Sunday, January 5, 2014

His Faith Took Him Higher Than The Trial Brought Him Down

Luke 22:31-And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32-But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.
1 Cor 10:13-There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

When Jesus announced to Peter that satan had asked His permission to sift him as wheat, out of all the things that Jesus could have done, i.e. bind satan, destroy satan, confuse satan's plan against Peter, Jesus bluntly told Peter that He would pray that Peter's faith would not fail. The phrase "that your faith would not fail" should have sent a message to Peter that something was coming that would shake him to his foundations.

Then, again, Paul said in first Corinthians that what Peter went through was a common occurrence. Who could give a greater testimony about the depth of trials than Paul? I'm inclined to believe Paul.

There was something else that Jesus knew that He didn't tell Peter. He knew that satan was limited only to the degree of the trial that Jesus' allowed AND NO FURTHER. Paul tells us that the moment God allows a trial to come our way, He also has set in place a blessing greater than the agony of the trial.

Jesus knew that Peter would fail. He plainly told Peter that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed. He knew how many and He knew the time. Peter did fail miserably and went out and wept bitterly about it. Jesus knew that, too, yet the next time He saw Peter He said absolutely nothing about it. Why? Jesus knew all about it before it happened. He expected Peter to fall but He prayed that Peter's faith would not fail.

Just because we fail during a trial doesn't mean that we are a total failure. Jesus knows our limitations. He knows how fragile we are and how strong we are. Then why did He allow Peter to go through that? Which leads us to the question, why does He let us go through the things we go through? How many times have you and I asked Him as well as ourselves that question?

God had a job for Peter to do. He knew that Peter wasn't ready for it. Peter needed a springboard of faith to launch him into God's plan for his life. God allowed him to be tempted to the point of failure because He had faith that Peter would bounce back stronger than ever. He knew that Peter's sorrow would give him enough grit in his gut to grab a hold of enough of Jesus to power him into the Day of Pentecost.

If we could look at what Peter went through during his ministry like we can Paul's, we would probably find a lot of ups and downs. We would see failures that led to launches. We would see Peter's faith take him higher than any trial could have brought him down.

If you're still on your knees because of the current trial you are going through, stay in tune with Jesus until the glory begins to manifest. It will be worth the wait.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book Review--Out of Control

Product DetailsRafe was hard-headed in what he wanted, so was Julie. Rafe wanted to give orders and so did Julie. Rafe hated going into the caves, Julie loved it. No, she didn't. She craved it. Ms. Connealy took her time and created a list of characters: Rafe's two brothers Ethan and Seth, Julie's mother-in-law, Audra who was about her age, a mangy, easy to hate father/husband and an enemy you didn't know if he was really there. Maybe he was crazy Seth. This was a good story. Being a hopeless romantic I wanted them to hurry up and fall in love. However the author wove the tale and wove the tale and wove the tale. I couldn't stop reading. Julia also, was instrumental in bringing Rafe into a closer relationship with God. That's important in anything I read. It was a good inspirational romance/western. I would recommend this book to all ages. It's a good read. This book can be bought at Amazon Kindle e-books.

You Are NOT Called Into ANY Ministry!!!!!!! You Are Called Into God's Love!!!!!

     I hope this title perturbs you enough to listen to what God is speaking to you. I can make that statement because at one time I was called into the ministry. Just like a lot of other dummies, I followed that call. It was my main purpose in life. And, if you will admit it along with me, THE CALLING became my god.
     Without a doubt, the greatest soul winner other than Jesus Christ is the Apostle Paul. The letters he wrote when he was alive are still spurring people on to salvation and greater service to the King. Let's look at what he said.

1 Cor. 2:2--NKJV--For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Phil 3:8--KJV--Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
Phil 3:10--KJV--That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.
    
Look At These Scriptures
Rom 1:1--Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ (doulos-bond servant)
Jude 1:1--Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ (doulos)
Acts 2:18--And on my servants (doulos) and my handmaids I will pour out my Spirit
Col 4:12--Epaphras, a servant of Christ (doulos)
1 Pet 2:16--as servants of God (doulos)

     Doulos is a Greek word that denotes a bondservant who decides to serve his master out of love for him and not for wages. So it is safe to say that main driving force of the early apostles was their undying love and hunger for more of Jesus Christ, and not the next great preaching point. As you read through the letters of the New Testament the main thread that ran through them was to love God and others.

     Here we have the greatest key to our calling. We are NOT called into ANY ministry. Rather, God's greatest calling is to love Him with all your heart, mind and soul. (Dt. 6:5, Matt. 22:37) That right there is enough to keep anyone busy and happy for the rest of their lives. Instead of delving into scriptures that will help you "shear the sheep without killing them" we should be striving to strengthen our love relationship with Him. His love for us and the lost will bring us to the place of service where He wants us to be.

     Our desire to serve Him should be harnessed to His desire to serve us. John 3:16--For God so loved the world the He gave......  On this ONE scripture hangs all that God has ever done for us or ever will do for us. Therefore the greatest preparation you can make to His service is to love Him so strong that anything He asks you to do will seem like a menial task.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

You Are The Only You There Is----So, Be You!

I used to be with a gospel quartet many years ago. After being around and listening to the top groups of that day, I was able to distinguish individual voices of my favorite singers. Even today, when I listen to gospel music I can still name the quartet that is singing. Why? Because I became familiar with their different voices. It's not hard for me to pick out J.D. Blackwood or Rex Nelon from the other bass singers. It's not hard for me to recognize a song sung by The Speers, Bill Gaither Vocal Band, The Hinsons, The Cathedrals, Gold City Quartet. And, I certainly can't miss when I hear the Happy Goodman Family, especially Vestal Goodman. What an anointing to sing that precious lady had.
God created every voice to be as different as a finger print. He created every individual person to be different from everybody else. The problem that Christians face is that we try to be carbon copies of our favorite preacher, teacher, or singer and we get ourselves messed up.
There's only one Billy Graham. He didn't become the great evangelist he was by copying someone else. His burning desire was to be what God wanted him to be. I've read books by Andrew Murray. Currently, I am re-reading My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I have a CD in my Isuzu by Beth Moore. These and more great teachers and preachers have a common thread. They let God develop them the way HE wanted them to be developed.
If you looked into the lives of all your favorite preachers and teachers, you'll find that all of them went through different circumstances, ups and downs, struggles and victories. All of those things were molding processes that God used to bring out His anointing in them.
God is the only one that knows who and what we really are and He custom designs a road for all of us to travel. Stop grouching about it! He's trying to mold you in a way that He knows you really are. Like He told Saul of Tarsus, "Quit kicking against the ox goad." Saul was trying to be the best Pharisee in the world but that wasn't who he really was.
It is an entirely different world when we settle down and allow God to make us who He designed us to be. Like me, you might be struggling with an identity crisis. Don't be afraid to be a little different than the rest. Your fingerprint is. The things you have stirring down inside of you that you haven't quite seen in anyone else, could they be God trying to do a new thing in you? I can't tell you, only God can. That's why you need to know HIM and not try to be your Grandma's version of who you need to be.
Here's what the Apostle Paul wrote in Phil 3:13--I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ.  We all know that Paul was different than any other minister of the gospel. Here he gives us a clue. When Jesus called him on the road to Damascus, He "apprehended" Paul. Today we would say "A God-thing grabbed a hold of me." Then let's repeat that verse this way--I'm running hard to grab a hold of the thing I felt God grab a hold of me for.
God created you. He saved you. He grabbed a hold of you. He didn't save and grab a hold of a carbon copy of anybody. He grabbed you. Individual you. Like nobody you've ever seen before, you. Be the best you that God wants you to be even if you say or act differently than anyone else you're around.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review--Healing Her Heart

Healing Her Heart (Crystal Lake Series)This is the second book I have read by Laura Scott. Both of them grabbed my attention from the first couple of paragraphs. Without being overly wordy like most authors are, she described her hero and heroine a little bit at a time. Gabe was an ER doctor and Larissa was an ER nurse. Both of them had hurtful pasts and had moved to a small town to heal their wounds and move on with their lives. I really loved the way that Ms. Scott made them play cat and mouse a little bit as their love for each other became evident. The ER scenes were realistic without being overly involved. Masterfully, she dealt with the subjects of domestic violence and Godly forgiveness of one's enemies. It was poor genius. Of course, being the hopeless romantic that I am, I chose one of Ms. Scott's books and was definitely not disappointed. I would heartily recommend this book to anyone looking for a Godly romance story. Thanks again, Ms. Scott
Henry Givens   This book can be purchased at Amazon Kindle ebooks.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Surfers, Scuba Divers, and Sky Divers

Rom 8:37-In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.

First of all we must rethink this promise. It does not read, "We are more than losers." Yet, most people, especially Christians, seem to think that every bad thing that comes along is theirs to endure and that living for Jesus means losing everything they have.
It is true that in a battle there is a loser and a conqueror. Paul, a battle-tested champion, declares that in everything we face "WE" are conquerors THROUGH GOD'S LOVE. Therefore, our main goal should not be shouting, boasting and becoming prolific in spouting God's word. Listen to me closely. Our MAIN desire SHOULD be to know and believe the love that God has for us. 1 John 4:16.
Here is something else he found out by personal experience. 1 Cor. 10:13 declares that God is faithful and will not allow us to be tempted above our ability to endure and conquer. In other words, these battles have His stamp of approval on them. Why? The remainder of the verse tells us that with the temptation, God has made a way out of it. God has made a way for us to conqueror. God has a victory in each trial that He let's his love child go through. If he didn't, He would never let it come our way.
Then we need to trust His love like this. The strong ocean waves sometimes bring fear to swimmers. But to a surfer, the waves mean excitement because of the thrill they get from riding the waves. The depths of the ocean can be scary. But, to a scuba diver who has learned to survive underneath the water, it is a pleasure to go beneath. Heights can be scary. But to a skydiver, they are so exciting that they will go up in the plane again and again. Experience has taught them to turn their fear into a love.
Whatever you are going through right now has a good end. Jeremiah 29:11-God knows the thoughts and plans that He has for us and they are plans to DO US GOOD. Yes, the surf is high and treacherous. Yes, the water is over our head. Yes, it is so high that my head is spinning. But, God has brought me to this place because of His great love for me and it's part of His plan.
Don't just learn to spout His Word at the drop of a hat. That doesn't mean a thing to the unbeliever when you whine and complain about where you are. Spend time in His Presence until His love calms you down and excites you.
You remember. Before you got married, all you could think about was how much you wanted to do a lot of huggin' and squeezin'. And all that huggin' and squeezin' was going to take you on a long and happy journey. Learn that His love brings us to and through situations that He has already planned a victory for us. Then enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In All These Things

Romans 8:37--In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Paul said, "In these things" and not because of these things. Paul went through more of "these things" than any of us ever will. I'll be the first to say "Thank God" for that.
I used to think that this was a 'MACHO' passage of scripture. Get pumped! Yo, we're greater! I'm Bad! and all that jazz. It's easy to think that way until you start going through some 'thing' or 'things'.
But, 'things' happen to our weaknesses, not our strengths.
'Things' happen because our Father declares to the world you can handle it, 1 Cor. 10:13. Don't you wish sometimes He wouldn't brag so much?
I am sure that most of us have missed the real point, until we start seriously, seriously thinking about this scripture until it's real meaning hits home. When it does hit home and we make this truth the cornerstone of our lives, our 'conquering' abilities skyrocket.
Instead of dwelling on the first half of that scripture like we always do. Let the last part of that verse go off like the bombshell it is. "Through Him who loved us."
We are going through these 'things' today and every day because our Father wants to snuggle a little bit with us. Remember how we used to do to our parents when we got scared? If you've forgotten, remember how you've done your children or your grandchildren when they got scared.
Just like we do our children. We pick them up and carry them safe in our arms until the danger is over.

The trouble is.......sometimes we've gotten too big to LET our Father carry us. Jesus told us to become like little children. There was a reason He said that.