Friday, August 29, 2014

Don't Walk Away From The Healing

Everything comes by obedience. First comes love and from love springs obedience, and through the door of obedience flows all of Yahweh's intended blessings.We are predestined for blessings, as in Yahweh has desired us to possess his many blessings. But blessings only flow in a relationship of love, manifested in our obedience. An example.

A man came to Elisha for healing. He had leprosy and his king was willing to pay whatever needed to be paid to have him healed. The instructions he received were simple:

“Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” (2 Kings 5:10)

But we don't like simple. We like to feel like we are doing something, earning it. The man was upset and about to walk away without the healing. Such a simple thing to do but he would rather go without. Thankfully his servant convinced him to follow the instructions and he received the blessing of healing.

We are not unlike that man. Often we choose to walk around with burdens, sorrows, worries and fears, ignoring the instruction for healing because it is too simple. Healing is available for those who choose to follow the instructions. Our lives would be simple and joyful if we would just follow the instructions in a relationship of love and obedience. Don't walk away from the healing.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Don't Waste Your Sin

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. " - George Santayana

Most of us can attest to the truth of this statement. We may understand it from a different perspective like, a mistake is not a waste if we learn from it. Some of the greatest lessons in history and our personal lives were the precursor to some great advances. But how different it could have been if we had failed to learn.

We see this in our relationship with Jesus as well. Nothing is a waste when Yahweh is involved:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) 

But what a mess it becomes when we refuse to remember and refuse to learn.

Remember Aaron's mistake (sin) when he made the golden calf and called it the god who had rescued Israel? The nation was almost wiped out on the spot. You would think it would be an historical sin that no one would repeat. Not so. When the kingdom became divided there was concern that people would eventually move to Judah because of the temple. So guess what they did?

Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” (1 Kings 12:28)

They did what most of us do, they not only repeated their sin but doubled it. "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." - Rita Mae Brown. Insanity or not it is what we do with sin when we are not strong in the Lord. Sin seems to cloud our mind but the presence of the Spirit frees it. In the Spirit we are able discern but without him we continue to repeat our sins.

We can't do it on our own and we need to stop trying. We are wasting time, effort and opportunities. If we are really interested in spiritual growth and development we need to embrace the lessons that come from the sins of our past and be willing to be taught in every situation we face. It is part of growing up.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Is Our God Too Harsh?

Some believe that we have a demanding God. Some even think he is unfair and too severe. Some can't accept that he is who is revealed in Scripture so they soften him up, make him gentler,change things up a bit and tell us that his love is too great to send anyone to hell. For them the cross wasn't a good enough plan so they preach that he is planning something even greater than the cross. But we won't go there right now because all I really want to say is that our Father is not very demanding at all.

From the very beginning he made it simple for us. He gave us one rule, which Adam and Eve could not manage to follow. It doesn't matter how complicated or simple it is, we are going to mess it up. So Yahweh hid himself until the time of Moses, to whom he revealed his name, his power and then his holiness through the Law. He knew we couldn't live the Law but he needed us to understand our imperfection before Jesus came. He gave a system of sacrifices to protect people as they realized how ugly they were to Yahweh. When Jesus came, he became the one and only sacrifice to cover all our imperfections. Our God is awesome.

From the beginning there was always one underlying simple truth that superseded everything else: Yahweh desired our free love. That is a love that is freely offered by a creation that has a choice. He wants obedience for sure, but he wants it to come from a heart that freely loves him; not from fear or intimidation. He wants us to have the freedom to reject him.

During the age of the kings, Yahweh was looking for one man who would obey from love. He was not looking for perfection but a leader who would give him his heart:

Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you. (1 Kings 11:38)

David messed up a lot but he never stopped loving Yahweh. When he sinned he felt it deeply because it came against the love of his life. Much grace was given to David and Yahweh was willing to do that for anyone who would love him like David. David wasn't the greatest leader but no one loved like he did. And this is why we can never say we have a hard God; all he asks for is our love.

Sincere love requires action. Jesus said that if we loved him we would do what he commanded. We get it backwards; we try to obey in order to love. Jesus is not looking for perfection. He knew who he was dying for on the cross, he knew our weaknesses, but he desired that we would respond to his love by loving in return. That is Father's desire. The rest of it will follow; the obedience will come; Jesus is working it out and perfecting us, but it all comes from the desire of love.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Understanding Imperfection

So how are you? Is life treating you good? Are you managing to live a good life? Are you being good to yourself and others? Are you keeping to that life motto of not causing harm to others? Feeling pretty good about yourself? Probably not. Man, we can trying really hard but no matter how hard we try we are always hurting someone, somehow, somewhere. It's just the nature of things; as long as a human is involved it is going to get messed up somehow. It's why we need Jesus.

We don't need Jesus to make us good so we can earn our way into heaven. Too many Christians received the wrong memo. Our living will never be good enough to get us into heaven, no matter how hard we try. Think of Solomon for a moment. Here was a guy who had it all. He was suppose to be the best of the best, the cream of the crop. Yahweh told him that he would have everything that he needs , all he would have to do is stay loyal to Yahweh. Simple. But it is never simple when we are part of the equation:

But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. (1 Kings 11:1-2)

No matter how hard we try we will always mess up, always fall short, always disappoint. Jesus did not come to make us perfect but to die for our imperfections. He came to cover us, to forgive our past, present and future sins. Because of him we have been declared righteous. It isn't that we are righteous or perfect but that we have been made righteous by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.

Now we need to grow into that righteousness. It means each day we should be dying more to ourselves and becoming more like Jesus. The Church is not full of perfect people but of people being perfected. That means in our flesh we still mess up and fall short but we have a safety net called grace. This means the Church is a messy place and can only exist as we practice the same love, mercy, grace and forgiveness that has been shown to us. We are not really understanding this as the immature destroy the imperfect mature followers of Jesus. "You who are without sin, cast the first stone."

In our imperfection we will hurt people and people will be hurt, that is the nature of mess ups. But what a wonderful backdrop for a family that is working out and perfecting love, mercy, and forgiveness. Now, if you can understand this, life is going to look much different to you, so will you and so will the Church.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Boldness Despite Insecurities

Knowing my audience, especially those of you on Tumblr, you probably don't see yourself as a bold person. In fact, you probably see yourself in the opposite light. Certainly in the safety of your keyboard you can manage bold words, but put you in a public setting and you blend into the background. So if I talk to you about spiritual boldness you probably would not be able to relate. It's because we have the wrong idea of boldness.

Even the most daring and bold person you can think of has a whole attic of unspoken insecurities. Most likely they act as bold as they do to compensate for those insecurities, but that is not how spiritual boldness works. In fact, spiritual boldness has nothing to do with your confidence or insecurities and everything to do with belief and faith in Jesus Christ. All Jesus needs from you is to believe his promises apply to you and then faith to act on them. With these two things in place Jesus is able to accomplish great things through anyone, despite their shortcomings. Consider David.

David had never fought against a man before facing the seasoned warrior, Goliath. His experience was limited to protecting the family's flock of sheep from various predators. But David took the experience and knowledge he had gained about Yahweh and translated it to this situation with Goliath. His thinking was simple: If Yahweh makes it possible to protect these meager sheep he will also make it possible to protect Israel:

“You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47)

How could Yahweh not respond to such a bold trust? Jesus told us time and again to have this same attitude when serving him. Ask whatever you need, is what he said to us. Ask, seek, knock are his instructions. Boldness and determination were the subjects of his parables. Read through the gospels again and look for it. You will be amazed how clear it is.

The Lord doesn't need anything you have to offer him so your spiritual boldness does not depend or your ability or inability. What he needs are more hearts like David; people who know and believe the promises and who have the faith to act on them. Boldness does not depend on who you are but on your willingness to act on who Jesus is. It is not "I think I can" that moves mountains but "I know he wills it". Step out in the boldness of the promises; believe and act on it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Appearances Can Truly Be Deceiving

A lot of bad things happen because of our emphasis on appearance. A lot of bullying happens simply because a group of kids don't like the appearance of another kid. People make bad decisions based on the appearance of a situation. We choose our places of worship by the appearance of a church. We should be wise in these matters but still we make the decision to live on the surface of things. Don't make the mistake of thinking that this is how Father operates.

With Father it is always a matter of the heart. He sees beyond all facades, false pretenses and downright lies. Motivation matters to him, as does love. He is willing to cover our errors and imperfections when our intentions come from a heart of sincere love for him and our actions develop from this root. Ability does not matter as much as desire. This we see clearly in Yahweh's choosing of David as king.When Samuel thought David's eldest brother was a clear choice, Yahweh told him:

“Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

For sure we want our appearance to match our heart but we have to start with the heart before the appearance. The only way to see the continuing transformation of our heart is to develop a continuing fellowship with the Holy Spirit. There are no short cuts, easy fixes, or super formulas. Walk with Jesus every day and our heart will take on his appearance. It is a relational thing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Popularity Game

True leadership is hard to find in the game of popularity these days. There is no place where this is truer than in the Church. In the age of celebrity leaders, where people get what they want, it is difficult for true leaders to make the hard decisions, to stand by the Word of God. But this is not as new a phenomena as you might think.

King Saul had received specific instructions from Yahweh concerning the destruction of a certain people. But instead of obeying those instructions King Saul chose to please his army. When he was called out on it his reply was quite telling:

“I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice." (1 Samuel 15:24)

Saul asked for forgiveness but something about his heart was not right. Perhaps it was only lip service. This was the result of the popularity game:

“I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” (v. 26)

It doesn't matter how unpopular the truth is, we cannot operate outside of it. This is true as a pastor, parent, neighbour or friend. We have received clear instructions and cannot use popularity as an excuse for doing our own thing. Decide if you are a servant-leader of the Lord Jesus Christ and avoid the popularity game by standing with his truth regardless of the cost. That is what he expects of us; that is what he has called us to do.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Inconvenience Of Love

What is your reaction when someone hurts you? You probably forgive them because that is what we are suppose to do as followers of Jesus, but will you still love them? Will you open your heart to them, trust them, hang out with them, treat them as if nothing happened? We may want to because we know it's what Jesus desires of us but sometimes our flesh makes it difficult.

We find a great example of this in Samuel. He was the last of the Israelite judges because the people demanded a change in the system. He was also prophet and priest, speaking to the people the will of Yahweh. But the people wanted a king to replace Yahweh's system of governance. We can imagine the sting of rejection Samuel would have felt after generations of judges. However, Yahweh encouraged Samuel by pointing out that the people were not rejecting him as judge as much as they were rejecting Yahweh as king.

The people did not fully understand what they had done until after Yahweh had agreed to it. When they did realize it they came to Samuel in repentance. I am sure you can appreciate what the temptation of our flesh would be, but not Samuel. In fact, read his graceful words:

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. (1 Samuel 12:23-24)

That is great leadership for you. It doesn't matter how a leader is treated by the people for whom they are responsible, they must continue to lay down their lives for them. A Christian leader is not leading in their name but in the name of the Lord and to the Lord he will have to be accountable for that leadership. Jesus has not told us to lead only when people love us and show us appreciation. I don't only write and preach when it is popular; it has been given me to do not matter how it is received. I know you can think of other things where the same rule must applied such as parenting. A leader must lead.

Serving the Lord is not a popularity contest or a feel-good thing. It is a responsibility, plain and simple. It is not dependent on anything other than obedience provoked by our love for Jesus. Some days that will be the only motivation you have to go on but it will be enough. So love people no matter how they treat you.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Doing What We Must Not What We Want

I would say that one of the most difficult areas of ministry is family. Parents see you as a child no matter your age; brothers and sisters never forget the rotten child you were when growing up; teenagers write you off as being disconnected from their reality. The only ones who really listen are the younger  children, but that does not absolve us from our responsibility to witness to our family our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. After all, the message is so powerful it often overcomes the short comings of the messenger. We have many examples of what happens when we neglect our responsibility to minister to our family.

Eli is a glaring example of what can happen when a father doesn't deal with the spiritual matters in his children's lives. Here he was, the priest in Israel and his sons assisted him. But they were terrible sons, exploiting the people, having sex with the temple servant girls and abusing the sacrifices to Yahweh. All Israel knew what these sons were up to and so did Eli:

Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. (1 Samuel 2:22-23)

But notice that he simply spoke with them, instead of removing them from their responsibilities. At least he spoke to them, but he didn't deal with it when they ignored him. Because Eli did not take care of it Yahweh was forced to. His charge was clear:

Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’ (v. 29)

Those sons were not just causing trouble for their father but were affecting all of Israel, so Yahweh stepped in but he also dealt with Eli. Sometimes we act as if we are not accountable, but Yahweh will correct us, especially if we are affecting his children. He requires us to take a stand for him, even if it means coming against those we love. He expects us to correct our children.

It is not a matter of opinion. We can't afford to do what we want. Regardless of the price we must stand with Jesus. Have you not read his words, that we must love him above all others? Our allegiance is to our King far more than to even our family. Do what is right and the Lord will honour it and you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Who Is Really In Control?

I am a strong believer that Yahweh has control over everything. He is supreme in all matters so whatever exists and whatever happens has a place in his plan. Certainly some things are his direct will and others are his permissible will but it is Yahweh who knows all and is all powerful so nothing is by accident. I believe he also has authority and control over the womb. The "fly in the ointment" is that he has given us free will and if we choose to take control he allows us, no matter the results.

Many people struggle with this because of the various difficulties they have faced. What do you say to a woman who is desperate to have a child and cannot conceive? It seems like a platitude to say that Yahweh is in charge, even when it is the truth. What each of us have to struggle with and eventually surrender to is that we must let go of our will and desires and seek Father's will and desire. It is important that we acknowledge and accept that he has purpose for everything he does and allows in our lives. We have many examples in the Word as well as testimonies of believers that bring this reality into focus.

I often think of Hannah, Samuel's mom from 1 Samuel 1. She was desperate for a child, even though her husband loved her dearly without one. However, Yahweh resisted her. In verse five of this chapter it says "although the Lord had closed her womb". It has always been his desire for us to be fruitful but in this and many other cases he resisted the desire of the woman by closing her womb. But imagine for an instant if he had not done so.

It was because he resisted Hannah that she earnestly sought him. It was because he resisted her that she offered her first born to the priesthood. She became completely surrendered to Yahweh and it resulted in the great priest/prophet/judge Samuel. We may not always appreciate it in the moment but there are times that Yahweh resists us to provoke us to earnestly seek him, to open us to his will, and so we can see the doors he has opened.

When I got married at the age of 22, children were not really on my mind but it was the great desire of my wife. She figured she would get pregnant immediately and start on our family. For six years we tried but her womb was closed. In those six years we prayed, called out to Yahweh but he did not respond and the doctors could not find a cause. But the Lord opened a door and provided our first child through adoption and what an incredible son he has grown into. The Lord has his hand on him and we have not yet seen what will result but we have no doubt he gave him to us for a purpose and it would not have happened if the Lord had not resisted us.

As a foot note, it was when my wife completely surrendered herself and told the Lord she would be satisfied with his will for our family, whether one child or multiple, that her womb was opened and never shut again.

Christians have a struggle over control and Father's will. Jesus set for us an example of what it is to live a totally surrendered life, even one that includes difficult moments. There would have been no resurrection without the cross. There are no victories without battles. If the Lord is resisting you on a matter that you know to be his will, earnestly seek, trust and surrender to him and see what he has been wanting to produce through you. Give him back the control over everything in your life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Dangers Of Isolation

Christians are not isolationists. Perhaps there are times we would like to run away and join a monastery, or disappear from this world, but that would be in disobedience to Yahweh's purpose for us. Perhaps more of us can identify with Jonah than we may think. It would be easier if all we had to do was read our Bible, pray and keep clear of all things that are in rebellion to Yahweh, but we remain here for the opposite purpose. Jesus loves those rebellious things and first called us out from them to heal us and to send us back as messengers so others would know healing is possible.

So Christians are not to be isolated from the evils of this world and neither are we to be isolated from each other. Far too many Christians lack a good understanding of who we are, of what Jesus has done, of relationships and purpose. Christians spend far too much time critiquing each other's service instead of getting on with the mission. There is one single verse that reminds me that the Lord is occupied with his servants and his plan is for each to succeed:

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:4)

Yes, so we let the Lord do the correcting (unless we have been given the responsibility in leadership to bring correction), and we concentrate on standing shoulder to shoulder in the mission. No Christian has been called to work alone. No Christian has been called to be isolated from the Body. When we accepted Jesus we became a member of the Body, not a lone soldier, and so we work in teams to complete our mission. This is why Paul, the apostle with the great revelation of the Church, the Body of Christ, described the Church as a Body. We are each one unit, belonging to the whole.

If we decide to isolate ourselves for whatever various reasons we are tricked into believing, it is only the enemy cutting us off from the safety of the heard. In being cut off we become vulnerable and open to his attacks. Often he will not try to destroy our faith but to make it null and void with false teachings that take us over a cliff. I often use an example from the Old Testament to make my point on this subject, although it is clear from all the writings of Paul.

In Judges 18 we find a group of Jews who are trying to find a place to call their own. They come across a city that is described in this manner:

"They saw the people who were there, how they dwelt safely, in the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure. There were no rulers in the land who might put them to shame for anything. They were far from the Sidonians, and they had no ties with anyone." (v. 7)

They were easily destroyed because they had no one to stand with them. This is the danger of Christians who live in isolation from the Body of Christ. We were placed in the Body for a reason, because we need each other. We encourage and strengthen each other. Iron on iron, as the Word describes it, keeping each other sharp as we administer Jesus' love and compassion in a world that rejects him. Don't leave yourself open to attack and destruction; stand together in faith even if you are not in total agreement. Trust the correction to the Master while you serve with your brothers and sisters.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Have We Been Left To Our Own Devices?

There are times I get the impression most Christians feel they have been handed an assignment and have been sent out from the presence of Yahweh to complete it. We have this "go it alone" mentality where we think we have to do whatever we think is best to survive because no one else is going to help us. We struggle over decisions, direction, actions to take, words to speak, and we stress ourselves out. But we are never alone, and we have not been sent out on our own. In fact, the promise of Jesus is just the opposite.

Jesus promised that he would be with us to the end of the age. Via the Holy Spirit, Jesus is constantly present, giving us strength, hope, peace, instruction and direction. From him we receive the power and ability to do everything he has given us to do. If we ask for counsel he gives it. That is the part we miss out on all the time. Instead, we come up with our own plans and ask him to bless them. That is our approach for most of our life, to do what we want and expect Jesus' blessing on it. It gets us into trouble.

A glaring example of this is found in Joshua 9 when a local city decided to deceive Israel into making a treaty with them. The people were smart enough to see what was happening and they did not want to be removed from their land so they made it appear that their envoys had come from a great distance to make the treaty. It was a brilliantly conceived desperate plan and it worked because of one reason:

Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. (Joshua 9:14)

Israel went by what they could see instead of asking the One who sees everything. If you have never read this incident then I encourage you to do so because it is an example of how we can be tricked into disobeying Yahweh, even when it is our full desire to walk in obedience. We have not been left on our own for a reason: We can't make it on our own. We don't know everything. We can't see everything. We are vulnerable to deception. We need the wisdom, power, and direction of Jesus. Have you never considered what Jesus told his disciples and us:

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)

This was delivered during a warning of the persecution we would face because the world hates the righteousness of Jesus Christ Yet, we are messing up because we fail to understand we live in a world that is naturally hostile toward us. This world is under the influence of a false prince and we are here to be the salt and light, but it is a terrible environment in which we are serving. So much tries to distract us from our mission and relationship with Jesus. There is such an incredible influence that tries to cut us off from our only source of everything we need. We must remain aware of this so we will also remember that we aren't in this by ourselves.

Independence from Jesus is the opposite to our goal. We need to let loose whatever we depend on in this world so our dependence on Jesus can grow. He is our source for all things good and he will equip us and instruct us every day of our lives. But we need to remember to ask. Don't forget today to ask.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Battling Sin In The Body Of Christ

Have you ever noticed that you are stronger with friends? Facing difficulties, challenges, even defeat is a lot easier when you are surrounded by people who love and encourage you. A rope made of many woven pieces of twine is far stronger than a single piece of twine. We can't afford to forget that we are not on this Christian walk alone. Not only are we possessed by Christ but we are also a single unit in the context of the Body of Christ.

We are responsible for each other. It has been given to us to encourage, pray for, help carry, warn and even correct each other. The Christian walk is not an easy one and part of it is learning to love each other in the same way Jesus loved us. We are supposed to be united as brothers and sisters and our goal is to see each other complete the race we have been given to run. That means a lot of encouragement during the rough patches.

We are here for each other's success but at the same time there are warnings not to allow sin to propagate in the Body. Sin is a destructive force and when not dealt with it will spread and effect the whole. It would be like a diseased limb. We would do everything we can to heal that limb but if it failed to respond to the treatments it would have to be amputated to protect the body from its spread. This is the exact course of action subscribed by the Word of God for a diseased unit within the Body of Christ. We see a severe example in Joshua.

Achan had sinned by going against the exact instruction of Yahweh. The instruction was clear as was the sin against it, but note how it was seen from Yahweh's perspective:

But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel. (Joshua 7:1)

Yahweh's anger was at the whole nation even though it was only one person who had sinned. The solution was to find the one person and remove him from Israel because the whole body was suffering due to the disease that had been brought into the nation.

People think that when they choose to sin it only effects them. They are too self-centered or clouded to see the impact it has on people around them. Because it has impact on so many others it is only natural that others will be part of the solution. These others bring the situation to the attention of the individual, bring correction and participate in the restoration of the individual. If the individual does not respond to the treatment then these same others have no choice but to amputate for the sake of the whole. This is how it should be done but rarely is because we have a wrong perspective and so allow the disease to grow and spread. We think that pampering the disease, calling it something else or defining the cause will somehow lead to a cure. Instead it leads to tolerance and the spreading of the disease.

This is not something I expected those without Jesus to understand but those of us with Jesus should be able to appreciate the Biblical instructions. We should appreciate people helping us see where we are making terrible mistakes and when we are in danger. Individuals can lose sight, perspective and come under the influence of disease. It's not about protecting a persons feelings but keeping an eternal perspective. We need our church government to be strong in these matters even if it involves amputations because the health of the Body matters.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Don't Forget Who We Worship

I know Jesus is our friend and we are privileged to have such an intimate relationship with him, but at the same time we can't afford to lose our reverence for Yahweh. There are times I think we have gone too far in trying to portray Jesus as "user friendly", bosom pal and life long friend. There is almost an irreverence about his name and our relationship with him. Sure, we worship but sometimes even our attitude toward that is carefree, almost flaky, as if Yahweh will accept whatever we have to offer. We need to remember who it is we worship.

Have you noticed that every time someone encountered an angel in the Old Testament they had the same reaction? Consider Joshua when he encountered the angel before his battle at Jericho:

And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”
Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-15)
Everyone always ends up on their face. It is a normal, natural, automatic reaction when encountering the glory of Yahweh. And when Joshua did not show enough reverence, forgetting to remove his sandals, he was instructed to do so. In our effort to modernize we seem to be losing this reverence in favour of the "Santa Claus" mentality.

How we approach our God depends on how you see yourself in the relationship and in life. Joshua knew he was appointed to his position by Yahweh. He know that he was the leader of Yahweh's people. He knew he was a man under orders. He knew that none of this was for his pleasure but for the glory of his God and the prosperity of the people. In short, Joshua understood he was a servant under the command of Yahweh. As such, it was natural for him to hold his reason for living in great reverence because of all he represented to Joshua.

We may think we see ourselves this way but take a good look at your life. Why do you do the things you do? Are you living for Jesus, with everything in your life coming from that motivation? Is everything you do directed by the Spirit for the glory of the Father? Is your purpose to bring him glory by serving other people? Or is Jesus more a part-time thing, something you fit in when you have time in your busy day? Are your goals your goals and are they about you?

It may seem like an oversimplified thing but from my experience, when Jesus is your reason for breathing there is a natural reverence in the relationship but when you are your reason for living there is a lack of reverence. I have had many conversations with Jesus during my life and I noticed something about them. Any conversation where I remained standing or sitting I tended to walk away and do what I wanted to do. Any conversation where I ended up on my face I walked away to do my Master's will. The difference was my attitude in approaching the conversation. Is Jesus truly everything to you? You should be able to tell by the reverence you give to him.