Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday's Break from the Normal

Preachers face the challenge of sharing the Gospel message to a variety of people. This variety is filled with different ages, different spiritual backgrounds, different likes and/or dislikes, different levels of understanding, different thought processes, different doctrinal beliefs, different views of the importance of "preaching", different views of the quality/ability of the messenger, etc. This is an endless list that could be filled with many differences BUT I think you may be getting the picture that I am trying to paint.

But there is one commonality when it comes to preaching although preaching is being replaced with "inspirational talks" in many ministries. But we must remember that this is not a sporting event where the coach is called on to "motivate" the team into playing their best game. Preaching is not about playing a game; preaching is about dealing with the eternal destiny of humanity. Preaching is not about getting you prepared to win the NCAA tournament. Preaching is about sharing the Word of God which will lead us into the right type of fellowship as well as relationship with our Heavenly Father. 

I want to share a passage of scripture that has been speaking to me since the beginning of 2019. Would you take a moment and let this passage "preach" to you today? Allow the Word of God speak to the "spiritual man/woman" that you desire to be. It is taken from the Spirit inspired and Spirit anointed writings of the Apostle Paul.

Philippians 4:4-9, Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]. Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].  The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.” (Amplified)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tuesday's Thoughts

Anyone who has heard me preach in the past months know that I believe that we are certainly living in a time of "spiritual warfare." I have already received two (2) requests this morning concerning the attacks of satan on the lives of individuals. These requests do not include the requests that I am already praying about. How will we handle these attempts to overthrow and defeat our faith? Our hope will be revealed as well as be released as we stand on the promises of God that are declared in the Word of God. But let me also interject one more step of response that we can take. We can and we must chose to follow the directions/guidance that we discover in the Word of God.

Ephesians 6:12,For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (NIV) I truly believe that we are seeing the reality of this scripture happening in our nation at this very moment. It seems very evident that Christianity is under attack. We see the freedom to believe sound Biblical Truths being challenged in the business world. The Government continues to press its way into the education system as well as the “church” world. Even our Vice President and his wife have been under attack because of their beliefs over the past few days. Is it possible that these attacks upon Christianity could end up knocking on the door of our lives? This question leads me to the next passage of scripture.

1 Timothy 6:12, Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” (NLT) The Apostle Paul also confirms the reality that we will have to “fight” for the true faith. Those individuals who choose the “wide way” to live will not face this fight. They will choose to meander their way through life with the crowd of people who have also chosen to travel the wide way. But those who have chosen the true faith will see the need to “hold tightly to the eternal life” that they have received through their trust in Christ as their Savior. We “hold tightly” to those possessions that we cherish. How “tightly” are we holding our relationship with Christ? Do we truly love and cherish our Savior in such a manner that we will listen for the Voice for our Chief Shepherd?

John 10:27, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (NKJV) I believe that it is VERY NECESSARY for all believers to follow The Way, The Truth and The Life. Each of us needs to examine our lives and make sure that we are heading in the direction that the Chief Shepherd is leading. Proverbs 18:10, The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” (NKJV) It is time for the people of God to make sure that we are running to our Savior and not away from our Savior. It is a wonderful blessing to realize that the Heavenly Father loves us enough that He has a plan for our redemption. Praise God for His Graciousness and His Goodness!!