Tag: American Church

Live Long and Prosper

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As someone who loved to watch Star Trek as a kid, I love the classic picture of Leonard Nimoy, a.k.a. Mr. Spock. To me, his “live long and prosper” sign is just flat out cool! 

This is probably one of the few aspects of life the Vulcans and the God of the Universe have in common. “Live long and prosper.” Or, another way to say it would be to quote the Apostle John; “Beloved, I wish (pray) above all things that you prosper and be in health, as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2 

God wants each and every person to prosper and be in health. Regardless of your religion, denomination, status in life, He has plans to prosper you. Notice I said, HE has plans. 

However, there is a part of John’s letter we sometimes overlook; “…as your soul prospers.”

Man was created as one person, yet with 3 parts. Someone once said it like this: “we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body (much like an astronaut uses a space suit).” 

Paul referred to our makeup this way: “Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NLT

Let’s talk about the soul. Basically it consists of our mind, will, and emotions. It is, along with our spirit man, the part of us that is eternal. Our body will perish, returning to dust, but the spirit and soul live on. From the time we were infants, our soul has been in training. We’ve generally been trained by our upbringing, surroundings, peers, schools, and people we trust. Of course, the training could have been good or bad, depending on the morals, faith, ethics, etc. of our “trainers”. 

But in spite of how wonderful our trainers have been, there is not a one of us who doesn’t need to have their soul “retrained”, or “reprogrammed”. Another way of saying it would be, “everyone needs their soul saved.” 

James tells us, “receive with meekness the…Word which is able to save your soul.” Save means to restore, deliver, and heal. Paul told the Romans, “don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind.” 

So our souls need to be saved and transformed! The more the soul is saved, trained, transformed by the Word of God, the more it prospers. As the soul prospers, the body and spirit prosper as well.

A prosperous soul. The mind, will, and emotions nurtured, transformed, and submitted to God’s Word. God’s Word is His will; so with a renewed mind, you can 

 I believe there are a lot of unhealthy desires among Christians. Listen to yourself talk. How prosperous is your soul? Pay attention to your reaction when trouble strikes. Have you learned contentment? “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Are you continually striving for something bigger, better, faster, more memory…? 

Is your soul prospering?

Do you feel the need to “pray” your needs to others or to God?

Preacher, what about your church’s finances? How long does it take “receiving” the offering? Are you always on the lookout for a better church, better salary, better program, or is God’s provision and calling enough? 

Some believers play what I call, the “Ministry Money Market”, trying to get God to supply all their wants by giving to the “big name” ministries, rather than taking the time to retrain their mind and heart to hear the voice of God; to live and give accordingly.

Paul said, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” In the preceding verses, Paul wrote about being content, giving sacrificially, giving with a heart of love. He wrote in other places about giving, not grudgingly but cheerfully. 

The promises of God are not for those who obey out of duty, but who obey out of love.

After all, God doesn’t give to us out of duty. He gives out of His love. Paul told Timothy to “warn those who are rich in this world, that they The promises of God are not for those who obey out of duty, but who obey out of love.

After all, God doesn’t give to us out of duty. He gives out of His love. Paul told Timothy to “warn those who are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the Living God who richly gives us all things to enjoy.” 

The soul that prospers is the soul that moves beyond the dictates of the flesh and society and begins applying the principles of God’s Word to each and every situation. 

I believe even Mr. Spock would find that statement to be logical.

American Idols

American Idols (3)

The following is part one of a new eBook which will be published on 8/15/14. American Idols, the Final Call?

 

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.  (Acts 2:17)

Dreams can be SO real. At least this one was. I remember running through a town in the middle of the night; a sleepy little town of about two thousand (which included dogs and cats). I recognized the town as one we had lived in some twelve years earlier.

I shouted, “Tear down your idols, tear down your idols!” I was like a mad man. Like a man rushing into a burning apartment building with only one thought; rescue the residents from the tormenting flames.

“Tear down your idols, tear down your idols!”

People were yelling at me as I ran, wondering why I was acting so bizarre, so intense. I shouted, “First Samuel three twelve”, and kept running.

“Tear down your idols, tear down your idols! First Samuel three twelve!”

And then I awoke.

Here’s the passage I was referring to:

In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.(1 Samuel 3:12)

The complete paragraph, from the Message Bible, reads:

God said to Samuel, “Listen carefully. I’m getting ready to do something in Israel that is going to shake everyone up and get their attention. The time has come for me to bring down on Eli’s family everything I warned him of, every last word of it. I’m letting him know that the time’s up. I’m bringing judgment on his family for good. He knew what was going on, that his sons were desecrating God’s name and God’s place, and he did nothing to stop them. This is my sentence on the family of Eli: The evil of Eli’s family can never be wiped out by sacrifice or offering.” (1 Samuel 3:11-14 MSG)

I had not been thinking about idols, Samuel, Eli, or anything else from that “neck of the woods”. But the dream sure got my attention.

A number of people in the Bible were given dreams which God used to speak to his people, and to nations. Joel prophesied, and Peter quoted:

And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. (Joel 2:28)

“…your old men shall dream dreams…” At sixty, I guess I fall into that category.

Here are a few examples of God-given dreams.

Daniel interpreted two of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. Jacob’s son, Joseph, was referred to as “the dreamer” by his older brothers. Jacob himself was known to receive a message from God from a dream.

God used dreams to warn  people: Abimelech, Laban, Esau, an unnamed baker, and of course, Egypt’s Pharaoh.

King Solomon had a visitation from God, as God appeared to him in a dream. Mary’s husband, Joseph, was warned in a dream, as well as were the Magi. Pilate’s wife tried to persuade her husband to release Jesus; saying she had “suffered many things in a dream because” of him.

Dreams. Specifically, God-given dreams.

I believe my dream is a warning for America; but not just a warning for Hollywood or Wall Street. It’s also a warning to the Church. Much of the American Church seems preoccupied with the ways of the world. A growing, one-sided love affair has the Church courting the world’s acceptance. Seeker-friendly services are used to promote church growth; while society does all it can to exterminate Christianity as if it were the Black Plague.

Time will reveal whether I’m right or wrong, but it’s really not too hard to see. Just look around. The United States of America is in a condition of decline and decay. It is not the great nation it once was. It is no longer the “city set on a hill”.

Wars and rumors of war, the national debt, liberalism, conservatism, religious cults and sects, promiscuity, selfishness, and the like. What a mess. Issues such as “gay” marriage, abortion, the legalization of marijuana, and illegal aliens have polarized this nation like never before.

Where is the greatness of America these days?

Revival Characteristics (Final)

Great_Awakening

Every spiritual awakening, revival, or whatever you’d like to call it, has certain visible characteristics. This is the third and final post in the series, “Revival Characteristics”.

Fences are repaired.

The boundaries of truth.

Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set. Proverbs 22:28 NKJV

Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers set up by previous generations. (Proverbs 22:28 NLT)

I’ve noticed the idea of absolute truth is hard for some (most of us) to handle. Some use it as a way to control others. They hold “truth” over other lives like a club of sorts. They even blame God for the way they act, saying they’re just “defending truth”.

Others propound the idea that truth must be redefined for each generation. But as Proverbs talks about not moving the “ancient boundaries”, to change the meaning and substance of truth every twenty to thirty years is like moving someone’s property line every so often. Someone is going to be cheated.

Each generation struggles with the process of handing off the baton of truth. Because truth can be very uncomfortable and demand much change, it is easier to compromise a little to make it more acceptable and less divisive.

But someone gets cheated! Someone loses each time the fence is moved. I believe each generation has become “cheated” in a greater way than the previous one. As the world continues to spin, almost out of control, the church is allowing more and more “property lines” to be violated.

This is the hour to stand for truth. The Holy Spirit wants to show us where the old “fence posts” of truth really are. To give us revelation from the Word so we can regain the ground lost through compromise. Future generations are right now in our care, desperately needing to know the difference between truth and error.

Searching the Scriptures and the God of the Scriptures is like rebuilding a fence. The Lord will show us “the property lines” like He did for Abraham, Moses, and Joshua, when we seek him with all our heart.

The Lord recently gave me this word:

“This revival, this awakening will not come from above as much as it will be a peeling away of the old calloused ways. As in Noah’s day, when the heavens were opened, first the deep was broken. More water poured forth from the depth than from above.

“I have deposited more than is required. For generations I have poured forth, deposited revelation upon revelation; power and glory incrementally.

“I’m not requiring my church to learn new things, as some may teach. If my people will simply learn my ways, and follow the path I have set before them, the grace to win the lost and raise the dead will certainly accompany their steps.

“So now it’s time to rebuild the altars, reclaim the wells, and mend the fences. Prepare for glory.”

Rebuilding, reclaiming, and mending is not something to be taken lightly. The enemy, the “Seven Spirits” of the land, do not simply step aside to allow the Kingdom of God to dominate. The devil will do everything possible to keep you and I preoccupied, too busy, indifferent, or whatever; just as long as we don’t attempt to lay claim to the promises and power of God.

But we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

Revival Characteristics (Part Two)

Great_Awakening

Every spiritual awakening, revival, or whatever you’d like to call it, has certain visible characteristics. This is the second message of a three part series.

Wells are reclaimed

Now the Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and they had filled them with earth. And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”

Then Isaac departed from there and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them. Genesis 26:15-18 NKJV

The wells represent the source of life, refreshment, and power our forefathers had with God. Wells were dug out of need and, like the altars which were built, as a memorial of what God had done or said. They would symbolize the promises of God and make reference to one of the covenant names of God.

Then he went up from there to Beersheba. And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” So he built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well. Genesis 26:23-25 NKJV

The Hebrew definition for the word translated “well” is to dig, and also, to declare or explain. Reclaiming the wells, digging through the years of traditions and doctrines of man until the water of life is found, is each generation’s responsibility. In doing so, we declare plainly and openly that the gospel preached by our forefathers is the same gospel we preach today.

The God who was more than enough for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is more than enough for us. The Lord who was the healer, sanctifier, provider, shepherd, and the ever-present God then is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

So, by faith, we dig past the dirt the devil and his crowd have used to keep mankind from the life-giving water in the well, until it begins to bubble up within us and flow out of us. As Isaac called the wells by the same name his father had given them, so do we. Our fathers knew the power of God, called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. They knew God as a deliverer and miracle worker. We say the same thing, declaring it plainly and openly.

And the same God who delivered the demoniacs, healed the blind men, and raised Lazarus from the dead, is at work today. Confirming his word with accompanying signs and wonders.

Revival Characteristics (Part One)

Great_Awakening

Every spiritual awakening, revival, or whatever you’d like to call it, has certain visible characteristics. These are the results of people coming face to face with their idol, and their God. I’ll mention three distinguishing characteristics that will be demonstrated before and during a spiritual awakening.

Altars are rebuilt

Places sanctified for prayer and worship – OPEN PORTALS FOR GOD’S POWER

Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord… Genesis 12:7-9 NKJV

Abram (Abraham) built altars to the Lord. They were used in worship, and in memorializing, or helping them and their offspring, remember what God had done and what he had promised to do.

Jacob, Abram’s grandson, built an altar at the same place his grandfather had many years prior.

Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” (see Genesis 28)

…And they journeyed, and the terror of God was upon the cities that were all around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan… And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother. Genesis 35:1-7 NKJV

God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is God to each generation, not just God to the past. He is wanting to do great things in and through each generation, whether it’s the Boomers or the Millennials. But each generation must build upon the altars of their godly forefathers. Or, and probably more accurately, rebuild the altars that have fallen into disrepair due primarily to neglect.

The “old-time prayer meetings” are such altars. Every move of God begins with God and man, Heaven and Earth, meeting together in fervent prayer. Today’s no different.

The prayers of the upright are God’s delight (Proverbs 15).

A Prophetic Word…

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I believe this is a word from the Lord:

A shaking is coming upon this land; the land of the free and the home of the brave. A land that is more brazen than brave, and more in bondage than free. This shaking, which will affect each and every person, rich and poor, young and old, will help right the wrongs done specifically in the Lord’s Name, yet against His Kingdom.

For He will display what His grace is really about. He will reveal His power to free the addict, but will call into judgment the things permitted and proclaimed as His will, but have only been the will of worldly-minded pastors and preachers. He will manifest to each person who hungers for freedom, the grace that frees them. But He will correct those who believe God’s grace is their license to pamper the flesh.

The coming shaking will identify and separate truth from error. It is part of the laundering process required to remove spot and blemish.

Anything and everything this nation is holding to, apart from the Lord, will be shaken from their grip, whether things or thoughts. It will be only for a short while, and when it stops many will grab hold of the same things as before. However…

Many, many prodigals shall be shaken off of their bunks, out from under their bridges, and released from the snares that have held them for years. They shall come to their senses, and shall see Jesus as the real and only Lover of their soul. They shall be shaken from the worldly trees they have joined themselves to. They shall fall like overripe fruit. They shall release their hold, and the world’s hold shall be released from them.

Shaking, shaking, shaking. Wind blowing, rain falling, hearts failing; but His Kingdom will remain and His prodigals shall return.

Spiritual doors will fall off their hinges, leaving wide open opportunities for God’s people to enter areas previously blocked. His Power and His Word shall be carried into these shaken places and new life will spring up. Yes, the prodigals are everywhere, hiding in their world of make-believe; but He has not forgotten them, and He knows exactly where they are. And they will come. Yes, they will come.

So release this word into their lives; by faith call them forth. Prepare your hearts for the shaking, and for the prodigal’s return.

Yearn for the prodigal. Believe for the prodigal. Embrace the prodigal – and you will embrace God’s restorative love. For understand this: He is calling the prodigals to come home. He is running after them. He is leaving the ninety nine to rescue the one. And He will find them.

And so will you.

As for the timing of the shaking, it’s already being staged. But within 14 months the shaking’s major effects shall be witnessed. There will be some news agencies that will refer to the shaken economy, the shaken weather patterns, and societal turmoil as an earthquake which cannot be seen or heard, but is being felt across the nation. Race issues will again be a hot issue; because it has not been resolved in His church. But He is forcing us to face it and resolve it.

For those whose hands are in His, you have nothing to fear. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. You can boldly say, the Lord is my helper; I will not fear. But if you feel things in your life shaking, release them to Jesus. Be free.

Smile, child. And warm your heart to His plans, His purposes, His gifts and callings… and His prodigals.

They’re coming home.

The more people struggle against it, the worse it will be. Defiance to His shaking will bring about certain ruin. Not right away. But as certain as the sun rises in the morning, ruin will come.

People of God, begin NOW to loosen your worldly grip, the lust for sensual entertainment, and your adulterous relationship with the world. Let it go, and discover how to love the world as He does.

Amen.

“His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise. Rays of light flash from his hands, where his awesome power is hidden. Pestilence marches before him; plague follows close behind. When he stops, the earth shakes. When he looks, the nations tremble. He shatters the everlasting mountains and levels the eternal hills. He is the Eternal One.” (Habakkuk 3:4-6 NLT)

Handwriting on the Wall

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The handwriting is on the wall.

And the hand that wrote, “mene, mene, tekel, upharsin”, is the same hand that has drawn a line in the sand of our society.

God had a message for the Babylonian King Belshazzar (Daniel, chapter 5). As the prophet of God interpreted the Divine word, the king was left with no doubt to its meaning. But did it bother him? No! Instead of repenting, he proudly told Daniel about the great position he was promoting him to. The king missed the point completely! The handwriting didn’t change the king, so instead, it testified against him.

Belshazzar had witnessed examples of humility in the past; even his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar humbled himself and acknowledged the Most High God as the Ultimate Ruler. He knew of godly men; men such as Daniel. He had ample time to turn from his wicked ways and to humble himself before the Mighty God of Israel. But he was above such acts of contrition. He was so full of himself, there was only one thing that could conquer his ugly pride; and that was death.

He wouldn’t listen to the prophet; he refused to acknowledge his arrogant pride, so God let the king’s hourglass run out of sand.

Now a line has been drawn in our society’s sandy foundation! God is saying to this nation, “enough is enough!”

The line represents the end of His “tolerance.”

You may say, “But I thought God was slow to anger, and not willing that anyone perish”.

He IS slow to anger. He IS NOT willing that anyone perish. But what else can He do?

America must repent of its pride and arrogance. God RESISTS (fights against) the proud, but comes to the aid of the humble.

American political and civic leaders, from President Barak Obama to the mayor of Hicksville, USA; you must humble yourselves before God. Humility before fellow Americans is a good place to begin.

American spiritual leaders, whether a mighty Apostle who carries a Divine “touch”, or the pastor of a church with only two people; you ALL must recognize the line in the sand.

This society has become intoxicated with self! As Belshazzar shamelessly used the vessels of gold, which were once dedicated to the work of God, to feed the immoral cravings of himself and his guests, so America shamelessly mocks God, His people, His work, and His institution, the church. This society is consumed with eliminating all traces, even the minutest sign, of God.

Many churches have fallen prey to the spirit of the age; re-create God into the image of fallen, sinful man. Market God as One Who cares for people, but doesn’t care what they do or believe. Anything goes with a loving God. But that lie will soon require payment in full. The wages of sin is death. Period. And it is not negotiable.

Yes, the line has been drawn by the finger of God. See it in the sand; the sand America has chosen to use as its societal foundation. They hear the words of Jesus, along with the leaders of other religions, and mix them all together. For diversity’s sake, of course. Then, they choose the parts of each religion they like, understand, are more comfortable with, and throw the rest away.

And then they wonder why their life, and their nation, is falling apart!

The line has been drawn. Belshazzar, will you heed the warning? Merry men and women intoxicated with power and pride, will you acknowledge your inadequacies and bankrupt morals? Will you realize, before it’s too late, there’s only one way for this nation, this society, to recover?

Americans of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and race: your hope doesn’t depend on who wins an election, or who has the majority in Congress.

Continue to step up to the line and challenge God if you’d like. But don’t be deceived. God is not mocked. Nor will He compromise His character and integrity because someone said He isn’t real.

Wake up America. Put down the cup, Belshazzar. Rend your heart, oh merry ones, and not your garments.

The handwriting’s on the wall; a line’s been drawn in the sand.

The Finger of God has written, “It’s time.”


“And you his (Nebuchadnezzar’s) [grand]son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

“Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians…

“That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed…” (Daniel 5:22-31 ESV)

Hey, Jude!

20130807-223048.jpgEver hear of the rock and roll group called The Beatles? Of course you have! As a teenager, and like millions of other teens, I listened to them every chance I could. And, like it or not, their music spoke directly to the heart of their generation, the culture of the day.

From simple songs about love, to complex pieces laced with veiled references to the drug world, their lyrics told tales of people with names like Rita, Lucy, Michelle, and Maxwell. They gave the world a new way to sing “Happy Birthday”, revealed a thing or two about Walrus’, took us on a Magical Mystery Tour, and encouraged us all to just “Let It Be.” And we can’t forget the cryptic cover of the “Abbey Road” LP; the one with Ringo as the preacher, John as God, Paul as the deceased, and George as the grave digger – as the story goes.

Yes, they spoke to their generation, for better or worse, and most of us listened and bought their message.

Ever hear of a guy named Jude? Not the guy the Beatles sang about; this guy was a brother of Jesus and a writer of a very small letter in the New Testament. He had much to say to his generation, as well. And although his letter is about 2000 years old, the message he gave then is probably better suited for this generation!

Ever read his letter? It begins nice and friendly; cordial, in a way. But things get pretty hot real quick. I mean, he starts writing and warning people to stand up, contend, for the faith. Fight for the Truth, the Gospel. Why, because there’s a time coming when all “hell is gonna break loose!”

He warns of judgment to come, the danger of “backsliding”, and the need to keep “built up on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” He uses the word “ungodly” so many times you begin to get the idea God isn’t very pleased with a lot of people who call themselves Christians; the ones who act like they’ve never met Jesus. For instance:


“But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

“Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” (Jude 1:5-13 NKJV)

See what I mean? “Having saved people…destroyed those who did not believe”, and “while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves.” These people hung out with the believers, but…

Jude, poor Jude. He’s not a very popular guy! Definitely not as popular as the Beatles! And his message doesn’t attract too many people today, either. In fact, most of the “church world” would just as soon ignore the message of Jude.

Here’s a little ditty that resonates with a lot of the modern “saints”. Feel free to sing along!

Hey, Jude,
I can’t believe
You’d take a Good God
And make Him bitter
Remember,
God is love and so kind
I am offended by your letter

Hey, Jude,
Why are you mad?
Where’s the love, man
Why be so hateful?
Remember,
God’s love and grace is for all
He wouldn’t send a soul to hell.

So why the angry rhetoric,
You know, I’m sick
Of people who always speak so ugly
Why can’t we all just get along
Would it be wrong?
To talk of the good, and not the ungodly

Hey, Jude,
You’re such a fool,
To believe those tales of fiction,
Remember,
The thought of angels in chains
Is but a vivid imagination

So let them out and let them go
Those words of woe
They only embarrass Christian brothers
Lighten up your voice of gloom
Your words of doom
And let’s all love one another…

Hey, Jude,
Though I’m your friend
Feel that church has made you bitter
Remember,
It’s not as bad as it seems
So take your sad notes, and make them better, better, better…

Yep, poor old Jude. Too bad he didn’t realize this generation doesn’t care for such negativity. If he’d only gotten the memo, and had a dynamic agent, he just might have connected to the believers of the 21st Century.

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, hey Jude!

Are You Teachable?

Know-it-alls come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, ages, and experiences. The world is full of them, in case you haven’t noticed. No matter what the subject, some people are experts on everything!

Maybe you’ve never met a know-it-all. Good for you. But just wait, you probably will one of these days. Of course, everyone goes through a period of being ultra smart. It’s part of growing up. It happens usually during the teenage years (which could include the “spiritual teenage years”). Unfortunately, some people never grow out of it.

How about you? Are you teachable?

The word “teach” is a very important biblical word. It’s used over 100 times, most of it pertaining to being taught by the Lord. People read verses about being taught by the Lord and think it gives them the right to say, “God’s my teacher. I don’t need any man to teach me!” They use the verses as an excuse to be unteachable. Here’s a hot one for you…

If someone will NOT receive teaching from anyone but God, they WILL NOT receive teaching from God.

A favorite scripture verse for the “unteachable” is found in 1 John 2:27, “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

“See”, they say, “No one needs to teach me anything; the Holy Spirit is the Only One I need.” But the same Spirit has placed us into a Body; a Body with different parts, different gifts, different callings, different offices…DIFFERENT! We NEED DIFFERENT! He has placed us into a Body into which He has also placed…”Pastors and Teachers”…for the perfecting of the saints…

So you don’t believe me, eh? You don’t agree with my statement? You don’t agree that a person has to receive teaching from an individual or else they’re really not teachable? Allow me to explain.

Different instructions, dealing specifically with teaching and learning, have been given to us throughout the Word of God. Here are some examples:

“Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

“And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.”

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

“Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths”

“Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”

“Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.”

“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.”

“And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”

“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

“yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.”

“These things command and teach.”

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient…”

“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

Sorry, no scripture references. Easy to find using a concordance, though…

Anyway, did you notice all the references to teaching? It’s rather a simple concept, actually. How else can someone learn if they can’t be taught? And for someone to be taught, they must be teachable!

It’s like this: to add water to a glass, the glass can’t be full. Someone’s who’s teachable has room in their glass. Someone who is UNTEACHABLE THINKS their glass is already full.

We will NEVER get so smart we can’t or shouldn’t learn something.

I’ve watched people. I’ve watched them grow in God, grow in fellowship and relationship with others, and then I’ve seen them become so SMART and SPIRITUAL they quit learning and developing in the things of God. They pull themselves and their families out of church, out of fellowship with others who could help encourage them. I’ve contacted them afterward. They start complaining about all the hypocrites, the shallowness of the pastor, the volume of the music. No one seems to care. And since they’ve been reading the Bible, they can lead their family just fine. They’re anointed just as much as the pastor is. (Kind of reminds of Korah, in the book of Numbers)

Unfortunately, and it never fails, a year later or so the family is a mess, and the unteachable one is still bad mouthing everyone but himself. You know what? I’d rather sit and listen to a smelly ol’ catfish growl than to be in the company of someone who isn’t teachable. How about you?

A person who won’t be taught loves to hear themselves talk. They love their opinions, and couldn’t care less about what anyone else might have to say.

Years ago, as I was deep into my know-it-all stage of spiritual growth, we attended a little church in Altoona, Iowa. Our pastor was Brother Anderson, and he has since gone on to be with Jesus. Anyway, he sure was a patient man. I know. I helped him develop patience by the way I acted. Now I didn’t see it at the time, but looking back, I was really a know-it-all. Yes, I was hungry for God and His Word, wanted to grow and help others; but I was a know-it-all. I really had a hard time listening to sermons that weren’t as “deep” as I felt they should be. Hard for someone like me to learn anything from anyone! Too busy comparing what I heard with what I “knew” to be correct.

Well, back to my pastor and I. At that time there was a family in the church whose daughter became extremely ill and ended up in the hospital for an extended period.

Since I was quite the caring, spiritual giant, I asked the pastor what he thought I could do to help the family.

“Well, I would recommend going to the hospital and sit with the family. Encourage them by just being there. Visit with them, pray with them, and stay out of the nurse’s way.”

My spiritual response was, “I really thought I should bring some Kenneth Copeland tapes, a tape player, and my Bible so I could pump them full of the Word of God and faith.”

One of the few times he showed his frustration with my “billowed sails of knowledge” was after my response. I’m sure he tried, but he just couldn’t hold it in. He could only temper his reaction which were these words, “If you didn’t want my opinion, why did you ask?”

I learned something at that moment. Several things, in fact. One, I really didn’t know as much as I thought. Two, others have a lot more knowledge and experience about things than I do. Three, if I’m really going to grow in the Lord, I’d better listen more than I talk. Four, if I don’t receive the ministry of the one God has put into my life, then I won’t receive ministry from God.

Ouch!

So, when’s the last time you actually allowed someone to teach you what you really need to do in order to: get through a certain situation, deal with a particular co-worker, handle problems with your kids, parents, or spouse…

and when’s the last time you actually followed their advice?

When was the last time you admitted to yourself that you really aren’t the brain you’d like people to think you are?

Why not do it now? Look into mirror and say, You, in the mirror! Look at me while I’m talking to you. You know some things, but you don’t know all things. You need to be, YOU WILL BE, teachable. You will learn from God, from your pastor, from your brothers and sisters in the Lord. You will learn from enjoyable moments, and you will learn during seasons of sorrow. You will learn how to be content with little, and you’ll learn how to abound with plenty. You’ll learn God CAN make it without you, BUT He’d rather not have to. You WILL LEARN that in order to listen to other’s wisdom, you must clamp your mouth shut. Shut mouth, open heart.
You’ll learn there’s a season to give to others knowledge, and a season to allow others to pour into you.

You, in the mirror, YOU WILL BE TEACHABLE – and thus you’ll be an asset to the Kingdom of God; and especially to the King.”

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-30 NKJV

Keep On Truckin’

20130616-211515.jpgWay back in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s, when I was a hippie-wannabe, there was a phrase floating around that fit me to a “T”. The phrase was “Keep On Truckin’!”

It meant something like, “just keep doing what ever you feel is the cool, far out, groovy, right on, hip thing to do. Don’t stop just because the Establishment doesn’t approve. Stay with it, outlast the squares and the creeps. Be your own freaky self, paint your own picture, carve your own initials. Sing your own song, write your own story, live your own life!”

Keep on truckin’!

It went well with my “traveling” lifestyle; hitch hiking here and there, city to city, just because I could. I thought of myself as a free spirit, a cool freak (for sure, man). I was a happening cat, dude. The Establishment was always harassing me, though. Something about me being only 16 years old. Some people just never could understand.

A lot has changed in my life since then. I’m no longer the hippie-wannabe; I’m actually part of the Establishment (gasp!). The things I used to pursue (like becoming a rock and roll star) don’t have the pull on me they once had. As a Christian, my focus is no longer on “doing my own thing”, but it is “finding out what pleases The Lord”. I still get to be my own freaky self, but the emphasis isn’t centered on being freaky; just on being who God wants me to be. Of course, there will always be some who consider me freaky (translated=weird).

So, a lot has changed, but the phrase “Keep on truckin'” is still just as fitting today as it was 40 years ago. Actually, it is much more appropriate!

This passage in 2 Timothy says it best: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:3-5 ESV)

The way things are in the world, and the way people are ignoring God’s Truth, it is very tempting to pack up all my gear, say a final prayer for the world, and lay low until Jesus comes. To do the bare minimum, as far as any Kingdom work is concerned, pacing myself so as not to exert too much energy, lest I run out too soon. To say to myself, God, and anyone who’ll listen, “Why should I continually wear myself out for people who don’t appreciate it anyway? They don’t seem to mind they’re going to hell; why should I knock myself out for them?”

And in the midst of all those thoughts I hear The Lord say, “Son, keep on truckin’!”

The Apostle Paul wasn’t around during the 1960’s and ’70’s, so he said it a little bit different: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 ESV)

The message is clear, no matter how it’s said. “Just keep doing what ever you feel is the cool, far out, groovy, right on, hip thing to do. Don’t stop just because the Establishment doesn’t approve. Stay with it, outlast the squares and the creeps. Be your own freaky self, paint your own picture, carve your own initials. Sing your own song, write your own story, live your own life…FOR THE GLORY OF GOD!

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”(Colossians 3:17 ESV)

And, “KEEP ON TRUCKIN’!”

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