Friday, October 26, 2018

Nobody Likes to be Disciplined

30 and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, (Daniel 4:30-31).
            This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.Were you ever told that as a child? I never believed that phrase. I’m sure I at least thought that when disciplining my children if not said it outright. But think about it. Can discipline be painful for both painful for the parent and profitable for the child? Yes. I certainly did not like having to discipline my children at all. At times, it broke my heart, but it had to be done. My girls absolutely did not consider it profitable at the time, but I believe it was.
            It should come as no surprise that your Heavenly Father sometimes willingly disciplines you for your betterment. This does not mean that he delights in seeing you punished. God has a plan for you life. It involves things that are for your good and His glory. Consequently, He reserves the right to do whatever it takes to pull you toward Him and set your feet firmly on the paths of righteousness.
            Nebuchadnezzar made to grave mistakes. First, he boasted that he had built Babylon. Anytime you take credit that God alone deserves, you create the need for Him to discipline you. Our God is a jealous God and will not share His glory. The second mistake was having the wrong motivation—“the honor of my majesty.” Desiring praise that God alone deserves is idolatry. Your goal as a disciple of Christ is living a holy life, not one filled by the praises of man.
            God responded accordingly; He discipline Nebuchadnezzar. Make no mistake; God resists the proud (James 4:6). Scripture says that right after pride comes the fall (Proverbs 16:18; 29:23). Are you actively and willfully doing things that would invoke God’s discipline? God never does it to hurt His children but to allow them to be chastened for His holy purposes. Nebuchadnezzar learned his lesson. Daniel 4 ends with him giving God the praise and glory and receiving God’s restoration. When you pursue holiness, God will liberally pour out grace and blessing in your life. What are you pursuing? I encourage you to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the other stuff will be added to your life. Go and be a blessing to someone this week as you pursue holiness!!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Are you Part of the Lord's Secret Service?

3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, (Matthew 6:3)
            There is a thing in our country called the Secret Service. Their job is to protect the president. If you look out into a crowd of people, you may not even spot which ones are agents. Up close, you may notice an earpiece that would give them away, but unless you are looking closely, you still may not be able to recognize them in a crowd. Their service is secret and unannounced. They is they way they want it. They want to blend in and be able to stop any threat that may occur.
            In our congregation, we also have a few that are among the secret service. But unlike the ones that serve the president, these agents serve the One True King. It is their job to do things like mow the church yard, buy the paper products for the restrooms, clean the kitchen, and sweep the auditorium. Unless you catch them in the act, you’d never realize they were serving the King. These agents do not do it for the recognition that comes from people. They do it to please God by serving others around them. There are tons of jobs around our congregation that get done with any hoopla or fanfare, and that is just the way these secret agents want it.
            I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the secret agents in our congregation. You exhibit the true heart of a servant of God by serving others. I know you don't do it for the recognition or the praise, but THANK YOU. Keep up the good work. Your Father in heaven is looking down and smiling upon you. God bless you and your efforts. Take heart, your reward is piling up where moths, rust, or thieves can get to it. If you are not in the Lord’s Secret Service, join today!! Find somewhere that you can serve and get going. The Lord will bless you all the more for your efforts!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Telltale of Our Priorities

31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)
            There was an elderly man sitting alone on a park bench. He was enjoying the beautiful day when a younger man from his church joined him. Their conversation was that of exchanging mere pleasantries at first, but it soon turned to deeper topic. The younger man was truly anxious to serve God and wanted to know how to tell if God was first in his life. During their conversation the elderly man noticed that the younger man looked at his schedule on his phone. He also noticed the younger man returning his debit card, which had slipped out, to his pocket. The older man asked to hold both his phone and his debit card. The younger man was puzzled by the request but gave both to him.
            The older man turned the card and the phone over and over in his hands. He said, “Son, I want you to examine both of these very carefully. You see, our real priorities are always revealed by the way we spend our time and our money. The younger man looked over his phone’s calendar and his debit card and realized that his work and his hobbies had consumed way too much of his time and money, leaving only a scant amount of either for the Lord.
            Many of us will be quick to say that God is first in our lives, but our actions tell a markedly different tale. We believe that God blesses those who give, but we rarely give to the Lord’s work. We believe that the Lord honors those who obey His Word, but we constantly ignore His teachings when we are making decisions about our time or money.
            Our walk with the Heavenly Father seems to get the left overs instead of the first fruits of our time and money. We too often devote our time, energy, and resources to other things. If we are truly “seeking first the kingdom of God” our activities will show it! Focus on giving God what He deserves not what’s left over this week. May God richly bless you my loved ones!!

This Week's Bible Trivia Question:
What synagogue first disputed with Stephen before he was stoned?

Last Week’s Answer:   the Beautiful Gate;  Acts 3:2