September 30, 2013
September 15, 2013
“Celebrity nowadays is so fleeting.” Aubrey O’Day
Indeed, in life there are many one hit wonders in every career field. In the military, we said that one “Aww, Nuts!” wiped out ten “Atta Boys!” You can be the fair haired boy on the fast track one day and a company merger puts you in the unemployment line. A man or women so loved and cherished on their wedding day finds themselves served divorce papers in a relatively short time. You can be the team who goes to the Super Bowl three times, but when you lose you are the dirt dog though there are very few teams who ever made it there that often.
In ministry, it can be the same way, and since all believers are servants/ministers we will all experience reversals at some point. Not too long ago, I was at a church where a couple was doing a fine job ministering to the youth. The pastor had appointed them, but because they had no formal education that galled some of the board/bored members. Controversy came up and the Scribes and Lawyers found ways to hamper and berate the pastor from their constitution and ultimately he resigned when he realized he would never be able to do anything God led him to do without being bogged down in litigation for months. As soon as he left, the couple was put out of their successful ministry and the search was on for a more appropriately prepared and ordained couple. Sigh, such nonsense!
A pastor is called and it is all pecan pie and ice cream for awhile then he says something about a sin the Chairman of the Deacon Board is involved with or the daughter of some super giver and it is all over. He may linger on for awhile, but he is a lame duck just speaking to a hostile audience.
Let the Youth Pastor have to ban a kid from a few activities or send the banker’s daughter home because of provocative clothing and it won’t matter if he grew the group from 30 to 150 in a year. The 60 kids he led to Christ will not get him much mercy. I know a fellow who was given a week’s termination notice just a few days after his dad was asked to come and speak at the Church.
Paul had pretty much the same experience in Lystra. He and Barnabas had just healed a man crippled from birth. Man, he was the hit of the century. They thought Barnabas was Jupiter and Paul Mercury. They were made gods in a instant just like a rock star. Paul had to do some fast talking to keep the Priest of Jupiter from offering up sacrifices to them. WOW! What an open door to win folks to Christ! Not!
18 And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.
19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. KJV
As long as they were seeing what they wanted to see and heard the chants they wanted to hear Paul and Barnabas were top shelf. Once their fantasy bubble was popped they were open to the persuasion by the Jews. It allowed them to stay believing what they wanted to hear so that was a comfort to them. Hence Paul is stoned and left for dead. I wonder how Barnabas escaped. Sometimes it pays to not be the main speaker.
In one sentence, you just barely kept from having sacrifices made in your honor to being stoned in the next. Paul had a penchant for that.
22:1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
2(And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,) KJV
21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
22 And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.
23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air, KJV
It took a quite a few more sentences, but ended up the same way in Jerusalem. First, they are beating him here, but as soon as he started speaking their language they were ears. You could have heard a pin drop as they hung on his every word. They enjoyed the reciting of their history and the glories of God, but then Paul dropped the G word!
Gentile had the same effect as the N word today. In those days, you were either a Jew or a dog. The Jews hated to Gentiles and with good reasons as nearly every nation in the world had tried to exterminate the Jews. Not much has changed in history. We see the same thing today.
Once they were no longer hearing what they wanted to hear they turned on him. Now he was worthy of death and a blight on the earth. Senator Lieberman felt some of this when he went from a VP candidate to having to run as an Independent to keep his Senate seat because he went with his conscience on just one issue rather than tout the party line.
If you are truly seeking to serve the Lord expect such reversals. All that call themselves brethren are not. If you are riding the glory train today you may be riding the rail tomorrow so don’t get too comfortable. Satan will not want to keep you there unless you get prideful then he can use you. God will not let you stay there if you become pride so walk that tightrope circumspectly.
The good news is that when you go from sacrifices to stones you are in the same company as Paul. Better yet, you are in company with Jesus who went from Hosanna to being the sacrifice in less than a week. He was the stone the builder’s rejected He is the rock of our salvation! Many of our brethren overseas have experience that kind of week and we may see many of us here walking that same path. Even so, come Lord Jesus! Maranatha!!!
September 8, 2013
In the parable of the sower we see that the fields of the heart are affected by many things and even the good field’s harvest varies.
Mark 4:8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. KJV
Is it inevitable that a Christian will be a 30, 60, or 100 field or is there a chance to up the harvest or even decrease it. If some were 30 last year can they be a 60 this year? If some were a 100 will they have some bad years and end up as a 30? I believe it can fluctuate throughout the years, but we can have a better crop in the bad years and even better good years if we do some prescribed burning of our field.
12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. KJV
3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. KJV
Both prophets call for a breaking up of the fallow ground, which involves pulling weeds and removing stones and debris during plowing. Even though the nation had obviously had a bad crop period and paid the price of eating lies, Hosea calls for a resowing of the field after repentance to gain a better harvest. Jeremiah gives sound advice on where to sow and what condition your heart must be in to know how to plow and sow. Otherwise God was going to set fire to their field and it would be completely burnt.
Why would God burn a field? Is it to totally destroy His people or other nation. Is burning a field the end of harvesting?
4 And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails.
5 And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives. KJV
Samson burned a field to get some attention to his situation and as revenge. Sometimes God will burn our fields to get our attention. Often we are too busy setting torches to other people’s field and ignoring the dead grass, weeds and other issues in our own fields. Therefore God may get to the point where He sends the fire to ours to get our attention and maybe even avenge the brothers who fields we burned.
7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. KJV
Depending on you theological bent, you may see a person losing his salvation here, but there are far too many Scriptures that teach otherwise so may we need to look at this a different way. I am not a farmer by any means. I have heard over the years about controlled or prescribed burns both in forestry and agriculture, but it is also used in cattle raising.
I found a great article on the whys of burning a field on a blog called The Pioneer Woman by a buckaroo who calls himself Marlboro Man. I will have the link at the end of the message should you want to study up on it.
Here is the synopsis I gleaned from the article. Burning the field releases nutrients into the ground and helps control brush and weeds. It kills ticks and parasitic worms. Burning brings in lush and clean looking grass versus the brown dead grass being mixed in with the new growth. It evens the grass out so that there are no clumps of old thick grass that are not as appetizing because the bunch grass has a hard stem The grass from the burned fields has all fresh nutrients while the dead grass mixed with the green grass is just filler in an unburned field. This lush grass is better for the cattle as they will weigh 50-75 pounds more than those fed on unburned fields. That can bring 60-80 dollars more at auction for a yearling.
So, we see a burning of the field can be very beneficial and while it can be called a judgment upon what is on the field it is designed to better the field and its future. If the field could talk, I would reckon it would not say that the burning itself was a pleasant experience, but the after effect was worth the pain.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. KJV
Sometimes it is best if God burns our fields for we get haphazard in our sowing. We sow in stony ground or we ignore the weeds and briers. That results in no real fruit and provides a place for ticks and parasitic worms to grow creating more havoc to our harvest. We get things that get all clumped up with hard stems because of anger, bitterness, grief or greed. As people come into our lives looking for some spiritual nourishment they are turned off from these and we have no way to show them how to get to the lush pastures God will provide. We have not allowed it to grow in our lives so we can’t possibly show the way. We may have some patches of green, but the dead fillers of religion and tradition don’t even allow those patches to nourish us let along attract another to the field to join us. We may not even be trying to break up our fallow ground and even if we do without burning the field before we plow we just irritate the ticks and worms rather than destroying them and plow the seeds of the weeds back into the ground so they prosper instead of being killed.
Note that field with briers is rejected and indeed it cannot be blessed and is nigh unto cursing but that does not mean the field is to be cursed though it is to be burned. It cannot be blessed as it is but there is a chance the burning can be beneficial if field will allow the burning here rather than at the BEMA or judgment seat of Christ where the saved either gain or lose rewards for their life’s work.
1 Tim 5:24-25
24 Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.
25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid. KJV
When we are saved, all of our sins from birth to death are covered and thus are open beforehand and judged. We are forgiven by faith alone. Our good works or bad will determine our quality of life here and our rewards there. This is why it is best to keep our sins confessed so as to keep our fellowship sweet.
We should from time to time should seek to burn our fields or better yet, ask God to burn them for us for a few reasons. We want to get rid of dead works so that we can be more lush and useful here. We also will be more aware and change our building materials here for what we are building there.
If you live in state like Texas, you know that grass fires can be very damaging for many miles and destroy not just the grass, but often homes as well. Those who live in places where this happens often will set up a fire line or fire break around their homes.
Lush lawns right up to the walls with beautiful shrubbery are not going to be found there. Grass will be halted at a distance or some may even have a trench around their house that might look like a dry moat. This is to prevent the fire from burning down the house because there is no fuel for the fire and unless it jumps the break the fire can be all around the house and yet it will survive. You catch any small breaks and extinguish them immediately.
As much as we may try, too often our field maintenance is not enough. We get lazy or sidetracked and the weeds pile up and the grass turns brown. Ticks are everywhere. We then either justify and ignore the problem or get overwhelmed and despair. That is when it is best to go to God and ask Him to burn the field. We may find that some of what we thought were our lush spots were really dead grass compared to what He wanted to grow there. We get new direction and stability as well as a field that will produce better crops and nourish us as well as others. Consistently practicing this will also provide us a firebreak.
1 Cor 3:11-15
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. KJV
The first few times we ask God to burn our fields may seem like we are in the ultimate disaster, but in the end we will see that we took care of the wood, hay, and stubble in our life here so that our building project will survive far better at the BEMA. The refocus will help us to seek His face and will and as we respond to that we will be able to work out our salvation by pulling out weeds, spraying for ticks, etc. (Phil 2:12,13) Because the wood, hay and stubble is burned here we will not have to see it burn down our building later. We will never be perfect, but it will be far better to see our building stand with scorch marks or holes in the roof and walls than to see it reduced to the foundation.
Brethren, seek God and ask Him to burn your field and make the fire break. You will be thrilled later though it might be painful and embarrassing here. You may have lain fallow for many years and nigh unto cursing, but if Jesus is your Savior you can get it right and end this life with a lush field to offer the Lord. Won’t you do it? John Wesley said people came to hear him because he set himself on fire and people came to watch him burn. He obviously regularly burned his field.
Unbelieving friend, you have no foundation so you will lose everything by fire in that day you stand before the Great White Throne judgment. All your life’s work will be burned and then you will be placed in the Lake of Fire where you will burn for eternity. You will remember every sin, have every lust, but cannot fulfill them as well as remember every opportunity to receive the love and forgiveness of God through His Son, Jesus, the ultimate fire break. Come to Him. Change your mind about your sin and ask Him to be Lord and Savior. Burn the field now and start to build again. He wants to lead you into green pastures like you have never known. Do it now!!! Time is short. Maranatha!!
September 6, 2013
“To be completely a woman you need a master, and in him a compass for your life. You need a man you can look up to and respect. If you dethrone him it’s no wonder that you are discontented, and discontented women are not loved for long.” – Marlene Dietrich
What a debate it would be between her and Gloria Steinem! I would wager Marlene would win because she was a very strong woman, which makes this a really surprising statement. She is right about needing a master, but really it is to be completely human you need a master and a compass for you life and that master is Jesus Christ.