Sunday, December 30, 2012

Unworthy to eat at the King's Table?

2 Samuel 9:1-13  David asked, "Is there anyone left in Saul's family to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?"  (2)  Now, Saul's family had a servant whose name was Ziba. He was summoned to come to David. "Are you Ziba?" the king asked him. "Yes, I am," he answered.  (3)  David asked, "Is there someone left in Saul's family to whom I can show God's kindness?" "Jonathan has a son who is disabled," Ziba answered.  (4)  "Where is he?" the king asked. Ziba replied, "He is at the home of Machir, Ammiel's son, in Lo Debar."  (5)  So King David sent men to get him from the home of Ammiel's son Machir in Lo Debar.  (6)  When Mephibosheth (son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul) came to David, he quickly bowed down with his face touching the ground. "Mephibosheth!" David said to him. "Yes, sir," he answered.  (7)  "Don't be afraid," David told him, "I will certainly show you kindness for your father Jonathan's sake. I will give back to you all the land of your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table."  (8)  Mephibosheth bowed down again and answered, "Who am I that you would look at a dead dog like me?"  (9)  Then the king called for Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, "I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family.  (10)  You, your sons, and your servants should farm the land for him and harvest the crops so that your master's family will have food to eat. However, your master's grandson Mephibosheth will always eat at my table." (Ziba had 15 sons and 20 servants.)  (11)  Ziba responded, "I will do everything you've commanded, Your Majesty." From then on, Mephibosheth ate at David's table as one of the king's sons.  (12)  Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. Everyone who lived at Ziba's home became Mephibosheth's servant.  (13)  However, Mephibosheth, who was disabled, lived in Jerusalem. He always ate at the king's table.

King David took over the kingdom of Israel from the tyranny of King Saul. King Saul and his son Jonathan ( David's best friend.) died in battle. Years had passed and David wanted to show the mercy and kindness of the Lord to Jonathan's descendants. Ziba, the servant of King Saul knew that Jonathan's son Mephibosheth was still alive. Mephibosheth was one of the younger sons of Jonathan and was crippled.

The bible gives an explanation about Mephibosheth's crippled feet. 2 Samuel 4:4  In addition, Saul's son Jonathan had a son who was crippled. When the boy was five years old, the news about the death of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled to Gittaim. She was in a hurry when she left, and he fell from her arms and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.)

Mephibosheth lost  his father and grandfather on the same day, and he was only five years old! To make matters worse, on the same day he discovered the death of his father, he was physically changed forever. Mephibosheth's name meant son of shame. This young man had the worse string of bad circumstances. I  could only imagine what he thought about his life. He probably felt like a failure and disconnected with others.  He had to carry the shame of his grandfather's demise and the lost of family royalty. He probably felt unworthy and by society's thought an outcast.

King David did not care about Mephibosheth's past or family shame. He did not care about his crippled feet or the string of bad circumstances. He cared about honoring a covenant he had with Jonathan. He cared about showing redemption. By all rights, David should have had the remaining family wiped out , so they would not exact revenge on a later date. King Saul's family deserved to waddle in their shame, but David was not your typical king. David stood for something more. He was the foreshadow of Christ and His actions would represent the Messiah's.

David, like our Messiah, brought Mephibosheth in the Royal Palace and sat him at the King's table. Mephibosheth went from shame to a place of Honor. I like breaking things out. Look below at what David did and what Christ has done for us.

David's Example Vs. The Messiah's love towards us. 

1. David showed mercy to Saul's grandson. Jesus shows mercy to us even when we don't deserve it.
2. David adopted Mephibosheth into his family. Through Jesus we are adopted into the family of God.
3. David sought after Mephibosheth so he could show kindness. Jesus, through Holy Spirit, seeks after our hearts and desires to be with us.
4. David restored unto Mephibosheth what was lost to his family. Jesus restores us and gives us back what was intended for us at the beginning of time.
5. David showed compassion to one that was not worthy. Jesus showed compassion to us and redeems us by His action on the cross.
6. David brought Mephibosheth into his palace and private eating chambers. Only His family and other figures of honor were allowed to be in this place. Jesus brings us into his holy chambers and honors us. Only through His sacrifice can we be allowed to enter in.
7. David gave Mephibosheth a place of honor at his table. Jesus has given us a place of honor at his table as well. We can eat with the King every day.
8. David covered up Mephibosheth's shame when Mephibosheth was pushed under the table of honor. Jesus covers up our shame through his blood sacrifice.

What a  powerful story with Jesus in mind.  We are unworthy to eat at His table but our Lord forgives us, redeems us, restores us, and shows compassion to us anyway. What a powerful way to live in Him!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Living Sacrifices

Romans 12:1-3  Brothers and sisters, in view of all we have just shared about God's compassion, I encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you.  (2)  Don't become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants-what is good, pleasing, and perfect.  (3)  Because of the kindness that God has shown me, I ask you not to think of yourselves more highly than you should. Instead, your thoughts should lead you to use good judgment based on what God has given each of you as believers.

Where are the God pleasers? Where are the Living Sacrifices before the Lord? Where are the people of God who follow His heart and not live for themselves? We live totally different than what the Lord calls us to live. In America, people aim for the nice house, greater riches, nice cars,and so forth. People of God move all over the country not by His direction or to serve other people; but to serve themselves. Many say, " Why can't we have it all? Why can't we have the nice home, outside of our budget, the fancy cars, and God too?" Well God is not a trophy that we put on a mantle. We can't have both if material things are more important to us than the things of God.  Sadly, this is the case. I have seen many Christians give up the dream of God for their lives and turn to the American dream.

Are we living contrary to the word of God? What was Jesus' example? We here T.V. preachers tell us we can have it all. However, where is that in the word of God? I know the Lord does not want us to be homeless or without our NEEDS being met. How far do we convince ourselves about our NEEDS VS. OUR WANTS? Now days both parents work so they can fulfill the American dream and put God in second place. What is more important? How should our finances be distributed out? What are we actually working for? When do we return to the word of God? When do we stop allowing the world to dictate our lives? According to God's word, what does being a living sacrifice mean?

In the Silence

Zechariah 2:8-13  This is what the LORD of Armies says: Afterwards, the Glory sent me to the nations who looted you. Whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye.  (9)  I'm going to shake my fist at the nations, and their own slaves will loot them. Then you will know that the LORD of Armies has sent me.  (10)  Sing for joy and rejoice, people of Zion. I'm going to come and live among you, declares the LORD.  (11)  On that day many nations will join the LORD and become my people. I will live among you. Then you will know that the LORD of Armies has sent me to you.  (12)  The LORD will claim Judah as his own in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.  (13)  "Everyone be silent in the presence of the LORD. He is waking up and setting out from his holy dwelling place."

I was in a foreign country. We were worshiping with fellow believers on a brisk, beautiful Sunday Morning. The breeze from the Indian Ocean would fight its way through the windows of this upper room. The Saints of God where worshiping with familiar songs and giving the Lord all they had. The worship team was right on and there was not a missed beat. I stood up at the front of the room. I often would turn myself at a 90 degree angle so I could see the whole congregation. I learned along time ago how to gauge the hearts by simply starring and listening to Holy Spirit.

Everyone seemed to be enjoying the worship time, but a nagging feeling would not leave me alone. My spirit kept groaning within. No one was doing anything wrong. No one was off in their own little world. Everyone was worshiping and calling on His name. However, Holy Spirit was telling me that something was wrong. He kept leading me to interrupt the worship service. He lead me to the verses above ,and I was shocked at what He wanted.

I was obedient and walked to the center of the room. I was nervous and a little afraid. I was the guest speaker to this church in the upper room. The guest speaker to a church which had John G. Lake in its history. This was one of His churches planted many years ago. What were they going to think of me? Sometimes being obedient to the Lord means not being the popular person. I had traveled thousands of miles to speak and encourage the people of God. This country was my Macedonian call. I was praying for them five years before I ever stepped one foot on their soil. Was I going to lose it all by comments? Yet, I had to be obedient. I could not shake the unshakeable.

I stood in the center of the room trembling before the Lord. I spoke up and said roughly the following, " The Holy Spirit says shut up. He says be quite in Him. He has heard your worship but He wants to teach you something new. He desires to show you something great in the Lord. " I read the scripture above and everyone became quite. I stood there in the center of the room crying out to the Lord with my eyes closed tight. All of the sudden; I heard the scuffling of benches being pushed back. I heard a unison of what appeared to be like a movement of some kind. I slowly opened my eyes and was amazed. Everyone in the congregation( all 200 of them) where on their knees crying out to the Lord. Holy Spirit had come liked He promised. There was a united weeping like I never heard before or since. I fell to my knees, and we worshiped in the silence for what seemed like hours. Everyone was changed that day and the rest of my stay was miraculous.

Sometimes we get taught up in the noise of worshiping. We have our instruments and voices making joyful praise, but there is something to be said in silence. In the Silence of the Lord, we are called to come. In the silence, we are asked to wait on our Lord. We are asked to wait on His glory and with humility bow before His greatness. In heaven, when there is silence. The Lord is stepping up from His throne, His train is filling the temple, and His majesty is shining throughout His Planet. There are times when Holy Spirit is saying, " Be silent in the Lord." because something great is happening. Maybe beyond our own understanding. Will we be obedient? Will we follow Holy Spirit's unction?

Right now, I worship Him and declare my undying love to His greatness. How about you?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Vampires in the faith

Vampires are mythical beings who subsists by feeding on the life essence of others. They drain the life from others and leave their victims close to death. Vampires might be mythical in our reality but vampires in the faith are real entities which suck the life essence from those who follow the gospel.

There are several vampires in the faith which suck our God given life essence from us. It is important to know what they are in order to overcome them.

Vampires of the Faith:

1. Relational Vampires.  We have to be careful to not allow the wrong kind of relationships to stop us from serving the Lord.  2 Corinthians 6:14-15  Stop forming inappropriate relationships with unbelievers. Can right and wrong be partners? Can light have anything in common with darkness?  (15)  Can Christ agree with the devil? Can a believer share life with an unbeliever? How many believers get into relationships with unbelievers on the pretense that they can change the other person. Unless you have the power of God; I don't believe you could change anyone.  What you hang around the most is typically what you become.

2. Mammon Vampires.  These are vampires which fill our lives up with things and in return drain our time away from the Lord.  Matthew 6:22-24  "The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is unclouded, your whole body will be full of light.  (23)  But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light in you is darkness, how dark it will be!  (24)  "No one can serve two masters. He will hate the first master and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and despise the second. You cannot serve God and wealth. If the enemy can get the believers to fill their lives up with things, then he knows there is nothing to worry about. A believer distracted is a believer without power.

3. Religious Vampires. Religious vampires deceive the believer into thinking they are ok in their faith. They suck dry the truth of the gospel out  and replace it with religious rhetoric. Religion can be a destructive force once bitten. We have to be careful from this vampire because it is the most deceptive. Matthew 23:2-6  "The scribes and the Pharisees teach with Moses' authority.  (3)  So be careful to do everything they tell you. But don't follow their example, because they don't practice what they preach.  (4)  They make loads that are hard to carry and lay them on the shoulders of the people. However, they are not willing to lift a finger to move them.  (5)  "They do everything to attract people's attention. They make their headbands large and the tassels on their shawls long.  (6)  They love the place of honor at dinners and the front seats in synagogues. Jesus warned us against such vampires because of the evil power behind them. Be careful not to get sucked in.

I am certain there are more vampires to speak about but these are main three in my opinion.  Be careful to not get bitten and allow these to suck your godly life from within you.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

How to fight Anger

James 1:19-25  Remember this, my dear brothers and sisters: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and should not get angry easily.  (20)  An angry person doesn't do what God approves of.  

We get angry sometimes. We all allow circumstances to get the best of us sometimes, but the Lord desires liberty.This is just a simple devotion which I believe will help some of you as you read. The Bible is clear about controlling our anger before it reaches a point of disaster. Relationships are destroyed many times because our anger gets the best of us. Then our anger turns to bitterness, next to hate, and for some finally murder.

How to fight Anger:

1. Be quick to Listen.  Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk.    Doug Larson
Listening with an open heart can curb your anger. I have learned along time ago not everything needs my opinion nor my input. Become reserved and be quick to listen.

2.  Slow to Speak. 

“No behavior on our part is more self-centered than the demand to speak and the refusal to listen.”
Robert E. Fisher, Quick to Listen Slow to Speak

“Interruption is basically a self serving and egotistical at. It blatantly states What I have to say is more important than what you have to say.”
Robert E. Fisher, Quick to Listen Slow to Speak 

   Pro_14:3  Because of a stubborn fool's words a whip is lifted against him, but wise people are protected by their speech. 

Pro_18:7  A fool's mouth is his ruin. His lips are a trap to his soul. 

When you are slow to speak then your restraint is discovered. A person who talks much is not wise but foolish.

3.  Don't get angry easily. 

 Pro_29:11  A fool expresses all his emotions, but a wise person controls them. 

We are called to a place of self-control through the power of Christ.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Why some Christians are going to Hell.....

 I have been reading a powerful book by Francis Chan called " Erasing Hell..." It stirred something within me about Christians going to hell. The four points below come from the stirring of  his book . I know the title of the Blog strikes up an interesting debate. Will Christians be going to hell along with those who have refused Jesus? The answer is not as complicated as you might think. Those who profess to be believers but don't live out their faith could very well find themselves in the pit of hell. So, why are some Christians going to Hell? The answer might surprise you.

Despite what popular pastors or teachers are saying now days. Hell is a real place. It is filled with tormenting fire and eternal pain. For most Christians, we see Hell as a place for those who don't go to church on Sundays or who don't own a bible. We even have an unwritten list of who gets in heaven and who gets into hell.

Heaven bound ( By the American church methodology)

1. If you go to church on Sundays then you are heaven bound.
2. If you read your bible at least once then you are heaven bound.
3. If you recite some scripture, even if it is a little wrong, then you must be heaven bound.
4. If the pastor shakes your hand after service then you must be heaven bound.
5. If you worship for more than an hour on any given day then you are heaven bound.
6. If you pray more than 5 minutes a day then you are heaven bound.
7. If you tell three people a week they are going to hell then you must be heaven bound for sure.

Hell Bound ( by the American church methodology)

1. If you are a prostitute then you are hell bound ( Even though as a christian male, he might look at porn from time to time. That is OK because Jesus has made him Holy. )
2. If you are a pedophile then you are hell bound even if you ask for forgiveness.
3. If you kill someone you are hell bound regardless of repentance.
4. If you don't come to church on Sundays then you are hell bound.
5. If you listen to country music then you're defiantly hell bound.
6. If you don't look Christian enough then you are hell bound.
7. If you don't pray like the pastor does then you are most likely going to hell.

I know some of the above sounds absurd but many Christians actually think this way. Many think  because they have said a rehearsed prayer that Hell is no longer on the table of consideration. Many think if they do good deeds or give to the local church that Hell is now a distant memory. We are free!!!!! Is this true? Do Christians ever have to worry about Hell? I believe the answer is yes and no.  Yes if you are doing the following and No, if you are not.

Top Four Reasons why Christians are going to Hell.

1. Talking about other people especially someone in the faith.

  a. Matthew 5:22  But I can guarantee that whoever is angry with another believer will answer for it in court. Whoever calls another believer an insulting name will answer for it in the highest court. Whoever calls another believer a fool will answer for it in hellfire.

 b. God's word is clear. If I am angry with a fellow believer then I will be judged for it one day. If I insult another believer, I will be judge more harshly. However, if I call another believer fool or worthless then I am in danger of eternal punishment in hell. How many times have Christians talk badly about others? When you and I talk wrongly and with injustice about one of God's children then we are in danger of hellfire and rightly so. You are God's child, but so are they. Some Christians are going to hell because they refuse to stop judging and gossiping about others. They are ensnared in a repetitious lifestyle of talking badly about others. May we all guard our hearts.

2. Doing works for the Lord without Spirit guiding,not having godly character or a relationship with Jesus.

 a.  Matthew 7:20-23  So you will know them by what they produce.  (21)  "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord!' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the person who does what my Father in heaven wants.  (22)  Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name? Didn't we force out demons and do many miracles by the power and authority of your name?'  (23)  Then I will tell them publicly, 'I've never known you. Get away from me, you evil people.'

b. How many tel-evangelists seem to have the power of God but their character is far from the Lord's. Many do for God without ever knowing who God really is. You can have the biggest ministry in the world and see thousands come to Christ, but if your character does not match the character of God then you will find yourself in Hell one day. Is that harsh? Is that too strict? Does it make you think differently? It does me.

3. Many Christians have placed themselves in an elitist group. Only certain people from certain races or backgrounds can join their country club like church.  Those who believe this way will wake up one day with hell fire starring them in the face.

  a. Matthew 8:7-13  Jesus said to him, "I'll come to heal him."  (8)  The officer responded, "Sir, I don't deserve to have you come into my house. But just give a command, and my servant will be healed.  (9)  As you know, I'm in a chain of command and have soldiers at my command. I tell one of them, 'Go!' and he goes, and another, 'Come!' and he comes. I tell my servant, 'Do this!' and he does it."  (10)  Jesus was amazed when he heard this. He said to those who were following him, "I can guarantee this truth: I haven't found faith as great as this in anyone in Israel.  (11)  I can guarantee that many will come from all over the world. They will eat with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  (12)  The citizens of that kingdom will be thrown outside into the darkness. People will cry and be in extreme pain there.  (13)  Jesus told the officer, "Go! What you believed will be done for you." And at that moment the servant was healed.

4.  The Luke warm Christian will soon discover the torments of Hell.  When a believer is just going though the motions or has no life of Christ within them, then their eternal judgement is still being written.

  a. Revelation 3:14-22  "To the messenger of the church in Laodicea, write: The amen, the witness who is faithful and true, the source of God's creation, says:  (15)  I know what you have done, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot.  (16)  But since you are lukewarm and not hot or cold, I'm going to spit you out of my mouth.  (17)  You say, 'I'm rich. I'm wealthy. I don't need anything.' Yet, you do not realize that you are miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.  (18)  I advise you: Buy gold purified in fire from me so that you may be rich. Buy white clothes from me. Wear them so that you may keep your shameful, naked body from showing. Buy ointment to put on your eyes so that you may see.  (19)  I correct and discipline everyone I love. Take this seriously, and change the way you think and act.  (20)  Look, I'm standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I'll come in and we'll eat together.  (21)  I will allow everyone who wins the victory to sit with me on my throne, as I have won the victory and have sat down with my Father on his throne.  (22)  Let the person who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the churches."

  b. Lukewarm Christians have several traits. They don't walk in His power. Their character is shameful. They spend money unwisely. ( Church building funds and church events are better funded than missionaries or outreaches.) They are caught up in the comforts of the world. Does this sound like any Christians you may know? Just sit back and see how many come to a church feeding event and how many come to a church outreach event.  I wonder if we told the Lukewarm Christians that he or she will go to hell if they don't come to the outreach would more believers be at these kind of events? Just wondering, nonetheless you get the hint. Lukewarm Christians are easy to point out. They are the ones that only come on Sunday mornings and complain about how things use to be.

We have to look internally and make sure we are not falling into the same traps. Our salvation is only sure in one person, Jesus Christ. If we try to guarantee our salvation through our own merits then we will fail every time. We need our Savior more now than ever before.Salvation is in Christ alone not through our religious do's and don'ts. To die in Christ means to become more like Him.