourself for the journey! 

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.
#pastorjdo3

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!

 

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