Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Greatest Man that Ever Lived

The Greatest Man that Ever Lived
August 4, 2008

Matthew 11:11 "...among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than..."

In today's society, we create our own fantasy world, where we are the center of the universe. We beg for someone to enable the fantasy of us turning into something great, someone respectable. We have this image in our heads of an idol that others may marvel at our abilities, feats, and accomplishments. Yet we drive every morning in our average car to our average job for an average pay and go home to our average house. None of us is the modern day idol we'd like to become so we click on the TV or log on to our favorite place in hopes of pretending our average life isn't real. We have this innate desire to be great in men's eyes and all fall far short of being an iconic figure of worship.

We are focused in the wrong direction when it comes to winning other's respect. We need to be focused on what God thinks of us and not man. We can win at everything in life and work hard to become something great so that men will applaud our efforts, yet it doesn't matter. When it is all said and done, no one will care how many people typed in our name as a search engine mover, especially God. God does not care how much money you make or how many people wear the sneaker with your name on it. God does not care how many letters you have after your name and whether men write about you and your work. God does not care if anyone on this earth is impressed with you, as He is not moved by the power of the swing vote.

There is a way to God's attention and there is a formula for being great. Do things exactly the way John the Baptist would do things and you'll be great in God's eyes. John the Baptist is said to be the greatest man that ever lived. Yes, the weirdo, who lived in the desert wearing camel hair and eating bugs, was the greatest man. This simple man, who had nothing the world desires, was worthy of respect. Jesus said so. Jesus declared, out loud, that John the Baptist was great. No amount of earthly respect could garner the title that Jesus bestowed upon John the Baptist.

What made John the Baptist so great in God's eyes? What miracles did John perform? What nation did John lead? What notoriety did he have in the world at the time? Nothing. None of the above. John the Baptist did not do anything that we would deem worthy of respect, but God bestowed upon him the face of satisfaction. John got a nod from God simply because he made sure everything he did was to bring about the work of the Lord. John took every task in his life and made sure it got the Lord's work done. Nothing more and nothing less. John did only the things necessary for pointing the world toward God and avoided anything that pointed the world's eyes elsewhere. And he did this no matter how it made him look or how uncomfortable it may have seemed. John cared about only one thing, the Lord's work, not himself.

Figure out what impresses God and become just that. Get God's attention and a nod of respect from Him, John the Baptist did.

1. Want to be the greatest man or woman that ever lived?
2. Are you willing to give up everything in your life that doesn't point to God?
3. Are you willing to do it no matter how silly it makes you look?

Additional scriptures for study: Matt 11, Matt 14, Jn 3, Jn 4, Jn 12:43, Gal 1:10

God is Moving House

God is Moving House
July 28, 2008

Psalm 22:3 " who are enthroned upon the praises of [your people]" (NASB)

It has been said that where there is light, there is no darkness. This seems a pretty obvious statement, but it makes tremendous sense and can apply perfectly in our lives. It applies perfectly because seldom do our lives epitomize the evidence of light, light being the Lord's presence. More often than not, Satan and his henchmen are at work, tempting us, tormenting us, and hatching evil schemes to implant their efforts into our lives. This creates a need for us to rid them, lest we drive away the light in our lives and suffer in the dark.

The only way to drive out the darkness (Satan's efforts), is to let the light in. We need to let God in. This statement is logical but it needs to be implemented. Satan does not want to be where God lives. Satan does not vacation in the house of God. He cannot stand in God's presence and has no desire to be anywhere near Him. The only way to drive out Satan's presence is to make sure that God is living in that place. If God is living there, then the devil cannot enter. God and Satan cannot fill the same space together. It will not happen.

If you'd like to drive out Satan, you have to convince God to take up residence. The Bible says that He inhabits our praises or is enthroned in our lives when we praise Him. The words, inhabit or enthroned, carry with them a meaning of permanence, a place where God has a physical street address and His mail is delivered. That is where God longs to be, home sweet home. He desires to abide and be King inside our praises. God longs to be home, in your praises to Him. There is nowhere else He would rather stay and He wants to move house.

The next logical step, start singing praises to the Lord. Do this non-stop in your life, every minute of the day and you will drive away the darkness. If you are singing praises to God, Satan has to flee. Once you start praising the Lord, God moves in and becomes enthroned. And when God moves in, Satan moves out. If you feel any amount of darkness trying to creep in, make sure you are lifting up praises to the Heavenly Father. Learn to do this on a daily basis and Satan's efforts will not darken your door.

Don't know any songs to sing? Start with the one you learned as a kid, "Jesus loves me, this I know...."

1. Has darkness been knocking at the door of your life?
2. Have you started praising the Lord, so He can move house?

Additional Scriptures for Study: Gen 1:4, Ex 14:20, II Sam 22:29, II Chron 31:2, Psalm 35:28, Psalm 47:6, II Cor 6:14

Arguing with God

Arguing with God
July 21, 2008

Exodus 4:13 But Moses said, "Oh Lord, please send someone else to do it."

Moses was minding his own business when a strange opportunity presented itself. Recall the burning bush where Moses stood on the mountain top and talked with God. We've all seen Hollywood's version of this scene, where Moses walked over to a bush that burned but was not consumed. The Lord spoke to Moses through this burning bush and gave him a crazy proposition. Well, it was more of a quest or a call to action. Instead of jumping at the opportunity, Moses proceeded to have an argument with God.

The Lord requested something of Moses and instead of offering his services willingly he gave the Lord every excuse as to why it would not work or why he was not the man for the job. At the risk of adding or taking away from the Bible, the conversation between God and Moses has been edited for the illustration of this point. The conversation went something like this:

God: "Moses, Moses!"
Moses: "Here I am."
God: "This is God; I have a job for you."
Moses: "But I am a nobody."
God: "Don't worry, I'll go with you."
Moses: "But no one will listen to me or believe me."
God: "Tell them God said so. It won't be easy, but I'll do all the work."
Moses: "But no one will listen to me or believe me."
God: "Then I will prove to them that I told you to do this."
Moses: "But I'm not really qualified to do this."
God: "If I sent you, then I've qualified you. Just do what I ask of you."
Moses: "Can't you find someone else."
God: "No one else will do; I've hand picked you for this."

It is easy to see from this short, paraphrased version, what was going through Moses' mind. He was afraid of getting uncomfortable or that he would not have success. Moses was doing just fine in his life and was getting nice and comfortable. Then the Lord showed up and asked him to do something. Moses argued with God and did not want to submit to what God had for him. He whined and complained and begged for a way out. But God had other plans. When God chooses someone, His call and quest are not really an option. Notice from the conversation that Moses was hand picked and God was even going to go before him and do all the work. All Moses had to do was follow the Lord's instruction.

It is human nature to argue with God and tell Him why His ideas are not very smart or well thought out. But I assure you, they are perfect in their plan. We have all had this conversation with God and argued with Him about something. Review the conversation above and put your name in place of Moses. The names change, but the conversation is exactly the same. We have this voice inside of us, telling us what we are supposed to do, but we suppress it and argue with it, telling the voice why it is wrong. If we argue long enough with this voice, we can drown it out with our excuses and rationalizations.

But if God has asked you to do something, then He has also given you just enough skills and abilities to make it happen. And if you think you lack in some area to accomplish what He asks, then God will make up the difference. In fact, God will go ahead of you and make it happen for you. He just needs a willing vessel to work through. And guess what? He hand picked you.

1. Have you ever drowned out the voice of God with your arguments?
2. Isn't it time to review that voice and put into action what He has called you to do?

Additional scriptures for study. Ro 11:29, I Co 1:27, II Th 2:13, Jnh 1-4

Violence to God

Violence to God
July 14, 2008

Matthew 19:6 "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man [separate].

In many cultures, and unfortunately in the Christian culture, divorce from a marriage has become practiced and acceptable. This is not how God designed or intended. God did not design divorce. When He created the institution of marriage, He left no opportunities for divorce. All of the scriptures talking about marriage discuss it as a joining of flesh or two becoming one. At the risk of being gross, consider the mental picture of someone trying to rip your skin off your body. This ripping and tearing of the flesh is how God envisions the act of divorce.

Let me give you a quote from the Lord God Almighty regarding divorce. "I hate divorce," says the Lord God of Israel , "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence..." Mal 2:16. In God's own words, He uses very strong language, hate. Hate denotes something that is despicable or repulsive to God. He considers divorce a violent act. When a man and woman separate through a divorce there is a violent ripping or tearing that must occur in order to separate the two. When God joins something, he doesn't just bond the two, He knits them together so there is no seam. He doesn't create a perforated line where the paper can be easily pulled apart. The point of connection is not visible; there is no apparent line where it can be cut. It must be ripped and torn in order to separate. If it is ripped or torn, there is the risk of ruining the two pieces. It is a very violent action that not only affects the married couple but the entire family for generations to come.

You may argue or disagree with this point, but it remains the same in God's eyes. He considers it despicable, just as He does murder, adultery, or homosexuality. You may suggest that you would never do one of those things, but you may feel divorce can be justified. I am telling you there is little to no justification for a divorce. If you or someone you know is on the verge of a divorce, you owe it to them to pray for their marriage as God will be disgusted when they divorce. It angers Him to see such an act of violence.

And while you may say you would never get a divorce, know that you are not immune from the temptations and sin that could lead to a divorce. Always be on guard against the attack on your marriage as Satan knows if he can convince you to get a divorce then God will be disgusted, as you will have ripped apart what God has joined together. Satan doesn't care about you and your marriage; He wants God to see a despicable act of violence. Take time right now to pray for your marriage and those around you. If you are not married yet, pray now for the protection of your future marriage. You owe it to God and yourself to work on your marriage.

1. Have you ever become complacent in your marriage and considered divorce?
2. Are you aware of the violence that must occur for divorce to happen?