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, October 15, 2014

To speak or not to speak…that should be the question!

Probing Proverbs 11:12-13 It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet. A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.

One of the real signs of maturity is when a person exercises control over what he shares and what he chooses not to. This Proverb challenges us in this matter. Let’s consider some meanings before we discuss the issue.

The word foolish is made from two words. One means: mind, heart or understanding; the other means; poverty, needy, lacking and deficiency. So this person has an impoverished understanding, lacks it and is deficient in the heart and mind, which are the essentials for proper understanding.

This person belittles those in their sphere of life. This word means to show contempt for. In the dictionary this term is defined as: to make seem less significant! This of course begins in the mind when we think we are superior to those around us…hence the “lack of understanding!”

The opposite is true of the person that senses that silence is the proper course of action. The word sensible simply means understanding. This person realizes that anything said at this moment will not be beneficial and therefore holds their tongue.
This leads us to the conclusion concerning those that will not control their tongue and those that will. One will leak your secrets to others; the other is trustworthy! Which one would you go to for counsel?

Here is the issue: As Christ said, the tongue only exposes what is in the heart!

Matthew 15:16–19 “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.

This Proverb challenges us to look inside. When our words hurt and betray others, we have a heart problem! I have experienced this from both sides, I have gossiped or “piled on” when the right thing to do was to keep the secret or just extend grace. I also have had this done to me. The first leaves a very bad spiritual taste in my mouth, and carries regret and the need for repentance. The second leaves me wondering who can I trust and asking, “where are my real friends” when everyone is piling on for the mistake I made! This behavior is not Christ like. He knew how to keep a secret, even one that may have been shared inadvertently. He also did not over kill His confrontation of others' short comings.

We need to become real honest about this. We share a “prayer request”, that in reality is nothing more then spreading information about others. We go for “counsel” yet in reality we want someone else to agree with our judgment about a particular individual. We extend our comforting hand to a brother that failed, but as they take it we then vent our spleen about their behavior!

There is only one cure for this; being filled with the Holy Spirit. When we allow the Spirit of God to control our heart, we will control our tongue! The Holy Spirit does not want to beat us up concerning our weaknesses with our words, He desires to guide us in disciplined love, mercy and grace, which will lead to wholesome communication. Even in confrontation!

Galatians 6:1–3 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

Consider: When someone comes to you and states: “don’t tell so & so that I told you, but…ask yourself, if you tell this person a secret, how secure is it? How do you handle these "secrets" shared with you? If someone has abused your secret, what should you do first? What does Christ do first? Luke 15 has the answers. What is the difference between "forgiveness" and "trust?" 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Do you use a telescope, or a microscope?

Judges 14:1-3  Then Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines.  So he came back and told his father and mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.”  Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she looks good to me.”

A telescope can pick up things from far off…but only what’s on the surface. What’s underneath the surface is far more important!

Once, when I was in the Pastorate in the USA, I was involved in a premarital counseling session. I had known the young woman for years and was excited to be a part of such a wonderful moment in her life. She was meeting with me alone at a restaurant due to the fact that her intended was in school and could not be with us. So this was just to hear about him and their plans. We were done and began to stand up, then I, in almost an after thought, asked, “so what do you find the most attractive about him physically?” She hesitated, looked befuddled, and stuttered, “well that is not important, is it?” From there I went on to explain that it is not most important, but you should enjoy looking at the person you are planning to spend your life with. After that I met the young man…then a few months later I received a call that she had ended their engagement! I felt terrible. 
A year later she was engaged again and this time I met the young man right away. Every aspect of his personality was exactly the same as the other young man; however, physically he was completely different, from height, build, complexion and even hair! They are still married, kids and in the Pastorate! She later thanked me for that question and the following discussion. We can never dismiss what our eyes are telling us, yet, we need to be careful not to go too far with the power our eyes can have. Samson lost that balance, as we will see. But first:

I, like many believers have a difficult time understanding and dealing with the Old Testament. So many of the characters do some of the strangest things and seem so out of it spiritually! The story of Samson is one of those examples. Sadly, this becomes a reason for many believers to be ignorant of the Old Testament. That is tragic, because the Old Testament is packed full of so much truth and examples that we can live by. Also, what I have found is, that it is very encouraging. The Pharisaical element in the Church has led many to believe that God will only use those that can almost walk on water! Nothing is further from the truth! God desires us to walk close to Him and not make the mistakes that many of the saints in the Old Testament did, however, it should be encouraging to read that even though some terrible mistakes were made by many of them, He continued to extend His grace and mercy to them and use them in spite of their sin. This should not give us license to sin because we need to remember they still paid for the consequences of their sin, and so will we. So as we continue through Judges, lets keep that truth before us!

1 Corinthians 10:1–11 I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

As we consider this section on the life of Samson, the Scriptures hint at what one of the weaknesses Samson had, that cost him dearly. Many immediately think…”women”…and that is one of them, however that actually is more a symptom of the greater problem. Notice in this passage it states that he “saw” a woman twice and then amplifies and explains his reasoning; “for she looks good to me.” Samson had a disease that many of us suffer with, we allow our fleshly eyes to guide us instead of our spiritual ones. Don’t get me wrong, I would desire to marry a woman that was attractive physically to me also, but if that is the key reason, I will find myself in deep trouble unless I am lucky! Samson lives far too much guided by his fleshy eyes and it leads him countless times in the wrong direction. How odd that in the end it is those same eyes that allow him to be enslaved! The wisest of us will remember that what we see with our fleshly eyes is really only the surface, and we need God’s wisdom to see the reality. I have met many stunning women, only to find after getting to know and understand who they are and how they think, I find myself thankful that I did not marry someone like that. It is important that husband and wife find each other attractive physically, but that is the smaller part of what is really important. When the inside is beautiful, it changes even how the outside is perceived!

When we make decisions based solely on what our eyes see, we limit the truth, discernment and wisdom the Spirit can bring. We should take the time to prayerfully examine what is under the surface in every circumstance, whether it be a future spouse, a career, an investment, or even a ministry. God desires to help us count the cost and evaluate if it the best we can have. There are no mistakes on God’s side; He will always lead to what is best!

Meditation: How fast do you make decisions? What is motivating that? When you view something, do you move on it right away, or do you take time to consider is all your seeing really all there is? If you walk through your life using only your eyes, where is there room for your faith? Can you explain to yourself what part faith plays in your life?