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!

Friday, February 8, 2013

God does want you to be wealthy!

Probing Proverbs 8:17-19 “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice. My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than                                                             sterling silver!

Wisdom is unlike God in a very important way. God loves unconditionally and it is He that seeks us out. Yes, God also states that if anyone seeks for Him, they will find Him. We must remember though this is after the fact that He has placed in each man the desire to know His maker and the atonement He had planned before the foundation of the world. God was the One that sought us and loved us first. Wisdom on the other hand is very conditional. Open to all…but given to only those that want! Wisdom does not hide itself from us, nor make it difficult to find. However, Wisdom has a door that is locked. The key to open it is our desire to have what’s inside. More interesting is what we get from Wisdoms treasure is based on how wide we open that door! If we are sloppy or halfhearted, we may only glean a minuscule of the treasure waiting for us. The more fervent our desire to have Wisdom…the wider her door opens for us to gain her treasure. If we understand that our desire is the key to having wisdom, then lets consider the incredible claims Wisdom is making.

Wisdoms claim’s that her gifts are better than gold or silver. Is this true? What would make Wisdom’s gifts more valuable?  Notice, Wisdom gives “riches” and “wealth”, which might include gold and silver. So what makes Wisdom’s wealth so much more valuable than this world’s gold and silver? Consider the “qualifiers” of this wealth; “honor”, “enduring” and “justice”. To be materially rich while retaining your honor is quite a statement. So many of the wealthy gained their wealth by crushing others during their climb up the financial mountain. Millions of people have suffered and died due to the hunger of some for gain. To reach the financial mountaintop honorably is quite a feat! Not only do you have the fruit of your labor, more importantly you have your integrity and can sleep at night with a clear conscience. The silver and gold of this world will soon fade…but Wisdom’s wealth is enduring! What does that mean? 

The emphasis no longer is based on what you possess, but how you acquired it. I once was talking with a very rich relative that treated me like I was interested in him for his money. After he almost openly said that to me, I made it clear that I had no interest in his money, I was concerned about his soul. Then I said, “Some people want to leave this world being known for what they have, I want to leave this world being known for how I got what I have.” Wisdom’s wealth is eternal in its perspective; gold and silver go the way of the dinosaur! What’s most interesting is that this wealth is also tied to “justice”. This brings the proper understanding of what wealth is for and how we should use it. The world hoards wealth; many of the wealthiest never learn how to enjoy their wealth. Wisdom’s wealth not only satisfies the possessor, but they learn how to use it to minister to those who lack. It’s one thing to have a nice home, clothes, food and a warm bed to sleep in at night. Better still, is to have all of that and the knowledge that you took some of the extra that God has blessed you with and shared it with someone less fortunate. Laying your head down to sleep at night knowing that your wealth was used to enable someone that did not have the ability to have a warm bed, home, clothes or food, to now have that brings a peace to your sleep that no gold or silver can bring. Knowing that your wealth is being used to help others hear about how much God loves them and desires a relationship with them brings an inner joy that no financial gain can match!  

Don’t settle for temporal wealth…seek Wisdom and she may give you material wealth, more importantly she will teach you what real wealth is and how to enjoy it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Dark Side of Success

Scripture Read: Judges 8:22-23 then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.”

Application: What an example this passage should be for us! Here, Gideon has stepped out in faith, denied the obvious odds against him in this battle, defeated the enemies of Israel, chastised the brethren that refused aid and personally brought justice for his brothers against their killers. What man would not think he deserved the right to be king over his people? 
This is where we see the difference in an egocentric mindset and a mind that desires God! Gideon felt great about what he had accomplished, but he had no delusion of Who really won the battle. He did not think that his might had delivered Israel! This truth is why we must be even more careful with our successes than our failures! When we fail…the natural outcome for those that are honest is humility. If you are not, it is usually borne from some kind of defensiveness. However, when we are successful it is very easy to begin to think “we are all that!” This reaction is a formula for disaster that may range from missed opportunity to severe judgment! Many look at the history of Israel and wonder why she has had so many struggles. The answer was given and warned by the Lord right before Israel went into the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 8:11–14 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 12 otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

When we are lifted up by success we can begin to believe our own “press”. If we continue down that path…we could be in for a very rude awakening!

Acts 12:21–23 On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. 22 The people kept crying out, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Be careful…your pride can make a meal of you! The next time God blesses you, answers a prayer, gives a victory or someone admires or compliments you…enjoy it! That is good and God desires us to enjoy those positive things. Still, keep a heads up on your ego. When used, as it should be, all the positive things God brings into our lives should be fertilizer for gratefulness and thanksgiving. If not watched though, it can become fertile soil for pride, independence and arrogance.

Meditation Questions: When you receive applause from men, what do you feel? What should you enjoy? Why? What should you be careful of? Why? Do you think God wants us to feel good about the things we do well? Why? Why not? Is God egotistical if He wants us to acknowledge His part in whatever we accomplish? Explain. It sounds right that “God should get the glory” but is that true? Explain. Does God need to be glorified because He craves it? Explain. If He does not crave it, why then does the scripture say we should do everything to the glory of God? Explain. Why is this even important?  

Monday, February 4, 2013

A trio of weapons that no soldier should be without!

Probing Proverbs 8:14-16 Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees. Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous                                                                   judgments.

Wisdom not only brings "Common Sense" to those that seek it. There are three other "treasures" that Wisdom brings to us; let's consider them.


When we think of success what we really need to ask is  - from whose point of view? Many times we get so engulfed in the moment that we do not consider the quality of the "success" we are having. Temporal success is very different from "real" success. What do I mean? If the "success" you have only lasts for a moment, it really is not "success" - it is only an emotional high that fades and leaves no eternal impact. I remember once being in a store when very poor man took the only dollar he had and bought a Lotto ticket. He scratched it and yelled, "I won, I won!"  He had won...TWO MORE TICKETS! He scratched them both to find two more losers. After he tossed them in trash...he said "well at least I finally won!"??? What did he win? Two more chances to lose?

Beloved, the success Wisdom gives is not momentary - it may affect your moment, but more importantly it brings a quality and an outcome that will have an eternal impact. Your business may make money, or not...but if it is successful, it glorified God by the way you managed it, handled the ups and downs and made you more dependent on the Lord.  Your children may not be rich, famous or important in the world's eyes, but if they love God and are walking close to Him, you are a successful parent!


            The power or act of seeing into a situation; The act or result of apprehending the inner nature of things or of seeing intuitively

The insight Wisdom brings is the ability to discern the spiritual truth behind the scenes. Far to many people can only see what is on the surface, but with insight the Holy Spirit can help us understand the deeper truths and impact of a situation. Why live seeing only what the enemy wants you to see or understand? Wisdom will equip you with the ability to understand the eternal perspective of the issue.  


            The quality or state of being strong: Capacity for exertion or endurance: Power to resist force: Power of resisting attack

This is essential for us to understand if we are to live in victory. No matter our discipline or our will power, we cannot overcome the power of the flesh on our own. There is a strength that comes only from Wisdom. Understanding the reality of eternity puts everything into perspective. From that vantage point, you will not take stands or make decisions based on the passing fads, or politically correct issues of the day. Wisdom brings the strength of Truth that really matters now and will still matter 1 billion years from now. That is the strength that allowed men and women to stand their ground in their faith even to the point of martyrdom. This is the strength that is given when we need to forgive even though we don’t feel like it. This is the strength that is given to love others...even our enemies more than ourselves. The strength that is required to do the “right” thing even when it is not the “convenient” thing. Understanding “why” you are doing “what” you are doing produces a strength the enemy cannot overcome.

The greatest leader is the one armed with Wisdom. Equipped with the arsenal of common sense, success, insight and strength, the enemy will have a much more difficult time deceiving you or pushing you into a quick and reactionary decision.