CAREFUL: YOU MAY GET WHAT YOU ASK FOR

FEBRUARY 14, 2019

In Luke 15 there is the story of what we refer to as the Prodigal Son.  In verse 12 it states that the younger of two sons asked his father to give him the portion of goods that fell to him.  Then it states in the next verse, “And he (the father) divided unto them HIS living.”


It was customary that when the father died, his living would be divided among the surviving sons; the eldest receiving the bigger share.  This younger son was making a very poor decision.  To ask such a thing was essentially saying to his father, you are dead to me, give me my share of your living.  


Notice it states that what was given to the son was what the father had worked hard for all his life.  Most of what the son was going to receive, he did not earn.  The father knew the younger son was making a foolish decision but because he loved his son, the father gave the son what he asked for.


In the Old Testament we read of a similar type of foolish request.  Moses sent out 12 men to spy out the land that the Lord told them to go and possess.  10 of the returning spies gave an evil report that said that they could never be able to conquer the inhabitants of the land.  Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb said that because the Lord was with them, they could easily defeat the inhabitants and possess the land.


The people refused to have faith in the promise of the Lord and murmured and complained.  They would not go forward to possess the land.  They were so ardent about their demand they were ready to stone Moses.  The Lord was about to wipe them out but because of the cries of Moses unto the Lord, God spared them.


However, because they were so determined to stay where they were, the Lord gave them what they asked for.


In Numbers 14: 28  the Lord replies to their demand, “Say unto them, as truly as I live, saith the Lord, as you have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you.”


Because they asked for it, God gave them what they foolishly asked for.  Another very poor decision.  They remained in that land another forty years until what the Lord proclaimed took place.  


Their carcasses fell in that wilderness. Everyone one of them from twenty years old and upward died in the wilderness in which they asked to stay.  They never saw the land, flowing with milk and honey promised to them by the Lord.


Why? Because they got what they asked for.  Lesson in both of these stories: Be careful what you ask you.  Be careful of those you things you so stubbornly demand, because as Prov. 18: 21 states, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”


Proverbs 13: 2 also states that we will eat good (or bad) by the fruit of our mouths.



Be careful for what you ask; because you will get that for which you ask.

LIVING THE KINGDOM OF GOD

FEBRUARY 5, 2019

In Matthew 6: 33, Jesus makes an incredible and profound statement, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these thing shall be added unto you.”


The things that He said would be added unto us were those things we worry about not getting.  They were then and still somewhat today things concerning our needs or our provision.  Back in Jesus day getting enough food to eat was crucial.  Getting water to drink was very crucial also.  The only way you got water to drink was to find a well and hopefully be able to get your share of water for that day.  Competition was brutal. 


Then there was the clothing you needed to keep you warm or sandals to cover your feet.  Foot ailments in that day were common among the people who had to walk on dusty, dirty and rough roads.  


Worry, worry, worry!  So the issue Jesus was addressing was worry.  He was telling them to seek first the kingdom of God and those things for which they were worrying about would be provided by God if we followed the principles of the kingdom of God.  In this case faith and trust in our loving Father.


There are three kingdoms operating simultaneously on this earth.  The kingdom of darkness which consists of all kinds of evil: sickness, disease, poverty, and the various forms of fear like worry, depression, anxiety or anger.  The ruler of that kingdom is Satan.

Next we have the kingdom of man.  That consists of man’s ways of thinking, speaking and living.  People without God operate by living according to what they see, feel and hear.  They are living according to what their life’s experiences and man’s education and training has taught them.  Truth is based on man’s rationale and thinking.


Jesus introduces us to a new type of living: living according to the principles of the kingdom of God.  This is life according to God’s way of thinking, speaking and living.  Jesus lived according to the kingdom of God principles such as faith and trust in God.  

Life according to the Kingdom of God is living a life that thinks, speaks, acts and reacts not according to our emotions, education, experiences or what man says, but according to the Word of God. 


The Bible is our instruction manual on Kingdom of God living.  How to think, speak, act and react as God would react.  Who is our perfect example to follow?  Jesus.  Jesus didn’t think, speak, act or react like others.  He lived by Kingdom principles.  


Rom. 12: 2 tells us what the believers’ life on this earth is all about: transformation .  We are being instructed not to be conformed to this world.  In other words don’t be conformed to this world’s ways of thinking, speaking, acting and reacting.  We are to be transformed.  How?  By the renewing of our minds to what the Word of God says.  


Listen to the teachings of Jesus who teaches how to transform ourselves from man’s ways to God’s ways:  Fear to faith and worry to trust.


Don’t read your Bible just for education but for transformation.   Seek first, the Kingdom of God and all these wonderful things will be added unto you.


-Pastor Jim

POWER OVER THE STORMS OF LIFE

January 30, 2019

There is a tremendous lesson to be learned in the account of a storm encountered by the disciples described in Mark 4:37 – 41.


The disciples were experiencing a mega storm.  Their mode of transportation to get where they were commanded to go began to fill with water and they were filled with fear that they were going to perish.


However, Jesus referred to as the Word of God in John 1:1, who was made flesh and dwelt among us (vs. 14) was asleep in the hinder part of the ship.  It wasn’t until they awoke Him in terror, believing they were about to die, that the Word arose and spoke and the storm ceased.


Isn’t it interesting that Mark 4:40 records that after Jesus rebuked the storm it states that the disciples feared exceedingly.  They were actually more afraid of the power that stopped the storm than they were of the storm itself.  


After Jesus rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, peace, be still, He asked His disciples “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Fear is the opposite of faith and trust.  They had more faith and trust in the power of the storm to kill them then the Word of God which was right there with them.


The fact is this:  the power of the Word is greater than any storm you will ever face in this life.  Just as Jesus was in the same storm with them, the Word of God is ever with us.  What activates the power of that Word over any storm in your life is your faith and trust in the power of that Word.  


Just as Jesus spoke to render that storm powerless to harm them, we too can speak the Word of God to the storms we will face in life.  Though you may not always see an immediate result, the Word that God has spoken WILL BE.  


The Lord says to us in Isaiah 55:11 “So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void (without producing any effect, useless) but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Amplified Bible)


Storms come to all believers.  Their goal is to cause you to fear; to test and shake your faith and trust in the Word of God.  So when the storm strikes, stand up in your boat and take authority over that devil and declare the Word of God.  It WILL BE!!  Your tongue is the launching pad of the power of God to render ineffective and powerless every attack of the enemy.


-Pastor Jim

EXPERIENTIAL OVERLOAD

Recently I have been teaching on how God has always provided a place He referred to as a place flowing with milk and honey.  The Israelites failed to possess this land because they saw giants in the land and failed to believe that God would give them the ability to overcome all and every obstacle that would oppose them.


Jesus tells us in John 10: 10 that we have been given the ability to have life and have it abundantly.  One translation says we have the possibility of experiencing life to its fullest.


I see that as God’s promise to us as believers that we too can possess a place “flowing with milk and honey.”  The book of Hebrews calls it a place of rest.

The human model of how we become who we are is the following: body – mind – spirit.  Our bodies experience feelings, emotions, circumstances, experiences, ups and downs, etc. which influence how we interpret things.  Our minds become programmed by our experiences in life.  We form opinions, prejudices, etc. by what we experience in life.  Our spirits, the inner most parts of us, are formed by what we have experienced throughout our lives.


According to the human model of personal formation we are what we have experienced in life and how others have influenced our thinking.


By God’s design we have a limited life span with experiences we will PERSONALLY have to face in life: OUR successes, OUR failures, deaths of those with whom we have come to know and love in life by close, physical, face to face relationships, etc.  All these experiences have to do with us, PERSONALLY.


God has given us the ability even as non-Christians to handle what we experience, PERSONALLY.


Sadly today, our personal experiences are not the only things that will form us.  Social media: texts, emails and all the other social media avenues are bombarding us with the experiences of others.


Facebook is especially an avenue of what I call Experiential Overload.  No longer do I have to face my personal experiences which affect my life but the experiences of all my so-called Facebook friends.


True personal communication is over 90% body language and tone of voice, both of which are not experienced by social media communication.  However we will experience the successes, joys, failures, tragedies, heartbreaks, pain and sufferings of all those individuals who post their own personal life experiences.


We are bombarded by the experiences, both good and bad, of our so-called Facebook friends.  Their experiences, their opinions and especially their expressed feelings toward us have an incredible influence on our feelings and emotions.


We were designed to handle the experiences of the limited people we come to know by personal contact in our lives.  We were never designed to handle the incredible amount of experiences of all those who we call friends on social media.


I am always amazed how our younger generation is mesmerized by social media.  Is it no wonder that this generation is facing such mental issues as depression, anxiety, worry and fear.


They are being bombarded by the problems and bad experiences of others.  That is what I have coined as Experiential Overload.

God has given us a remedy for Experiential Overload.


God’s model for our formation is different than man’s model.  God had provided a place of rest, peace and happiness for us even though we will to face our personal challenges and experiences.


I will explain this wonderful place and how to get there in my next blog.


-Pastor Jim