It tells us earlier in Acts that, “All the Believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” (Acts 2:44-45) This is how the early Church functioned…their inward focus was on unity and mutual care for one another. For they took the Lord’s charge to “Love one another” very seriously. And because of everyone’s personal commitment to “see a need, fill a need” …the early Church exploded. So I ask you, what would happen if all Believers committed to the “see a need, fill a need” directive…not waiting for someone else to do it, or thinking it’s only the Pastor’s responsibility? The early Church’s focus was on perfect unity and mutual care for one another…the Church today could only benefit from this same focus.
Month: July 2018
Ezekiel 18:31-32 ” Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live! “
For many, God is this tyrant sitting up in heaven taking great delight in causing good people grief and suffering. But this Scripture tells us quite the opposite. God’s desire is that no one perish…but with this Scripture also comes responsibility and accountability on our part. II Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” So what’s God promise in this verse? His promise is the Day of the Lord…or Judgement Day. God gives each one of us ample opportunity to turn our lives around… but it’s our decision though whether we respond or not.
Hebrews 3:19 ” So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.”
Moses led the Hebrew Children out of Egypt…but none of them ever saw the Promised Land due to their unbelief. Instead, they wandered in the desert for 40 years…going around and around the same mountain. Doubt and unbelief wastes time. God tells us to do something, but out of unbelief, we say “No!” So God sends us around the mountain to think about it. Soon, His tells us one more time the thing He wants us to do. If we again say “No!”, guess where He sends us…wandering around that same mountain! Unbelief wastes time…precious time that we could be changing lives for Christ if we had said “Yes!” the first time.
Isaiah 43:18 ” Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”
A victim mindset builds an altar to all the bad things that have happened and worships there…harping on the past and paying more attention to it than to the future. A victim mindset is put in place early on when others show sympathy, so we continue to seek that support and favor…using our past to gain attention. Soon we are defined only by our past…and not of how God is moving in our present. A victim mindset chains us to the past… never able to move ahead, and break free. For every time those old hurtful memories are brought up and dwelled upon…we’re victimized again.
Genesis 39:7-9 ” Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’ But he refused. ‘With me in charge,’ he told her, ‘my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?’ “
This Scripture specifically deals with immorality and adultery…but in the bigger picture, it deals with sin against God. Have you ever considered that every time you sin – you’re defying God to His face? For every time you allow evil to reign in your life, you’re in direct opposition to God and rebelling against Him. Joseph understood that giving into a temptation was a sin…but that sin isn’t self contained…for no matter how hidden we think it is, others will be affected by our lack of judgement. And ultimately, Joseph knew he would be sinning against God.
Luke 8:50 ” Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.’ “
Jairus was the President of the Jewish Synagogue in Capernaum, but at this moment in time all his power and authority meant nothing to him… for he had a little daughter dying. He was desperate enough to actually plead with Jesus to come to his house and heal her. But it would get worse. While they were headed there, someone from Jairus’s household ran up to tell him his daughter had just died…but it would get worse. When they got to the house the scene was utter chaos with people weeping, wailing and milling around. That’s when Jesus took control of the situation…moving all the people out except for the parents, Peter, James, and John. He then took a hold of the child’s hand and said, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” And she did. So what practical application can we take from this story? When you’re going through tough times, position strong people of faith around you…people that can believe for breakthrough and won’t give up or become discouraged. It’s friends that will gather around you and pray when you may not have the strength or ability to. Finally, realize it may get worse before it gets better. But through it all Jesus is saying to you, “Don’t be frightened, just trust in Me.”
Psalm 142:1-2 ” I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble.”
There’s been many times in my life when I’ve bared my soul to the Lord and complained loudly! I’ve spilled out my frustrations as well as my tears before Him…knowing He would be the only one that could fully understand my distress. And God does. There is nothing you’re going through today that has caught God by surprise…nothing He doesn’t already know about. The old Hymn, “What a Friend we have in Jesus” is so true…for when there’s no one else you feel you can confide in…Jesus is always there.
Matthew 8:3 ” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.”
When we come to Jesus, He says to us, “Be clean!” And at that moment we are purified from all the pollution, guilt, and shame of our sins. For it says in Psalm 51:2, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” Where we once were covered with the filthy stains of sin, we are now cleansed…our nastiness replaced by pristine purity and righteousness through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For it is only through the blood of Jesus that we can become cleansed from all our transgressions…it is only through Jesus we can be saved.
Psalm 33:8-9 ” Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.”
God spoke – and the world came into existence. He spoke – and there was light. He spoke – and the earth with everything we know was created. It says in Psalm 148:5, “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created.” It’s impossible for the human mind to understand the sheer power, authority, and energy when God speaks. But we do know that when He speaks, lives are changed. So how then can we hear Him? God speaks through His Word, the Bible. But when was the last time you opened His Word and allowed Him to speak to you? For the same words He used to create the universe lie within the pages of His book, the Bible. Allow God speak to you today…open His Word.
Hebrews 13:16 ” And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
Last month my son and his wife flew to Haiti and brought home their newly adopted daughter. It was sad to see from the start that she had never played with toys in the orphanage. A few weeks later, I received a picture of her smiling with a dark-skinned doll in her arms. I called my daughter-in-law to find out the details of this transformation…and just where this doll had come from. When their other daughter was in kindergarten, (she’s 12 now), she had asked for an American Girl Doll for Christmas. But instead of choosing a look-alike doll with long blonde hair and blue eyes, she chose a dark-skinned doll. A doll that she then graciously gave to her new little sister to play with…and a doll she could call her own.