Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It’s Not Always What Is Done, What Is NOT Done Can Be The Problem

Scripture Read: Judges 1:1 Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of the LORD, saying, "Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?"

Application: Judges 1 begins after the death of Joshua. What is very important about this chapter is what "did not" happen. God told the people the land was theirs and they were to drive out ALL the inhabitants. God knew the land had to be totally cleaned out of all of the idolatry. Yet as we read of the exploits of Israel we see -

But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites, But Manasseh did not take possession of ... so the Canaanites persisted in living in that land,  It came about when Israel became strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely, Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites... so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them, Zebulun did not drive out the the Canaanites lived among them,  Asher did not drive out the inhabitants...So the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out, Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants

When something is done only half way - it often comes back to bite you. This is where we see the difference of talking about following the Lord, versus really following the Lord. Talk won't get us there, we may start out well, but we will fade towards the finish. We need to begin with action to our talk, as time presses on our obedience becomes a lifestyle and that makes it much more difficult for the flesh to ever get a foothold again.

Judges 2: 1-5 Now the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, I will never break My covenant with you, and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? Therefore I also said, I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.   When the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. So they named that place Bochim; and there they sacrificed to the Lord.

God then confronts the people and His accusation in verse 2 is quite pointed - "you have not obeyed me; what is this you have done" God knows their failure to obey all the way is going to effect more than just themselves. In verse 3 the descriptions "thorns in your sides" and "their gods will be a snare to you" sets the tone for the rest of this period of history in Israel. We are told in the NT that these things should be examples to us so we do not make the same mistakes. Half obedience is disobedience! Go all the way, fully do what the Lord has asked you to do.

Meditation Questions: Is there anything in your life that you know God wants finished? What are you doing about that? What does your answer show you? What does it mean to obey all the way? What does it mean to finish well? What can you do to make sure that happens? Do you take the time to allow the Holy Spirit to teach you the lessons that Israel had to learn? How would that help you? Why would that be important?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Being your own Boss can destroy the end product

Scripture Read: Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Application: As we begin to spend some time in Judges we do need to set some context. This verse will be the sad truth that is repeated over and over again. The reality it communicates must be a part of our conscious thought every day. When we choose to walk in our own strength and in the direction we desire, we will repeat the same mistakes Israel did in her history. First we need to look back and understand how close they were to God, so we will never be foolish enough to think this could not happen to us!

In Joshua 24, Joshua reviews the nations history:

In verse 13 the statement of how God's grace was upon Israel is made.  ‘I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.’

Israel did not do anything to deserve the land - it was a gift from God. Then Joshua follows with that great statement that we all know in verse 15 - “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

The people all verbally claim they will follow the Lord - but what is so interesting is that in verse 23 Joshua gives the formula that would lead to that: 23 “Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.

Notice there is a twofold action - they are to separate but in boths directions. They must "put away the foreign gods" and at the same time "incline their hearts to the Lord". This is great counsel for us also. We need to separate from that which is sin, but not stop there. We must move toward that which is righteous! This is not the action that is taken much of the time, we move away from sin, but then just kind of float. What we fail to understand is that if we are not proactive in our spirit to move toward righteous living our flesh will open the back door for sin to once again gain control of our lives.

The Israelites talked big, but as we will see in Judges, their actions were lacking follow through and they paid a terrible price for it. We must guard ourselves from making the same mistake.

Meditation Questions: Since you began a relationship with God, can you see sins that no longer are in your life? Have you seen yourself replace that new areas of your life with works of righteousness? What does your answer show? Is your testimony more about what you don’t do anymore, or about what God has led you to become? What does your answer show you? Have you ever gone before the Lord and told Him that you desire Him to be the “Boss” in everything in your life? Based on your answer; do you need to do it? Do you need to reaffirm it? Do you need to thank Him that you are still there?