Buying Blessings?

January 31, 2015


Acts 8
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

i have to wonder if some of the prosperity preachers are not guilty or nigh guilty of a Simon spirit? As much as they preach about giving money in order to receive the blessing of God, which in these days is administered and dispensed by the Holy Spirit, does that not seem like they are having people buy the power of God or the blessings of the Spirit? “If you want God to move in your life, invest your seed money into this ministry and the Spirit will be released unto you.” Selling the blessing of God ought to be as bad as trying to buy the power to be able to give the Holy Spirit to someone.

I watched a video that was given to me about some people who just walked the streets of various places and healed people randomly and freely. There was never any mention of money and the one guy told an atheist that he was healing by the power of Jesus and not his power so the atheist could be as unbelieving as he wanted to be. Jesus would heal him because He loved him, atheist or not.

You may not agree with the theology, but you have to admire the method. No planned big crowds, no pleas for money, just healing people for nothing but the love of Christ. Note also how many healers will blame the person they are trying to heal for not having enough faith for it to happen if it fails. Tell that to the lame man in Acts 3 who was looking for a hand out and got a hand up and was healed.

I admire the guy who told the atheist to just keep on being one because God will do what He does by His power what He wants to do. If it failed, it would not be the atheist’s fault. That takes boldness and faith to accept the accountability rather placing blame on the atheist or even worse on God.

Yes, I know ministries need money to operate, but I also know George Mueller operated an orphanage by faith for many years. He never told anyone, but God, about what was needed. God provided many wonderful miracles and the kids never lacked for anything that was needed. They once had an empty cupboard and empty bowls but Bro Mueller had them sit down and thank God for their breakfast. At the end of the prayer a knock was heard and it was a man whose wagon had broken down and he offered them milk and flour. The kids ate a good breakfast.

If God can do things like that for Bro. Mueller for years, He can do that for these big ministries if they are ordained of Him and not by some man or group.  He can also do it for small ministries and you.   If He is not providing then possibly folks are not listening to His guiding voice.

So, don’t try and buy a blessing lottery ticket by listening to those hawking such things.  Besides, some of these guys could downsize their house or sell their jet to pay for whatever they are asking you to give in faith to achieve.

Want God’s blessing?  Have faith and be faithful and He will give His child what that child needs.  God’s blessings are not bought by seed money, candles, shower caps with hand prints, rituals or whatever else.  God’s blessings flow to those who are His in a love relationship with Him by receiving the gift of salvation by trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice for their sins on the Cross.  He proved that He paid the debt by His resurrection.  He could only do that because He was the Son of God in the flesh.  The pure died for the impure, the innocent for the guilty, the sinless for the sinner.  Call out to Him for that gift and then watch for His blessings.

Shalom! Maranatha!!

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Are You A Jonah?

January 31, 2015


Jonan 1

1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

Are you better than Jonah? Are there people you would never witness to because you are fine with then going to Hell? Will God have to give you a whale ride to get you to “…go into the world and preach the gospel to EVERY creature?” (Mark 16:15)

Ironically, Jonah means dove, but he did not want to be the dove of peace to people of war. He was sent like the Holy Spirit to preach judgment and then peace when they turned to God. He liked the judgment part well enough, but not the peace part.

In the middle of the storm caused by his rebellion;

Jonah slept while the heathen prayed.

Heathen spoke to Jonah about God and was concerned about their souls. Jonah didn’t speak and didn’t care about their souls.

Heathen tried to save Jonah rather than him trying to save them.

There is no place for prejudice and hatred in the Body of Christ. All humans are created in the image of God and He died for them to bring them back home.

Do not be like Jonah and go kicking and screaming and then be bitter if Jesus saves someone you don’t like. Be thankful, He was willing to save you when there was nothing in you to merit His love.

All men are my temporal brothers through Creation and some are my eternal brothers through the New Birth. All of my temporal ones should have the chance to be my eternal brother.

Ask God to forgive your hard heart and foolish prejudice then seek out they whom you would not seek and show them the love of Christ!

Shalom! Maranatha!!!


Acts
9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

Paul was not called to a prosperity gospel for suffering and prosperity are not terms that go together. Indeed, we could do a Sesame Street lesson here.

Prosperity
Health Name
It Claim It
Suffer

One of these things are not like the other. All you have to do is read Paul’s resume in 2 Cor 11:22-28 and you can see he was not in a ministry where he was well heeled, living in luxury and in great popularilty being constantly invited to synagogue, pagan temple and Roman forum alike.

You may say that was Paul’s calling but the rest of us are called to prosperity. That is not what Paul says.

Philippians 1
29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

What kind of conflict was he in? O, minor stuff like persecution, betrayal and at the time this was written in a nasty Roman prison. He was writing to the Church at Philippi, not just the leadership and all things were written to us. The type of suffering may vary, but as Menno Simons said the true church will always suffer persecution. Are you ready? You won’t be if you expect an easy street life being showered in material blessings.

Shalom! Maranatha!

Lies+Emotions+Bias=Mobs

January 21, 2015


Act 19:32  Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.

Sounds like a great many meetings that I have attended.   Some were bored and doodling like me or trying not to be called on or asked questions not very relevant just to end awkward silences or stop endless quibbling.   Sometimes what was put forth as a policy in the beginning of the meeting got convoluted so much that by the end of the meeting the policy flip flopped.

At one place, I just started dropping out of meetings.  No one fussed or seemed to miss me so while they discussed the same things for months with no resolution I was out accomplishing tasks that were needed.   I even turned a meeting I chaired into a email session that saved me time because the face to face meeting had too many derails and rabbit trails.  I used that hour far more effectively.

Our story here started out with some silversmiths that made idols being concerned about their bottom line.  Paul was converting people to Christ, which meant they no longer bought the silver idols.  Angered by this the silversmiths started spreading the word that Paul was seeking to make Diana’s temple despised and upset the order of the world.  In a sense, they were right because Paul was preaching one God and one only, which smacked down all the gods/goddesses.  When people came to Christ, the idols would be done away with and temple attendance would go down, but that was not the real goal.  The goal was to win people to Christ.  The others things were the result of coming to faith in Christ.

Act 19:29  And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.

Consequently, the whole city became emotionally confused, not having all the facts and running on high emotion can easily cause that. So they drag these men into the theatre to publicly denounce and abuse them.  People start pouring in and others seeing the crowd start heading that way as well.  As they go, they are probably asking what is going on and most likely got varying answers.  Thus when this crowd was complete you have the situation described in verse 32.

Act 19:34  But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

Add to the confusion the introduction of someone or something despised and boom you have a two hour shouting session that makes anything you would hear at a Super Bowl game sound like a whisper.

In this situation a town clerk or government official comes in, calms them down by giving them the facts and sending them home.  He did well because often once the emotions have reached this peak facts mean very little.  It is a big swing from shouting for two hours to quietly leaving the theatre.

This method of spreading a lie for someone’s gain or agenda, raising emotions and getting those emotions expressed by shouting with the intent of leading them into violence of some sort has been practiced many times throughout history. Indeed, we have seen it many times in our life time.

Emotions are a wonderful thing, but don’t let them get out of control.  Seek the truth or facts first.  Facts should be the engine and not the facts you think you know or what you want to be a fact, but the truth.  I don’t know how many times I have had to send people links from http://www.truthorfiction.com or http://www.snopes.com showing that the thing they are elated about or angry about or makes them afraid are bogus.  Basic rules of thumb if it sounds too good to be true it probably is not.  If it is too horrible to imagine it is probably exaggerated.  If it says so and so said so and so about something, it is probably out of context or not said by that person but it was attributed to them.  It may even have been contrived to create unnecessary and excessive traffic on the network to try and bring down a server.  Don’t help a hacker.

To my Christian friends, did it ever occur to you that folks that are not exactly Pro-Christian might generate crazy stuff just to get you emotional so you will start petitions and look like a fool?  They could also write some of what seems like the most wonderful story or miracle just to have you share a million times a fairy tale as they laugh about stupid and gullible Christians .  I have been fooled myself because I trusted the judgment of someone I respected.  Preachers, be careful about using some of the stuff you see on the internet or was sent to you by a pillar of the church.  They may have been sincere about the post, but they may also be sincerely wrong.

Once you have the facts then let your passion fuel that engine.  Still, you don’t want to over stoke that engine or the boiler can blow and derail your sincere attempt to fix something, right a wrong or even advance a good thing.  In fact, it may be far better to let your faith fuel the engine and allow the passion to be pulled along like a caboose.  How often have you seen that illustration when speaking of the Christian life?  Facts are the engine. Faith is the coal car and feelings are the caboose.  Seeking by faith God’s direction when you have the facts will keep the emotions under control.  Maintaining control of emotions will keep you from being swayed by the mob and by His grace getting caught up in the melee.  That is the way to avoid being a victim or God forbid, a perpetrator of the violence.  No, you may not physically harm someone, but your words may beat down someone just as badly as if you used a hammer.

It has taken me many years to come to this understanding. I was raised in an area where bullying seemed like a rite of passage and people screamed and verbally abused each other rather than have rational dialogue. If you were someone they held a bias against your life would be rough. Compounded by being mentored by pastors who thought being rude and crude was being bold for the Lord it was no wonder I was led down that path and took on that mentality and demeanor.  Stirring the emotions was also part of their normal protocol and often generated negative actions and attitudes rather than positive ones.  Sometimes, whether intentional or not, there was even some half truths or speaking from the pulpit things heard in private. It is not easy to overcome that, but by the grace of God, I trust I am making progress.

So avoid lies, keep your emotions in check and ask God to remove any ungodly bias from your heart.  Stay away from mobs and make sure you are not a mob of one in your words and actions. The peace that will bring to your soul and your family will give peace in your community and country a chance.

Shalom! Maranatha!

Whose Life?

January 14, 2015


“What are you going to with your life, BOY!!!!!!!” – My DI.

“What are you going to do with the life I gave you?” – God

My DI was wrong as it is not my life, but God’s. Sadly, my Di might have been proud if he knew my life thus far, but I can safely say God has not always been proud of how I lived the life He gave me. I am striving for better especially in these last laps of my life and by His grace I will make it to the finish line as victor for He has won that. My rewards are different and I hope I have some kind of crown to lay at His feet and praise Him, There will be plenty of wood, hay and stubble. I hope I have at least a few seed pearls when the fire is done. Nevertheless, Glory to His Name!

1Co 3

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.