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, July 9, 2014

Probing Proverbs: Wisdom that leads to life.

Proverbs 10:27-28 
Fear of the Lord lengthens one’s life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.  The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the                                                                        wicked come to nothing.

The Scripture now draws some pretty harsh differences between the destinies of those that love God and those that don’t. This is not to make those that follow God to feel superior; it is a tough love warning to those that are blind to the Truth!

I listen and read many skeptics, many who claim to be Christians, that believe believers that accept the Bible for what it claims to be are naïve and even brainless. So when I teach, I refuse to just read the Scriptures and move on, we must ask the hard questions!

Before we do that though, we do need to be clear about the difference between honest questions and just being quarrelsome. The social network is a showcase for these things. I know three men debating a very “hot” topic in the Church today. I know two of these men and care for them, the other I do not know but it is clear he is passionate on the issue. However, after reading an unending back and forth, which included demeaning comments about the “naivety” of one man because he stands on the Scripture, I find the whole thing, not only a waste of time, but not glorifying to God. 
One man tries to justify it by calling it “healthy debate” but is kidding himself. The reason I state that is because if you are going to debate something there must be a common Truth that you debate from. One man holds to the Scriptures, the other two do not. If you do not accept the Word of God for what it is, than how can you debate where it stands on any issue. One man believes evolution and that the earth was thought to be flat until man discovered it was not…ignoring that Scripture showed the earth to be round 1000 years before Christ. The other man treats the Bible as a good book, but allows other authors and “experience” to alter Truth. It is a complete waste of time to debate if the “Scriptures” take a stand on anything unless everyone involved agrees that the Scriptures are the objective Truth we will use to discuss the issue. If you want to discuss an issue and how all in the world view it, than that makes the Bible just another book, which you can do, but for a believer to spend a lot of time and energy on that is beyond logic to me.

Scripture speaks to this issue:

2 Timothy 2:16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,

Titus 3:9–11 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

If God has called you to be an apologist, then you do need to have a broad knowledge of all views, however, if we are talking a “Christian” apologist, the Scripture will remain the one and only standard for Truth.

So let’s ask the difficult questions from this Proverb:

·      How does fear of the Lord lengthen one’s            life?
·      Why are the years of the wicked cut short?
·      How do the hopes of the godly bring                    happiness?
·      Why do the expectations of the wicked come        to nothing?

The realities of these questions are true, however the timing is always the issue. God operates from the eternal perspective, whereas we try to do that but are firmly planted in the temporal! As far as temporal, living the way God teaches will generally have you live a healthier life, no addictions – this includes food! No sexual diseases, no criminal activity that could cause imprisonment or death, etc.  So our bodies will last longer, in most cases. Happiness is an emotional moment, based on circumstances. When we follow the Scriptures, it teaches us to pursue the quality of life, not the quantity. We look for the applause of One, not fame and 15 minutes in the spotlight. Pursuing inward peace always brings a deeper contentment to life that pursuing the “things” of this world. Obviously, in this temporal world, this is not the case for 100% of the time. Many believers suffer and die young. There is much evil in the world. 

Eternally is a totally different result. 100% of the time, those that belong to God will enter into LIFE eternal! Not “existence” eternal, heaven is not about destination and existence only, it is about the greatest quality of real life ever! The wicked will be separated from the Author of Life, and though they were created to live forever, due to their choices, life will be taken and they will exist separate from God. This is a tragedy. Also 100% of every hope we have in Christ will become sight and we will experience eternal happiness, because our circumstances will be void of sin! All the expectations of the wicked will end when their bodies do! This, again is such a tragedy because there is no need for anyone to experience this, Christ died for all and desires all to enter into salvation and eternal life.

Scripture tells us we need not view the future like those that do not know Him

1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.

How about you? Will your hope become sight?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fruit - Pt 6 Gentleness - The most misunderstood fruit!

I remember a joke about a real Big, mean looking guy who enters a diner and sits down right in the middle of the serving bar. He orders a bowl of chili, picks up the bottle of hot sauce, pours it all in, picks up his bowl and gulps it down without a spoon. A loud angry belch…he looks at everybody sitting to his left and states, "Everyone on this side is an ugly creep!" Then he looks at those on his right side and states: Everyone on this side is a whimp and a mama’a boy!" There was dead silence…then suddenly a guy on his left side stands up and begins to walk toward him. The Big guy yells, "where are you going!" The man sheephishly says “I think I'm on the wrong side!”

Sadly, especially for men, the idea of gentleness is the guy who thinks he is on the wrong side…no that is not true. Being a whimp has nothing to do with this fruit! 

Please consider these questions:

1.  How can we describe this fruit, to better understand it?
2.  How can we tell if we are not Gentle?
3.  What about the feeling that to be gentle you cannot be "manly" or "firm"?
4.  What area of our life needs this fruit the most?

When you think of a whimp…what do you think of? Someone who Karate chops on Jello & whipped cream?

There is a characteristic in the fruit of the Spirit that many believe makes you appear at times as a whimp. This is a misunderstanding of Gentleness. (Meekness)  This word expresses more the idea of controlled strength, firm strength and it is tied to humility. Humility is never the way of the world. If you look closely, the way of the world is Intimidation! Just two men walking toward one another on a narrow side walk, often each expects the other to yield. Wives often intimidate by folding their arms, and looking straight ahead until they get their way.

The World does not applaud a person who yeilds their rights, they applaud the one that pushes and goes for it! 

This needs to be said, there is a big difference between dedication and intimidation. One is a commitment to accomplish excellence; the other is the determination to have your own way.

* Gentleness expresses itself, like other fruit, first to God than to man

Intimidation has even invaded the prayer life of the Church. No where in Scripture does it say we should claim or demand what we want. Faith is trusting God to hear your desires and then to answer according to what He knows is best!

Gentleness flows from the Spirit of God and is first expressed by us toward our Lord. As we humbly approach God, still in the confident boldness of being His children, yet seeking to understand His desires for our life and relationships, we will also express this controlled strength to all we know. Let’s consider our questions:

·      How can we describe this fruit, to better understand it?

1 Thes. 2:7 But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.

No normal mother would ever deliberately hurt her child but would even sacrifice her wants for the needs of her child. Who comes first in your life, you or others?

·      How can we tell if we are not Gentle?

2 Tim. 2:24 And the Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged

Do you always have to be right? Can you allow others to have their convictions? When someone oversteps a boundary, are you slow to anger or do you react?

·      What makes you feel about the sense of being gentle that you cannot be "manly" or "firm"?

Psalm 18:31–35 For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God, The God who girds me with strength And makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, And sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great.

David was hardly a soft man! He was a warrior and courageous, but he understood that God’s gentleness is essential for balance. This was the quality that controlled his dealings with King Saul. He could have killed Saul several times, but knew that only the Lord should remove Saul. This was the quality that showed mercy to those that many in that day would have killed all associated with an enemy. This was the quality that caused David to mourn when Saul was killed. A man’s man is gentle!

·      What area of our life needs this fruit the most?

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

This fruit is especially needed when we are attacked by others, or we will become like them and seek to do evil. A good example is Moses. Those closest to him turned on him, and the Lord punished them. When they begged Moses for mercy, he cried to the Lord for them! He did not say, “You got what you deserve!”

Numbers 12:1-3, 9-13 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); and they said, "Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?" And the Lord heard it. (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth. So the anger of the Lord burned against them and He departed. But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. As Aaron turned toward Miriam, behold, she was leprous. Then Aaron said to Moses, "Oh, my lord, I beg you, do not account this sin to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned. "Oh, do not let her be like one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes from his mother's womb!” And Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, "O God, heal her, I pray!"

There was a song written years ago that expresses the balance we need:

Everyman has his belief, his own point of view on everything from big to small.

Some of them we must defend with everything we got, some of them don't matter much at all.
You can speak out every time you think that you are right, hold your ground until the end.
You can rattle tooth and nail in each and every fight, you might even lose some friends.
When you give up your pride and make those conflicts cease, some folks may laugh and call you weak.
But it takes strength to be the one who makes the peace it takes courage to be meek 

But when you give up yourself you are as strong as a man can be. It's the hardest thing that you will ever do. When you give up yourself the world will clearly see the Lord Jesus walking hand in hand with you!

Are we gentle with each other? What is our testimony? One who divides or unites? Are we so committed to being right about everything, that we do wrong in the Lord’s eyes?