Thursday, 24 June 2021

Waiting On Tables

Proverbs 11:25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

      There are no small tasks in the kingdom of God when we do the work as unto the Lord. The Psalmist makes it plain that one day in God's presence and service can outdo anything the world has to offer. Psalm 84:10 A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.  
      There is a misconception that the anointing of God is only for the upper echelon in the church. Not so. Everyone who serves needs the blessing and anointing of the Holy Spirit operating in their lives at all times, no matter the task. Col. 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. I would not want to approach life without the power of the Holy Spirit leading me through it. We only have to look around at the mayhem and see the result of undisciplined lives. Without the Holy Spirit's guidance, people lose common sense.
      In the book of Acts, we read the account of the apostles needing help in the daily administration of the church. Acts 6:2 The Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching the word of God to wait on tables. The requirements that were expected of those who served in the everyday work of the early church were to be people of spiritual integrity. People who loved the Lord and were full of the Holy Spirit.
      What duty was so important that being full of the Holy Spirit would be a requirement? Acts 6:3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them. That's right saints. Being full of the Holy Spirit was needed to wait on tables. Many would think this work to be mundane and beneath them. Yet, God wanted servants who took their salvation seriously to be of service in His kingdom.  
      I was talking with a friend who is a pastor. He expressed his frustration that he could not get a day's work out of his music leader and assistant pastor. They were neither cooperative nor helping the members of the church because they would not do the hard work that was needed to be done. They had their own idea of what serving God was, and it was contrary to what the Lord was leading the head pastor to accomplish. It takes a heart of submission and the power of the Holy Spirit to remain on the same page God is leading and directing His church to accomplish. 
      If you cannot follow God's instructions for yourself, you cannot lead His assembly of saints into the vision God has sown within them. This is a hard lesson for a lot of people who serve in ministry. When we find our place in the body of Christ and do the work God has asked us to do, we will be the blessing that refreshes the parched souls who are looking for their place in God's kingdom. Prov. 11:25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. 
      The next time God asks you to wait on tables per se, it may be your opportunity to experience a fulfilling moment in your Christian life. Don't judge God's requests of service by your own standard of worldly social ladder-climbing. As the Psalmist said, "Oh God, a single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!" Amen and amen!

Thursday, 17 June 2021

A Real Inheritance

Proverbs 20:21 An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end.

      I was listening to a young lady who was explaining that her mother was angry with her because she would not take the cabinet and china set that had been previously handed down to her grandmother and mother. She went on to explain that there was no room in her extra-small condo. Plus, she always felt the tea set was ugly. In this case, her mother was tired of storing the cumbersome heirloom, and she was trying to convince one of her daughters to take it, but could not prevail in passing on the ugly inheritance. Prov. 20:21 An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end.
      What we place our values on will determine our life's walk and whether or not we find peace in this life. Matt. 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. We spend a lot of time on the acquisition of stuff. I do not have a problem with getting the things we need to live the best life we can in this temporal world, but not at the cost of our eternal peace. Unlike art, precious metals, and some real estate, most things are only worth what we can get for them in a garage sale. Lam. 5:2a Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers.
      I can leave a monetary inheritance for my children and grandchildren. However, in most cases, the inheritance will be squandered and spent in a short amount of time. However, if I can leave them with the knowledge that they can have a relationship with God, and they choose to have that relationship, then their inheritance will be an everlasting inheritance. Prov. 13:22a A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren. We cannot sell our God-given inheritance in a flea market where everything is cheap, worn, and pre-owned because the value of our holy endowment is given by God who only gives what comes from His pure and perfect heart.
      When we gave our souls to God by receiving Jesus as Lord, we had no idea of the depth of God's love for us. Many of us thought that by accepting Christ, it was a 'Get out of hell free card' that Jesus was handing out. However, as we developed our relationship with the Lord, our understanding and position in Christ made us take notice of greater things. As we mature in the righteousness of God's grace, our inheritance becomes exceedingly valuable to God and ourselves. We find ourselves protecting it as we would the pearl of great price. Matt. 13:46 When he found one priceless pearl, he went and sold everything he had and bought it.
      The inheritance the Lord has given us is beyond our understanding of worth and value. Our new birthright in Christ is eternal, pure, and free of all ugliness and strife. The everlasting value of what Christ has given us through His sacrifice will never be fully understood because this inheritance is spiritually discerned. 1Cor. 2:14 Now the natural man doesn't receive the things of God's Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he can't know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
      There is nothing on earth worth exchanging for what God has given us. Whatever God gives, whether big or small, always has eternal value. The smallest gift or gesture from the Lord will be worth more than we could ever understand. We tend to value riches as measured in earthly wealth. Even all of King Solomon's riches could not come close to one holy blessing that God has planned for us. God is setting us up for is a real inheritance. It will not be ugly or cumbersome to store. It will be eternally life-giving. Thank you, Lord, that our inheritance in Christ is real and authentic. Amen.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Loopholes

Proverbs 30:6 Don’t add to His words, or He will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar.

      A preacher said, "When you are looking for loopholes in the word of God to justify what you want to do, the enemy will always help you find one." While you are enjoying the fruit of your sinful loophole that the enemy helped you create, a hangman's noose is being slipped over your head by the same enemy. Just because you justified your iniquitous actions with your invented loophole does not nullify the truth and fact of God's word. Rom. 6:23a For the wages of sin is death. 
      Anyone can make the bible say what they want it to say while trying to make it seem like God said it. This is why there are so many cults. The hermeneutics of God's truth has been chucked aside to be replaced with personal bias. This causes a mishmash of crooked doctrine confusing and leading the hearts of many to a painful end. The result of this kind of truth-bending is bitterness toward God and those who love Him. 
      Looking for loopholes in God's word is not a new scheme. False prophets and lying bible interpreters have been around since the first words of God's laws were recorded. Jer. 14:14 But the LORD said to me, “These prophets are prophesying a lie in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a false vision, worthless divination, the deceit of their own minds. Personal interpretation and lust for power can lead to a whole lot of people being deceived, getting hurt, and eventually hating God. 
      In my lifetime, we have seen the painful results that were caused by Jim Jones, David Koresh, and the Heaven's Gate cult led by Marshall Applewhite. Their lies caused people to die for a worthless cause. To want something so intensely that justifying any action to get what is wanted will lead to horrific consequences and great destruction. History is full of people who have rewritten the meaning of scripture to get what they want at any cost. They have gone so far as to use so-called prophets to move the lie along the way they want it spun to the people. Yet God is clear about His word and covenant with us. Psalm 89:34 I will not violate My covenant or alter the utterance of My lips. 
      That is the problem when looking for loopholes in God's word. Once the meaning of the word is distorted to satisfy personal bias, then everything falls apart. People start seeing things where there is nothing to see, and on the other hand, they reject clear instruction and pretend not to see it. Eze. 13:3 This is what the Lord GOD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing. This is the same reason marriages fall apart. Some spouses look for loopholes by rewriting their vows to suit their lusts, and before you know it, relationships are shattered.
       I was talking with an acquaintance who was trying to convince me that God had approved of his desire to leave his wife for another woman who was also leaving her husband so that they both could come together and be happy in God's sight. He went on to explain that this had to be God's will because they were so happy together, and both felt the conviction to go ahead with this plan of pure love. He had reinterpreted some scriptures to prove God was leading them in this direction. My meaning was clear, and I said gently, "You are both deceived and are looking for loopholes to do what you want to do. Don't blame God for your adulterous choices. Don't make the word of God say what you want it to say." Shortly after, he disappeared from the social circles we walked in. Prov. 30:6 Don’t add to His words, or He will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar.
      Years later, I encountered this man in a church lobby. He was all alone and beaten down. The loopholes he had created fell through to the point that the joy of the Lord was a distant memory in his life. Like all of those who drank the Kool-aid before him, he was left with a bitter taste that would take a real revival of the Holy Spirit in his soul to reawaken the life that God has given him through Christ. Listen, Saints. Don't go there. Don't go looking for loopholes that do not exist. God is good, and He is not holding anything back that is good for you. We can trust that God's intentions toward us are life-giving and full of His blessings. May God's peace be on us all.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

You're So Vain

Proverbs 16:5 Everyone with a proud heart is detestable to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

      You're so vain, I bet you think this blog is about you! 
      Romans 12:1 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. The problem with being a living sacrifice is that it is so easy to move off of God's altar when it comes time to give ourselves over to the sacrificial act that the Lord is expecting. We just do not like handing over our vain inflated pride and human strength to be sacrificed on God's altar, then put on the robe of meekness. I want to be in control and I want God to bless and authorize my choices for my life. Yeah well, good luck with that. Has this method worked for you so far?
      God says in Matt. 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the teachable, for they will inherit a relationship with God that will transcend any notion of value that can be found anywhere on earth. Even though the promise is inheriting the earth, we will receive much more than God's peace in this earth. Being teachable means; as the Lord's lessons are applied we will grow into maturity, where we will be able to lay quietly upon God's altar, presenting ourselves a living sacrifice. Our vanity will be cut away from our souls and we will bless the Lord in true worship.
      Saul of Tarsus was blinded by the zeal he had for God. He could not see God's new salvation plan. It was only after Saul had squirmed on God's altar for a few days did his inflated pride get cut away, and he became a sacrifice of praise unto the Lord. He emerged from God's altar as the Apostle Paul, who would go on to bring the gospel of Christ throughout the known world. Look at what the Lord can do when we present ourselves as living sacrifice.
      Satan tempted David to take a census of Israel. 1Chron. 21:1 Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. You're so vain David, you think the nation of Israel is about you. The devil had used David's vanity of being a king and leader to ignore God’s authority over the nation. He started believing he was in control and overlooked the fact that Israel belonged to God and not to himself. Prov. 16:5 Everyone with a proud heart is detestable to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
      David had to lay down on the Lord's altar to allow God's judgment to bring forgiveness for his sin. 1Chron. 21:8 David said to God, “I have sinned very much by doing this thing. But now I beg You, take away the sin of Your servant for I have done a very foolish thing.” The result of this prideful sin cost a lot of people their lives. When we feel like God is being too demanding with our lives, it is not just for ourselves that God is transforming us from glory to glory. It is also for those who are in our sphere of influence. We are knitted together in Christ, and what one does affects another. Your miracle becomes my miracle, and your victory is my victory. Your blessing blesses me, but at the same time, your fall into sin affects my life too, because we are one in Christ.
      The word narcissistic has been thrown around a lot in the last few years. Vainness had become a default setting in many people's lives. Satan has not stopped using this juicy temptation on the human race. It worked on King David, and on millions of people before him right up to this day. We all have to look into the mirror of vanity and determine whether or not we will be seduced by its whispers of how great we are in ourselves. No saints. We are only great in God as long as God is leading us by His grace and righteousness. Psalm 18:35 You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. May we present ourselves a living sacrifice on God's altar and enter into true worship. In Jesus name.