Monday, April 16, 2012

Do We Really Know Our Father

How well do we know our Father in heaven? We say we know Him, but are we like the story with the prodigal son?

We remember the story of the prodigal son, where he wanted his inheritance so he could run off and live life the way he thought he wanted to. But then when he gets out in the world and spends all of his inheritance he ends up so poor, he is eating with the pigs. So he decides to return home and his father welcomes him with open arms, a loving heart, and without condemnation.

Luke 15 v 21-22...And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.'....

It goes on to say they killed a fatted calf and had a big party welcoming his son home. The father said, my son was lost but now he is found. Let's have a party.

Now another important part of this story is the other son. We sometimes concentrate so much on the prodigal son, that we miss the other point here. The older son who stayed at home, gets so upset when his father throws a party for his brother, because he is thinking, how can you throw a party for such an irresponsible person. He squandered all of your money and then runs out and wants to come home and you reward him. He is saying in the story, I have been here with you always and worked hard for you and yet you have never killed a calf for me so that I may have a party with my friends. I have stayed here and obeyed your every command.

Here is the important thing to get from this part of the story. The older brother was trying to live by law and not love. He was trying to do all that he could to make sure he kept his inheritance. He didn't really know his father's heart. He didn't realize that his father loved him no matter what, and all that he had was his to start with. It was his because of his father's love for him, not because he earned it in any way.

Luke 15 v 31....And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours."...

This is a story of Jesus' love for us. He is always with us, He loves us unconditionally, and we can not do anything to earn His grace and forgiveness. His forgiveness is there when we come to Him. His arms are opened wide waiting for us to return to Him. AMEN!

Romans 8 v 1...There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit....

Another example is the story of the talents. A man left his servants with his goods while he was gone. One he gave five talents, another two, and another one. The story tells us the one with five invested and made five more to give back to his master, the one with two did the same, but the one with one talent dug a hole and hid his talent.

This story is yet again showing us where the guy with the one talent did not have a good opinion of who his master was. This story is about knowing who the Lord is. This guy says, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown. So I hid your talent, look here is what is yours', and gives Him back one talent.

First of all, He didn't know the Lord at all. Never was Jesus a hard man. Once again the servant did not really know his Master.

We could even use the story of Mary and Martha. When Jesus came to visit, and Martha was running around like a chicken with her head cut off trying to fix and make everything look just right and taste just right, while Mary was sitting at Jesus feet resting in His teaching. When Martha complained and told Jesus to tell Mary to help her, He told her Mary had chosen the good part which would not be taken away from her.

You see while Martha was busy working trying to earn His favor, Mary was spending time getting to know her Lord on a more personal basis.

Luke 10 v 40-42...But Martha was distracted with much serving,and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."....

You see Martha did not really know her Lord. She thought that He would be more concerned with the way everything looked and how well the dinner went instead He is more concerned with our hearts. He would rather that we know Him and that we rest in Him and let Him carry our burdens.

Now I ask you again, How well do we know our Father? What opinion do we have of Him? Do we see Him for the loving, caring Father that He is?

He loves us so much and without condemnation. Rest in Him. Get to know Him on a personal basis. How?


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Receive One Day At A Time

Well, he did it again, listening to one of my favorite speakers, I had another 'aha' moment. I love 'aha' moments with the word of God. Today's 'aha' moment was when Joseph Prince was teaching on being content in the day with what you have and not worrying about what tomorrow will bring.

Matthew 6 v 31...."Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'....

Matthew 6 v 34..."Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble"....

Jesus is telling us not to worry period. He tells us to rest in Him, to trust in Him for all things. His grace is poured out like fresh manna on us daily. Instead of worrying about what we will have tomorrow we need to be resting and enjoying every morsel of manna He has given us today. How can we say we are enjoying the day if we are worrying about what we will have tomorrow?

When God fed the people manna, He told them to take what they needed for that day only and not to take so much that they had left overs. For He wanted them to trust in Him that He would provide each day for them. But they didn't listen and some took more and when morning came, there were worms in their manna.

Exodus 16 v 19-20...and Moses said, "Let no one leave any of it till morning." Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them......

Now don't we all do that sometimes? No matter what the word tells us, no matter what our Pastors teach us, we still want to make sure that we or man is in control of our needs instead of trusting the Lord to provide. We will worry when things look sparse instead of believing what He tells us in His word, that He will supply ALL of our needs. He didn't say some, He said ALL.

Phil. 4 v 19....and my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.......

How much of our need will He supply? ALL! According to what and who? His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Not according to what the economy is telling us. Not according to what our circumstances look like or what man says, but according to His riches in Christ Jesus.

Our God loves us so much that He is not going to let us go without when we put our trust in Him. Sometimes we let our circumstances dictate what we have.

An example Joseph Prince used was that they were buying some land. He told his team to put in their bid on the land but not to worry over it, but to put it in God's hands. If they got the land then it was of God, and if they did not then it wasn't of God to start with.

That is how we trust in Him. Once we let go of our request into God's hands then He will bring it back to us multiplied, not the same but multiplied. But if we worry whether or not we will see increase, or whether or not we get the job we applied for, or whether or not our bid is accepted, then we have not truly trusted in Him, we are storing our manna just in case we need it for the next day. We are putting our faith in ourselves and our works instead of Him.

Phil. 4 v 11-13....Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.......

Now this verse is not telling us we must suffer like some would take it out of context to mean. No it is saying that no matter what we will abound because our trust is in Him and not on ourselves. If we go through a trial, that is just it, we will go through and not stop in the middle of it.

In other words, no matter what, we are content with the fact that our Lord, our God will provide and bring us through. And we will give Him praise and thanksgiving in all things, no matter what because our trust is in Him. AMEN!

Where can we learn to trust like this?


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Celebrate The Finished Work

A few years ago I started listening to a guy who shares God's word in such a way that when you have listened to him, you discover just how much God loves you and the work Jesus did on the cross was finished work. His death on the cross completed everything, our healing, our prosperity, our complete and total salvation. Salvation meaning whole complete, nothing missing, nothing lacking, nothing broken.

When we celebrate the Easter season we should be rejoicing in His finished work. He is no longer on the cross. He has risen and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Hallelujah! The good news is when He left this earth He left us a helper, the Holy Spirit. He said I will be with you always, I will never leave you nor forsake you.

He calls us His beloved. He says we are the righteousness of God. We are joint heirs with Him in the kingdom. We have it all yet sometimes we walk around like we are lacking.

How do we say we accept Him as our Lord and Savior but then we don't accept what the rest of His word tells us? How can we believe He died on the cross for our salvation, so that we might spend eternity with Him and the Father but yet we don't accept what the word salvation means?

God's will is always good, never bad. This Easter season is a good time to realize just how good God is, how much God loves us and just exactly who we are in Christ Jesus.

James 1 v 16-17....Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation of shadow of turning......

It is time we realize just what Jesus did when He died on that cross. It is time to quit negating the work on the cross. It is time to acknowledge who we are, what He died for, and quit giving the enemy so much attention. AMEN!

It is time for all Christians to start being who God called us to be. This doesn't mean walking around in judgement or condemnation to any who may not be of the same denomination we are, or even of the same faith.

We were called to take His gospel to the ends of the earth. We were called to be ambassadors for Christ Jesus. He went to the cross for ALL, not just for you and me or our denomination or only for Christians. Here is a question for us all. What were we before we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior?

2 Cor. 5 v 18-21...Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them , and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him......

Mark 13 v 10...and the gospel must first be preached to all the nations....

John 3 v 16-17....For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved....

He went to the cross over 2000 years ago and He finished the work on the cross. He is not waiting for us to finish it for Him. We can not work for or pay for or earn our forgiveness or our salvation in any way except that we accept His finished work on the cross. We have to accept that He paid it all with His death and resurrection.

We can't withhold sharing the gospel with someone because we think they don't look or dress or act exactly the way we feel they should. We can't withhold His good news because we might think they are unworthy of His finished work.

One of the worst things I hated to do when I was young and we had a fish camp was to have to clean the fish I caught. Daddy always said, "you catch them, you clean them."

Well praise God, He says, you fish, and I will clean. Our job is not to try to clean the fish. Our job is to share the good news and let God do His part. AMEN!

Have a Blessed Easter and celebrate the Finshed Work of the Cross.
Let me invite you to attend service with us if you do not have a home church.
LifeWay Church, 7621 Old Mocksville Rd, Salisbury, NC
Service Times 9am and 11am