Monday, September 26, 2016

whose report will you believe

Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

Obadiah 1:1 [ The Coming Judgment on Edom ] The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom (We have heard a report from the Lord, And a messenger has been sent among the nations, saying, “Arise, and let us rise up against her for battle”):

I have to ask whose report do you believe?  I was thinking about all the different reports I have been hearing lately.  There are so many bad things going on and so many receiving bad reports about health, jobs, family, etc.  On Facebook, so many people are focusing and re-posting so many stories about crime, rumors, hate, and horrible events.  
While it is good to be aware of the things happening around us, it is also detrimental to focus on those bad things. If all we are thinking about and seeing is the bad, then where is the goodness of God in your heart?  God has the answer for all these situations. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is Alpha and Omega, beginning and the End. He is our Rock, our Shield and our Salvation. He is the Healer and the Way-Maker.  He is and should be our Everything.  

So when the doctor may have a bad report, God has the good report. When the boss may have a bad report, God has the good report. When the news has a bad report, God has the good report.
Whose report will your believe?  I choose to believe the report of the Lord!

His report is the one that counts.  His report may even seem impossible to man, but His report is the one I want. His report is the one that will keep us, protect us, heal us and love us.
His report is what I will believe! Rather than become overrun by the bad things and bad reports, we can find hope in the good report of the Lord. I will think on the goodness of Jesus and what He has done for me.  I will shout "Hallelujah" and I will praise Him in spite of the circumstances. He deserves every praise and He is worthy.
His report is good!
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

ignite the vision

I have been reading in Chronicles and I was truly blessed and intrigued by the accounts of David and Solomon.
In I Chronicles chapter 17, we see David desiring to build a temple for the Lord. He has a great burden on his heart that God needs to be honored. He wants a permanent building in which to place the ark and a place to make sacrifices.  If he was going to build a great house for himself, God also needed a great house in which to reside.
But Nathan the prophet hears from God and relays the message to David. David cannot build the house because of the blood he has shed. The building of the house will fall upon the next generation and God will greatly bless his son to do this wonderful thing for God.
David did not become disheartened or angry. Instead we can read that he poured into the preparations for his son to be able to accomplish his dream of building the temple. In I Chronicles chapter 22 we read about all the preparations and supplies he gathered. He made arrangements for more supplies and workers. The greatest preparation, however, was sitting down with Solomon, his son, and passing on to him the vision and dream of building the great temple of God.
He explained to Solomon what he had been preparing and why it was important. He explained what all the supplies were for and what needed to be done. He explained that while he desired to do this thing, God had told him he could not and that his son would receive the great blessing of building the house of God. God would bless Solomon for this endeavor. David ignited the passion and vision in Solomon and Solomon went even further than David even dreamed.

Now, Solomon could have just nodded and smiled. He could have decided not to follow through. He could have done the job half-heartedly, but David passed on his vision and dream to Solomon.
Solomon not only used the supplies his father, David, had accumulated, he added more. He hired skilled artisans and laborers to build the best. He caught the fire of the vision his father had.
David was able to teach and explain his dream and vision is such a way that Solomon not only understood it, he also had that same vision and dream.  Solomon's temple was amazing.

Sometimes, we, as parents, have great vision and dreams for our children. Sometimes, we want to see great things from our lives and eventually for our children.
For me, I realize that my parents instilled in me values and dreams. Some they may have wanted, but only realized in me and my siblings. My parents both came from hard working families. Families that did not have a lot but they loved God and and loved each other. Their parents did not go to college, but wanted more for their kids. Both of my parents eventually went to college well after becoming adults and having kids. But they made a way for me and my siblings to further our education. They taught us from a young age that education was important. We went a little further than our parents. We may still struggle and we may still have financial concerns.  But, we are hopefully going a little further than they did.
They set up for something better. My parents ignited a passion and a desire for more than they had even dreamed. They always told me I could go to college. I went not only for my bachelor's but for my master's as well. My siblings also went to college. My parents were proud of us and are proud that we have become successful in our chosen fields.

David did not get mad at God. He prepared for his son to be successful.  He set up what he could to make things better for his son and for the next generation.
Shouldn't we do the same?  My husband and I try to instill in my children that they can grow up, go to college and follow the dreams God has placed in their hearts and minds. We talk to them often about preparing for the future. We try to save up some so we can help them achieve those dreams. I want them to be even more successful than me. I hope they listen and learn from my mistakes and achieve the dreams they have. I don't want them to be afraid of the dreams they have from God.

More importantly, we try to instill in them a love for God and the need and importance of a relationship with Him. Most importantly, we tell them that we want them to know God for themselves. We want them to follow after Him and know Him. We try to show them that prayer works, that the Word of God is precious and important, and that the Body of Christ is alive and active. We want them to seek Him first  and be a part of His Body.
 I recently read some studies that talk about how a parents priority of church attendance or lack thereof will affect the children's priority of church attendance. If a parent is not faithful or skips church because something else came up, then the kids will not see church attendance, or God, as a priority. It is a matter of actions speaking louder than words.

What we speak through our actions will speak louder than anything else.
David showed Solomon his vision, not just by telling him, but by the preparations and dedication he had to the vision. What we show our children and the preparations we make for their spiritual well-being will speak louder than anything else we say. Are we showing them that spiritual matters are most important by participating in and maintaining a spiritual walk that displays God is number one in our lives? Do we set them up for a future full of answered prayers and testimonies they can recall that tell of the goodness of God when they need to remember?  Have we shared our dreams and visions of the path God has set us on so they will continue to walk on that same path into eternity with Christ?  Lord, I pray we have.

I guess I can also apply this to the church body.  Sometimes, a pastor or a church leader may see a great vision for a local assembly. That leader or leadership needs to understand that they need to nurture and share that vision and dream with those that will follow them. God may intend for them to ignite the fire of passion and vision in the next generation. They may not get to see that vision come to full fruit under their watch, but the next generation will be the ones to move forward into the great plans that God has set forth. The leader may ignite the fire, but the next generation may be the ones to set it ablaze into something even bigger. God can use the next generation to start the revival, but they need to be ignited. What we do now, as church leaders, prepares the next generation of church leaders. Those that will follow today's leaders, need to be ignited by the dream and vision that God has placed on us. They need to take that dream and vision and make it their own. Then, move that dream and vision beyond what we see into what God placed in their hearts as well. The church leaders of today need to teach the next generation, not just by word but by deed, that God has a great plan and a great vision for His Body. Let's ignite the next generation to move forward from the past into the great plans of God and prepare them to work in the realms of we see can come, we may be laying the ground work by praying and instilling the dream in the next generation.  We may dream the dreams, but the young will see the vision.

“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.

‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.

Monday, September 12, 2016

you are not a useless appendix

I was thinking about who God places each of us in the body of Christ and we are all important. I then got to thinking about the appendix. About 10 years ago, my husband became very sick, the sickest I had ever seen him. I had to get the neighbors to help me get him in the car. I was 6 months pregnant, had a scared three year old, and he was so weak and sick he couldn't hardly stand. I got him to the emergency room and they quickly diagnoses appendicitis. Finally about 3 o'clock the next morning, he was in surgery.  When I asked about any effects of not having an appendix, the doctor said it was a useless organ.  We didn't need to worry about it. So recently, I began to wonder why it is useless. Is it really useless? God placed it in the human body and there has to be a reason. So I googled it.

Many have assumed it was useless. Many have even claimed that the appendix is a left over from an organ that has evolved away through evolution.  It has been explained away by man’s understanding or lack of understanding.
However, Researchers and immunologists are now finding out the appendix does have a purpose.
1.It is a “safe house” for beneficial bacteria when recovering from diarrhea, dysentery, cholera.
2. It is placed in the perfect place for this function, right at the connection of the small and large intestine.
3.It has been identified as an important component of mucosal immune function /part of the lymphatic system as it may help in regulating pathogens and may even produce early defenses that prevent deadly disease that infect the colon and get the lymphatic system’s B and T cells to fight the viruses and bacteria. It helps immune responses occur.

SO, what does this have to do with us spiritually?
Many times people have fallen into the trap and lie that they are useless as Christians.  They may question their purpose and what God has for them to do as part of the body.  Knowing that you have gifts is important, but understanding and realizing that you have been been placed in exactly the right place for the purpose God has for you is very important. God has purposely and carefully placed us and makes sure we are useful in the body of Christ.

I Corinthians 12:12-27

We are all members of one body and we are all necessary and needed for the body to function effectively and properly.
In verse 18 we can see and understand that God sets the members as it pleases him. We are placed by God for his purpose.
Verse 22 shows that members that are seen as feeble are necessary. The appendix may have been seen as feeble, but it is actually necessary. It is useful and if you ever contract cholera or dysentery, the appendix plays a vital role in recover.  Sometimes, the Body of Christ needs those members that are faithful and waiting to burst forth with their talents in the face of troubles and sickness to bring about the healing and help in the Body of Christ.

Spiritual Application
You are not useless to the body of Christ
Store up the good in your own life to be ready
God has set you where it pleases Him and for a purpose
you are there as a defense to help the body of Christ

The appendix is always preparing and storing up for the time of need. It is a "safe house" of good bacteria. We can be a "safe house" of the goodness of God. We can prepare for the "sick" times by filling up on the goodness of God.
We can be preparing and storing up through our daily prayer and reading so we can be ready and able to take our stand. When the enemy attacks, we are ready for him and can defend and attack back using the scriptures and the prayer that we have been faithfully storing up.
There is an awareness that something is happening in the body and early defenses are taking place. That is awareness and getting ready to fight early.

The appendix pours the good bacteria it has stored up into the body.  We should help bring about healing for the body of Christ by pouring love, peace and joy into other members.

John 6:63 Jesus words were spirit and life, so should our words be spirit and life

Proverbs 18:21 Power of life and death are in the tongue. We should pour forth life and praise.
Psalm 98:4  Breath forth in song, rejoicing and praise

In 1 Peter 2:9 we are described as a special possession, chose to declare the praises of Him. Our calling as a child of God is to declare His praises.
One of the most .important purposes of a child of God is worship. We can worship and change our attitudes and even change the situations. God inhabits the praises of His people. He moves and operates when we praise. He will hear our praise and come to answer. When we praise in any circumstance we face, we are bringing forth His presence and talking about His goodness.

Bring forth Good for the body meas to support and edify one another. We are told in many places to care one for another and work together in unity.

Galatians 6:1-2 Bear one another’s burdens
James 5:13-16 if any sick pray for one another
Ephesians 4 Paul wrote about being part of the body
v.1-3 unity and part of the body in one hope of your calling
11-16 we are equipped, a part of the whole body
16-effective working by which every part does it’s share
God needs an effective body working together in unity. He does not want his body to be sick. Sickness for the body of Christ comes from sin and lack of unity.
There is a warning at the end of Romans chapter six to guard against those things that destroy
Don’t become an inflamed appendix. Verses 30-32 tells us guard against those things that destroy the body, backbiting, hurting one another and all that other stuff that comes from sin.
Galatians 5:25-26 tells us bear fruit of the Spirit and not live by the flesh, (conceited, provoking and envying each other).
We cannot give sin the opportunity to bear it's fruit of death (Romans 7:5,8)and have it's passions loosed on the Body of Christ. We need to guard against sin, keep it out of the body and pour into the body the good things or the good fruit.   Sin will take opportunity if it is given a chance. We are to be ready and aware so we can put a stop to sin before it has a chance to cause illness our individual lives and thereby making us ineffective or even cause us to bring destruction in the body of Christ. That would grieve the Holy Spirit. We can recognize we are actually very important to the body of Christ. Each member is there to edify the Body, help the Body, and work in unity with the Body for the purposes of God. We are all called to be a part and do our share in helping the Body of Christ grow in love.

Every member is placed by God to please Him and for an important purpose
Every member of the Body is called  to worship and to protect the body
Every member should be ready and prepared Be a “safe house” full of the ability to pour out praise and good report. A safe house that will help protect and edify the body
Every member should be aware and ready to spiritually defend the body in spiritual warfare (prayer, fasting, interceding, etc) when the enemy attacks