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, March 15, 2013

When the “good times” become the bad times!

Scripture Read: Judges 8:28-35 So Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their heads anymore. And the land was undisturbed for forty years in the days of Gideon. Then Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. Now Gideon had seventy sons who were his direct descendants, for he had many wives. His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. And Gideon the son of Joash died at a ripe old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god. Thus the sons of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; nor did they show kindness to the household of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in accord with all the good that he had done to Israel.

I know the normal reaction toward Israel is shock, and we think “how can these people be sooooooo stubborn?” Keep that question in the back of your mind. First let’s examine what Israel is doing.

Define: Idolator - A person that admires or loves intensely and often blindly an object not usually a subject of worship.

Of course our definition would be more focused: A person that worships anything or anyone except the God of the Bible.

In other-words, finding your dependence from a different source other than God. Whenever we lose a daily dependence on God we need to move quickly to see what has replaced Him. In the wilderness, God had taught Israel to depend everyday on Him for every need they had. Their food only lasted a day, water was supplied through a rock, their clothes did not decay due to God’s sustaining power, even the guidance they needed to know, when to move and in which direction was given at that moment only. This was a forty-year lesson. Yet, God knows how we are made, so he gave them a warning.

Deuteronomy 8:1–14… “Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good… When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today.  For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful!  Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.

What Israel did was – when they were suffering they called out to God. After He delivered them and brought “Good Times” back to them, they would forget Him and return to their sinful ways. Why did they do this? Perhaps a more honest question is “why do I do this?” Because I do…and I am sure you do also. The answer is simple, the solution is simple…but doing it is difficult. Flesh…its all about the flesh! When our flesh suffers it will do anything to relieve that suffering, including yielding to our new nature which will seek God. Once God has shown mercy and forgiven us…we return to a more normal lifestyle…that’s when the flesh will try to flex its muscles again and have its own way. The solution is simple – be filled with the Holy Spirit of God moment by moment.

Galatians 5:16  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

The reason this is difficult is that it requires a disciplined thought life where we must remain God conscious 24/7. That is why it is important to talk to God the moment you wake up for your day. Just go to the throne quickly and ask God to take control of your day. The more God conscious you are through the day, when you do sin, the easier it will be to see it, confess and repent and ask the Spirit to fill (control) you again. When we become complacent in our walk with God – we will do exactly what we saw Israel do. Remember, our God is forgiving, however, when we choose sin, God may chastise and we will also taste the consequence of that sin even if God spares the rod. Let’s learn from Israel, so we won’t have to learn the hard way!

Meditation Questions: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? How often do you talk to the Lord during a day? Do you ever have a scripture on your mind during the day? How often? What ways could you keep a scripture close to you so you can meditate on it during the day? What do you do with your nights? Is God involved with that? What does it look like? When was the last time you asked the Holy Spirit to fill you? What was the last lesson you learned from the last sin you repented of?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The oldest "path" in the world!

Prov 8:20-30 I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice. Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries. “The Lord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil. I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries.  And when he marked off the earth’s foundations, I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence.

Here we experience an incredible description of the creation of our world! How sad it is that the majority of the world is taught that some cosmic explosion made the wonders of the universe. Then some gases got together and evolved into a one cell "it" that finally became some of the most intricate and magnificent creatures; crawling, flying, swimming and prancing upon the earth. Finally one species moved out of the trees, stood up on two feet, and some how evolved a heart, a brain and a God consciousness! All the other creatures have ceased any more growth in that direction. Only one creature out of all of them evolved - not even their closest cousin has moved  .00009% up the totem pole. Now that's great fiction, but very tragic truth! The reason Wisdom is so valuable is that Wisdom is God's and was part of creation.  Wisdom demonstrates two important Truths about our Creator. First, He is not a sloppy, "Que Sera Sera" (bahala na) puzzle maker that just threw things out there and let them fall where they may. Our Creator is an Artist Supreme, that put all of Himself into designing an incredible universe and an even more incredible planet called earth! The reason the animal kingdom is so phenomenal is because our Creator designed each one with His the way, with no model to look at. All from scratch! Astounding! Second, He is the greatest engineer alive! The perfect balance, yet resilience of this world is amazing! The ability of plants, animals and humans to mutate and adapt to different circumstances is incredible. 
Only the perfect engineer could create something where all the elements are interconnected and dependent upon each other, yet have their own individuality. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Trees and phytoplankton inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen.

Remember, the context of this passage is Wisdom encouraging us to walk its path. Understanding that, let's remember what Wisdom is… The application of the data that we have; so what better reason would a person have to stay close to Wisdom than the understanding that Wisdom carries all the applied knowledge from creation. There is no circumstance or situation that we can find ourselves in that Wisdom can not give good counsel to us, because Wisdom has “been there - done that”. Remember, Wisdom is not hiding or hard-to-find, God makes it clear in James that all we have to do is ask our heavenly Father for it.

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.

Take a moment out of your day today, quiet your heart and think about the issues that you are dealing with right now in your life. Are you bringing them to God asking Him to give you Wisdom on how to deal with each issue? Why not write them down on a piece of paper and pray over each one, seeking Wisdom from our Creator?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Parenting 501

   When I was a young parent I really thought I had it all figured out! Ha! I thought you got them to college age – kissed them goodbye as they went off to school and then it was done. How na├»ve I was. It never ends! That love cannot be cut just because geographical location has changed. I think about my kids everyday. I pray for them and hope they stay close to God. I remember when my first one left the nest. We were headed home for a year of home ministry. I had gotten my son a job at my old painting company and he was on a strong learning curve. Every morning at 5 AM I drove him to the shop. We had great talks, but I could feel that old adversary, TIME, ticking away.

I had to leave for the mainland before the rest of the family left Hawaii. It was great to be home, but I had to push on to camps, preaching schedules and finally to the East Coast where I would become the Missionary In Residence at Washington Bible College and Capital Bible Seminary for the year. Dee and the other two kids would join me in two months after dropping Chris (our eldest) at college. The last day came – as I boarded the plane that afternoon while he was still at work I realized then and there – we never stop being parents. A week later in the middle of a retreat, I found myself alone by a lake and I wrote this in my journal. "I said goodbye to my son last week. That morning arrived earlier than most. He looked younger then I had remembered in a long time. I had been driving him to work every morning at 5 am for weeks. It was a nice drive and we enjoyed conversation and prayer together. The drive seemed shorter that morning, the prayer more vital than ever. I can’t recall ever wanting a traffic jam before – that morning I so desired one. We embraced each other in the car because I did not want to embarrass him in front of his construction-working buddies.

I told him I was proud of him, that if he stayed close to God he would succeed in his life. I told him I would miss him very much, and that thoughts of him would dominate my prayers. I walked with him into the work compound. He went to his friends. I just talked with a friend of mine that is part owner of the company. I turned to my son as I walked toward the car to wave goodbye, but he was already walking toward me. I put my hand out to shake his hand, he passed by it and embraced me with his two arms. With the strength that only a wrestler has in his arms he hugged me and said I love you dad. I said goodbye to my son. My son. A person that radically changed my life from the first moment I held him. 
A person that has permanent residence in my heart, control over my thoughts, and possession of much of my dreams.

I said good-bye to my son God, I knew it would happen some day, I did not imagine it would feel this way. I said good-bye to my son God. I know it is right for he is a man, but the feelings of this change is very difficult to understand. I said good-bye to my son God. I have to let him go, I know this is true. 
Still I am so glad that no matter where he goes, he goes with You. I said good-bye to my son God. My son is leaving to get an education. You said good-bye to your Son, God. He left to be a sacrifice for every nation. What you must have felt as you said good-bye, I am sure I will never know. Your love for me was your motivation for Him to go. You said good-bye to your son, God. You would have done it for the sins of one, thank you, thank you God...for doing it for my son!