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!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

We have to deal with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly…BUT it is better if we see them as they are!

Prov 8:6-9 Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right, for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception. My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge.

Once I was golfing with a friend. I knew the golf course, he did not. He had hit into a valley, so he asked me to stand at the top of the hill in line with the green so he could aim. I smiled and said ok. He hit a tremendous shot. As he walked up the hill his eyes began to open wide as he saw that between me and the green was a large pond. I told him his ball landed about half way out in the middle. My ball was over to the left on the fairway. He had thought I had hooked my shot. He looked at me and said "why didn't you tell me there was a pond between me and the green?" I smiled and said "You didn't ask!" This is the difference between the message between Wisdom and the world. Wisdom has no ulterior motives, no hidden agenda.

Notice the words used to describe the difference: Everything I say is right; I speak the truth; wholesome; plain; clear. Wisdom is what you see, it is objective, not is what it is. You either listen and follow or ignore and reject.  

Wisdom compares itself to the world's message: I detest every kind of deception; Devious; Crooked. The world's message is tailored to lead each person to an end that appears good, but there is a hidden agenda that is built on deception.

Based on those facts, it justifies Wisdom's claim that what it has to share is important. Why? Whatever is not based on Truth, leads to a life outside the realm of reality. A life that functions in a false reality will never experience the quality life that God intended and is going to experience a rude awakening in the end when each person will be confronted with the Truth by our Maker. Wisdom's goal and desire is to keep our feet firmly planted in reality so we can walk with our Lord through the good, the bad and the ugly of life. 

Then, and only then can we be empowered by the Spirit of God to enjoy the "good" to its fullest; to learn the maximum through the "bad" and to see the beauty even when the view from our eyes seems "ugly". God's redeeming abilities can teach us how to see deeper than just the surface. As Wisdom matures us and refines our spiritual eyes, the wonders and beauty of this world and life will become our reality. Open your heart to His wisdom, in turn His wisdom will open your eyes to the real world!

Oh...I did let my friend drop another ball and hit again. He had a better score on that hole than I did. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Decision Making 101

Scripture Read: Judges 8:4-9 Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing. He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who are following me, for they are weary, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” The leaders of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should give bread to your army?” Gideon said, “All right, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will thrash your bodies with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.” He went up from there to Penuel and spoke similarly to them; and the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered. So he spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, “When I return safely, I will tear down this tower.”

Application: How sad it is when we allow our decisions to be guided by circumstances only! I believe wisdom requires that circumstances be included in our decision making process, however, when they become the determining factor we throw true faith out the door and fall prey to the mercy of chance...which is no mercy at all! 
As children of God we must keep before us at all times that our God does not think like we think. He is not limited the way we are limited. He does not see with human eyes but divine ones, nor is His knowledge finite like ours is. Every decision we face is under His ultimate control and while we should evaluate all the circumstances surrounding that decision, we must first and foremost consider what our Lord would desire us to do. As we bring the decision before Him in prayer and seek counsel from His Word and godly friends, we need to be asking key questions such as; what will glorify God in this decision; how will this make me more Christ-like; is there any Scripture that addresses this directly...and yes, even, what do I desire? God truly does desire to give us the desire of our hearts, the problem is that in our fallen state our heart cannot be trusted to desire that which is truly best for us.  

Jeremiah 17:9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?

The journey God takes us on during our decision making process is geared to weed our heart of the desires the flesh pushes so hard to have. This is a relentless hunger and war that will continue until the day we are with the Lord.

Galatians 5:17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

The leaders of Penuel and of Succoth were short sighted and will pay the price as we will see. Let’s make sure we do not live the same way. Counting the cost of a decision does include considering the circumstances, but it weighs all the circumstances against the will of an Almighty, All Loving and All Knowing God!

Meditation Questions: When making a decision, what factors do you consider? How much weight do you give each factor? Why? Do you seek counsel? From where? What do you do when the circumstances seem to be dictating a direction that you have no peace with? What does that say? Have you ever made a decision based solely on circumstances? What happened? Do you think it was wise? If everything worked out, does that still make that a wise decision? How do you seek the Lord to find out His heart? Describe what that process looks like.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Have you really asked God, or just your image of Him?

Probing Proverbs: 8:4-5 “I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people. You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding.

This passage encourages me so much; it really shows the heart of our Lord. Notice, first the call is to all. This is important because the world has accused our God of playing favorites. That is due to a misunderstanding of God calling out a nation of His own. God does not “favor” Israel; He has bestowed a special stewardship on her that comes with blessings and clear accountabilities. That is also true about the “Church” during this age. God does not love or care more for Israelites or Christians than He does for any other of the humans He created. ALL were made in His image. He decided based on His wisdom that He would select a group to represent Him to the world. When they follow, great blessings come from Him and anyone that has joined in that Truth experience the same blessings. When they rebel and refuse to follow, they receive the consequences their decisions brought. 
Again, let’s remember, if we are claiming to be honest, the accusation: “How can God...” is in reality an oxymoron! If we see that He is God than He can do whatever He wants. We don’t see Him as that, we see Him more as a glorified human and we have the right to challenge Him anytime we desire. If God is GOD...that states it all. He could do anything He wants and we have no right to raise any objection. Due to His tremendous grace, He has afforded us the right to not only question Him, but also reject Him and even defy Him. What He has not done is wave the consequences for our decisions. In Scripture we see that when we approach our God with questions...remembering Who we are talking to, He is very open and desirous of us entering into a dialogue with Him. He does not always give us the answer...Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law... for various reasons that He has. However, He does show in many ways that it is not wrong to come to Him with questions. Doubts are another matter, and accusations are on a totally different playing field. God loves all His creation equally. He chose Israel to share the opportunity of a deeper relationship with Him and now He has chosen the Church. So Wisdom is calling out to ALL, not some. The other aspect that encourages my heart in this passage is how Wisdom does not insult or demean those without wisdom, instead Wisdom admonishes in an encouraging way. Notice; Wisdom does not chastise the “simple” or “foolish” but encourages the right choice. The simple need to USE good judgment and the foolish need to SHOW some understanding. 
The incredible truth here is that the very One encouraging these actions is also the One that will supply that “good judgment” and “understanding”...IF the ones hearing will just obey. What is that obedience? It’s not climbing a mountain, or conquering a kingdom, or some other incredible work or task that the false god’s of this world place on their followers. It is simply humbling our heart and ASKING for wisdom!

James 1:5–8 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Are you in need of wise counsel and advice? Humble your heart and go to God. Ask Him for His thoughts; He loves to guide those that depend on Him!