Thursday, August 25, 2016

Obedience Should Be Practiced

Luke 5:4-6, When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. (NKJV)
I realize that the Bible is full of sound principles that should be put into practice in our lives. I will not take the time to share with you any type of list that would attempt to contain the wonderful life changing principles that we need to apply to our lives. But I do want to take a moment and emphasize one of the principles that God reminded me about as I was praying this morning. There is a great need for "obedience" to become a common desire and practice among the believers of this day and time. I believe that disobedience is raising its ugly head in this modern world and we need to make sure that are counteracting that "spirit" with heartfelt and sincere obedience to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!!!
Simon found himself in a quandary that night as he listened to Jesus. He had not been lazy. He had worked all night but his efforts had left him with an empty net. An empty net is not a good sign for a professional fisherman. Believers find themselves feeling that same way from time to time. We are not lazy. We are doing our best to serve in the work of the Kingdom. But our nets (lives) are not filled as we sincerely desire. We feel somewhat empty and we are looking for the solution to our dilemma. But our solution is the same as Simon's "...nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net."
There is no replacement for sincere obedience!! We can fill our nets with the latest worship music. We can fill our nets with the latest Bible Study tools. We can fill our nets with the latest as well as simplest Bible translations. We can fill our nets with participating in the activities of the church body. We can fill our nets with all types of "spiritual activities" and still feel empty.
These emotions can become the turning point in our lives if we choose to surrender to the leadership of Christ. Our emptiness can lead us back to the stream of Living Water that made the initial difference in our lives. It was our OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD that brought us joy, peace, forgiveness, comfort, hope, eternal life, etc. when we began our journey with Christ. We may need to look for those principles that we practiced at one time (prayer, meditation, faithful attendance to church, corporate worship, tithing, giving, sharing, , etc.). These practices will once again align us with Christ who will then continue  the process of the development of our relationship with Him.
Emptiness versus "...nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." Which will you and I choose today?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Prayer Thoughts

Proverbs 29:18, Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.(KJV)

Proverbs 29:18, Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.(NKJV)


Proverbs 29:18, “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.(NLT)

I have chosen to share with you three (3) different translations of Proverbs 29:18. There is a purpose to my redundancy, I felt led to emphasize the seriousness of the times in which we are living. I also felt led to make the connection with our need to pray. I have felt an urgent call from God to pray for the children and youth who are beginning another year of education regardless of their age and regardless the level of their education. We are in a war for the souls of this generation and I believe it is time that we took a serious look at the enemy which we are engaging in this war. 

A few months ago as I was in prayer in the auditorium of our church when the Spirit specifically identified some of the forces of evil and wickedness that we are facing. One of the many strategies of the enemy is to use stubbornness, rebellion, and disobedience as a tool to create an attitude of rejection in the heart of this generation. Let me be the first to say that this tool is used against all Christians regardless of their natural age or their spiritual age. The enemy seeks to harden our hearts so that the Word of God and the Spirit of God faces strong resistance when they are seeking to influence our lives. Can you see that taking place in the lives of people across our nation? But I also believe that God will use and is using Prayer, both personal as well as corporate to "de-fang" the lion that is roaring in this day and time.

I felt the Spirit place four (4) statements or prayers that we need to pray so that we may rebuke this division or separation that satan desires to create between our children and youth and those spiritual leaders in their lives. These words are simply inspirations or suggestions that you can use when you pray. I trust the Spirit to lead and direct your times of Prayer to specifically attack the strategies that satan is using in your home and family.

1) I rebuke and resist the attempts of satan to separate the children and youth of this generation from the influence and guidance of God and His Word on their lives.

2) I rebuke and resist the attempts of satan to separate the children and youth of this generation from the influence and guidance of their godly parents. 

3) I rebuke and resist the attempts of satan to separate the children and youth of this generation from the influence and guidance of their godly grandparents. 

4) I rebuke and resist the attempts of satan to separate the children and youth of this generation from the influence and guidance of their godly spiritual leaders. 

AMEN!!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Reflections from the Weekend

I was blessed to be able to serve in many different opportunities over this past weekend. I was given the privilege to share the Eulogy of a Retired Minister who passed away at the age of 82. I shared some thoughts and insight about his life a few days ago. I was able to offer encouragement to a gentleman in our church whose brother passed following his battle with cancer. I also was privileged to minister in a Sunday morning service at New River Worship Center which was "jam-packed" with the presence of the Holy Spirit from the outset of the time of celebration.

I do not have time to go into detail about the service. It would be very difficult to describe all that took place but I do offer sincere praise and adoration to God for revealing His presence to us. Our initial inspiration was to culminate the service with prayer for the children and students in our church. But God had other plans in mind. We ended up praying with children, students, parents, grandparents and even some of who did not fit in any of the above mentioned categories. We shared numerous Prayer Cloths with the children as well as with many of the adults who were present. The line from a worship song comes to my mind as I am typing these words, "God is on the move in a mighty way..." 

I truly believe that God is at work in the hearts of individual believers. He is waiting on us to be willing to take action. We must to be willing to release our faith and step out in obedience to the promises that God has provided. I want to leave you with a familiar passage of scripture. Let it remind you of the need to TAKE ACTION!!!

Ephesians 6:10-19, “ Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,(NKJV)


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Action

Ecclesiastes 9:10, Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” (NKJV)

The word "action" has been stirring in my heart over the past few days. We spend a lot of time thinking, planning and talking about what we are going to do. Before you jump to conclusions please understand that I believe each of the above mentioned activities have a purpose and they certainly have a benefit in assisting us toward the accomplishment of our goals. These "activities" need to take place both in the natural as well as spiritual landscape of our lives. But we must also realize that there will come a time in which we have to stop talking and decide to take the appropriate ACTION or ACTIONS!!!

Don't you believe that the stories in the Bible offer to us great reminders that people had to be willing to take action at various junctures of their lives? I believe that taking appropriate action when God is leading will produce the results that are needed in our lives. I am not wanting to confuse works and faith in this post. I firmly believe that we are saved by and saved through faith and not works. But I also believe that we are called, taught and encouraged to participate with God in the process of our journey with Him. 

Did not Jesus call for action in Matthew 9:9, As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.(NKJV) and in Matthew 9:9, As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.(NKJV)?

I truly believe that God is calling the present day church to take the appropriate action in response to the move of the Spirit that is taking place around the world. I don't think the question is "Should I take action?" I believe the true question is "WHEN WILL I TAKE ACTION?" 

I would encourage each of us to ask God to examine our lives and identify those areas in which we need to respond to God. Do I need to pray more? Do I need to be more consistent in reading my Bible and studying the Word of God? Have I grown lethargic concerning attending church? How long has it been since I told my companion that he or she is loved and appreciated? You and the Spirit know the other questions that will be appropriate to your life. 

TAKE ACTION TODAY AND RESPOND TO GOD APPROPRIATELY!!! Your obedience will bring blessings to your life as well as the lives of others.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tuesday's Thoughts

Hebrews 11:13-16, "“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.(NKJV)

Yesterday I was given the opportunity to serve a family that was facing a very difficult situation. I have know this family far over 40 years. The gentleman had suffered a major brain aneurysm early on Monday morning. I spent several hours with this family as they made the decision to remove the ventilator and allow God to work His plan for this dear brother in Christ. This man and his wife have served in ministry for all of the years that I have known them. Their service has been one of faithfulness to the call from Christ to give of themselves to others.

Hebrews chapter 11 came to my mind as I was driving home last night after his passing. I believe that He is rejoicing in the presence of God as I sit at my desk and type these words. I read Hebrews 11 this morning to remind myself of the "truth" that is revealed in this portion of the epistle. Numerous times the words "by faith" are used to characterize the life of individuals who are mentioned in this passage. But the writer (I believe the writer is the Apostle Paul) reminds us that there were many other individuals whose names did not appear in this passage yet their service to God and their faith was as real as those individuals who were placed on the list. But there was one common trait among them all, "These all died in faith..." They were "strangers and pilgrims on the earth" but they were desiring "a heavenly country."

I immediately thought of this faithful brother whose body was left in the hospital room awaiting his trip to the funeral home. Yet his soul had made that final trip to that "heavenly county" which he had been looking for throughout his lifetime. He served without much fanfare or notoriety. He was unknown in the eyes of the world yet very much known in the heavenly country. Jesus reminded us that He went away to prepare for us a place where we could be with Him forever. 

I could say much more but I want to leave you with this thought. You may be serving God without much fanfare or notoriety, You may be unknown to the world but very well known in Heaven as a person with a heart of servanthood. You may be serving a small church congregation.You may teach a Sunday School class, or a Children's Church Class. You may be working in the Nursery. You may serve as a Custodian or you may mow the grass at the church or for your sick neighbor. Remember the giving and sharing of Cornelius was recognized and remembered in Heaven. Just remember that you are remembered in Heaven and that you and me are just pilgrims and strangers looking for a city whose builder and maker is God!!

Just keep SERVING GOD AND SERVING OTHERS!! YOU ARE NOT HOME YET!!!





Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday's Inspiration

I was awakened with a familiar passage of scripture on my mind this morning. I felt led to share this with some individuals but then I began to sense the Spirit leading me to share my thoughts on this blog. Each of us are facing situations in which we are in need of the direction, guidance and strength that can only come from God. But the enemy of our soul will seek to bring doubt, fear, anxiety, frustration, etc. into our lives. It is at moment that we must make the courageous decision to place our COMPLETE FAITH AND TRUST IN GOD. I know that this is easier said than done but God has promised to reward those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11)

Here are the words that I felt led to share with you today!!

Here are six words that the Spirit placed in my heart to share with you!!

WALK BY FAITH!!
TRUST IN GOD!!

Proverbs 3:5-8,
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones." (NLT)

God is YOUR SOURCE OF STRENGTH!!

We can depend on God to fulfill His promises but we also need to be willing to fulfill our commitments to Him. It is one thing to depend on God but we need to make the decision to fully follow Him in obedience and surrender. 

Let us offer our lives to God as humble servants who truly appreciates the price that He paid for our Redemption. His is truly worthy of our praise, adoration and lifestyle of service to Him and to the family of God!!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Spiritual Preparation on Friday

The Spirit reminded me of a famous story in the Old Testament during prayer this morning. This story is found in 2 Chronicles chapter 20. The larger story is filled with several "smaller" stories that speaks to us. I believe the Spirit placed a fresh, dynamic and powerful revelation in my heart. Are you ready for me to unveil and reveal this dynamic principle that has the potential to change your life? It is the principle of Praise!!! Is it possible that we forget to use this powerful weapon that is located in our spiritual arsenal? 

The people of God were facing an enemy and they needed direction and assistance from God. We are facing our enemies and we need direction and assistance from God. Jehoshaphat appointed singers to go out in front of the army and offer praise to God. The Bible records this statement in verse 21 of chapter 20; "Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes..." God is ready to ambush our enemies. This is our "when time." When is it time to offer praise to God? NOW IS THE TIME TO OFFER PRAISE TO GOD!!!

I would like to offer a starting point of praise for us this morning. It is the wonderful words of the Psalmist David found in Psalm 150. I truly believe that there are enemies that will be defeated as we lift our voices in Praise to the Lord God Almighty today. WILL YOU JOIN WITH ME IN OFFERING PRAISE TO GOD?

Psalm 150 (NKJV)

Let All Things Praise the Lord

150 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!