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!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The “NOTS” of Love!

Have you ever felt so anxious that you could describe your stomach as “being tied in Knots”? I want to talk about our heart and how it can be tied in “NOTS”.

Being that it is Valentines, let’s spend some time meditating on love. Let’s look at the opposite first, and then we will contemplate the positive.

1 Cor. 13:1-7 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. [2] And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. [3] And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. [4] Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, [5] does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, [6] does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; [7] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love has many looks – sometimes even difficult looks. When I would have to discipline my son…I would explain that the spanking was going to hurt, but I had to spank him because I loved him. If I did not love him I would just let him continue to do wrong. However, because I did love him I had to show him that wrong actions bring consequences. I never spanked in anger, always and only on the bottom, and only hard enough to make the point, NEVER to damage. Afterwards we would pray and hug. I think I hated it more then he did. One time after it was all over and we prayed and hugged. I was heading out the door and Chris said – “hey dad - you don't have to love me so much!”

Paul teaches us what love is, AND what it is “NOT”. He gives us a list…Let’s look at the “NOTS” of love. Each “NOT” has it’s source in “self” and we will expose each one, so the Lord can help us deal with it.

1 Cor. 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,[1]
1 Cor. 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.[2]
Jealous / Envy:

To be heated or to boil with envy, hatred, anger - in it’s more hostile form – a sense of not wanting others to have things that you want. That’s the real issue, isn’t it?  James said it well:

James 4:2  You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. 

* A feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another.

This is that “Crab mentality” – not wanting anyone to get more than you have, so you pull them down.

The Problem: Self = You are not content - I want what they have!

Brag / Boast: A “self” display!

* To glorify oneself in speech; talk in a self-admiring way.

The Problem: Self = Try to project yourself as more then you are. You have not learned to be joyful in what your Creator has made you, so you try to project an image, making yourself look more than you are.

It’s like the guy that states, “I am a mass transportation engineer” In reality he is a Jeepney or Bus driver! Both honorable jobs and when done for the Lord, it will glorify Him, so why try to make it more than it is?  I was a house painter…an honest one. I really enjoyed when I finished a person’s home and they were pleased with how their home now looked, they felt the price was fair, and I made money to support my family. I did not need to claim that I was “an Artistic Engineer!”

Arrogant / Proud: From a root word that has a primary sense of blowing; 

1 Cor. 8:1 … We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

Col. 2:18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,

* Marked by or arising from a feeling or assumption of one's superiority toward others: making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights;

The Problem - Self = Think you are superior to others. = more important! This is the person that thinks when they leave the room, everyone us just goes on hold until they return. These are the ones that cut into lines, or drive into what lane they want because only what they want matters. They talk on phones during a movie, or decide to have a discussion with a friend, even though someone else is talking at that moment. This is a very subtle attitude; I know I have struggled with it. You are not deliberately trying to be rude or arrogant…the problem is you also are NOT deliberately making sure you are not rude or arrogant!

Let’s stop here…because I think this is enough to chew on for the day. We will look at the other “NOTS” next and then we will ask ourselves, how can we live in a way that what love is NOT, will never come out from us. Spend some time today examining where “self” is expressing itself. Ask the Holy Spirit to search you and show you if you are “jealous”, “boastful” or “proud”. What a great Valentines gift to give to God and those you love…a heart cleansed of these three “NOTS” 

[1]New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (1 Co 13:4). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[2]Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. (2nd ed.) (1 Co 13:4). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.

Monday, February 11, 2013

“Look before you Leap” is wise...but “Pray before you Look” is wiser!

Scripture Read: Judges 8:24-27 Yet Gideon said to them, “I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his spoil.” (For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) They said, “We will surely give them.” So they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil. The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels’ necks. Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household.

Application: We will look with greater detail in a later at what Gideon did here and what it caused. I want to park here for a moment and consider what did not happen here and what we can learn from this. Gideon does not appear to pray and seek the Lord’s wisdom here. If he had, perhaps he would never have allowed this snare to come about. What is our prayer life like? What do we pray for? Let’s consider the words of one of the Bible’s greatest prayer warriors!

Ephesians 3:14–19 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

This prayer of Paul is so powerful! When we pray what do we pray for? We might pray for riches – but are they the same riches Paul is talking about? Notice the source from which everything flows and then notice to what end it is for. What is the fullness of God? Consider …

Fullness - πλήρωμα plḗrōma; to make full, fill, fill up - So that you may be that which is wholly filled by the manifold work of God.[1] [2]

As we meditate on this prayer we must face the fact that the majority of prayers we hear today and perhaps even pray ourselves are requests for material things. That is not wrong, but is it healthy? Paul prays for that which would make us more like God. Notice he makes it clear that our source for what he is asking for is from God Himself. “His glory” & “His Spirit” – with that kind of thinking there can be firm confidence that this prayer will be granted. 

When we pray for what God desires, God will bring it about. That is why – even tough the scripture tells us to be specific with our request, we need to make sure we are still open to God’s desire for that specific request – this is where the “name it - claim it” make their mistake! They try to demand and intimidate God. That will not happen. All of what Paul prays for is focused on the end product, which is that we will be filled with Christ. This word carries with it the idea of completeness also. Not only are we to be filled with the love of Christ, but all the works of God. To have God so dominate our being that we never lose consciousness that we belong to Him and He is our Dad. That is a prayer to pray for! Father fill us with You!

Meditation Questions: Make a list of what God has done in your life. Do you have one? How long is it? What does that say? When was the last time you remembered what God has done in your life before now? What circumstances were you in? What does that say? Do you trust God? How do you know that? How would anyone else know that? Take whatever giant is in your life right now and compare it’s power to the Power you have seen God work in your life. Is your focus on that giant greater than the “Jordan Stones” in your life? Do you know what a Jordan Stone is? (Joshua 4:1-8)  If not, what does that say? If so, what are you going to do about that?

[1] Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
[2] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.