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Let God Be God.

Let God be God

Restoring Human Identity and Purpose

Psalm 86:10, For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God. 11] Teach me Your way, O LORD;   I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.  12] I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore. 

Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other gods before me.

We are living in a world where confusion reigns. Confusion leads to becoming lost. People are not lost because they are going to wind up in the wrong place. They wind up in the wrong place because they are lost. (Willard, Renovation)

Philippians 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.

Belly means to be given up to the pleasures; the innermost part of a man, the soul, heart as the seat of thought, feeling, choice.

The person who is lost is obsessed with self and circumstances. They dismiss the Word while embracing their thoughts and feelings as divine direction. The “god” is their belly. (Phil. 3:19) The lost person does not want God to be God. He is insulted at the suggestion that he is lost, thinking “How dare you speak to me like that? God cannot be lost.”

It is the person who says, “I can do anything I want to do.”

There are three Gods:

1. There is the god made in the image of man. This is the god that people generally believe in—A god who has to serve them. This god does not exist. 

2. There is the god what occupies our thoughts, our minds, guides our decisions, spending, and planning.

3. Then, there is the God who people forget. The living God whom we all have to serve who has a son named Jesus Christ.  The God that exists and is the reason for our existence.

God being God offends human pride because He does not conform to the wishes of people. He doesn’t bow to our agenda. 

Romans 3:18 says, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” 

When the light of God is absent, the intellect become dysfunctional, trying to devise a truth that will be compatible with the basic falsehood that man is god. (Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines)

Indicators of the True God:

  1. Is from everlasting to everlasting
  2. Known to Adam, Abraham, Moses and the pagans of every generation
  3. Has the power to create, destroy, heal and reform 
  4. Passes final judgment
  5. Knows the hearts of people
  6. Knows the motivations of the heart
  7. Has purpose that transcends the lifetime or sensual interests of people
  8. Manifests His presence in the earth through the Holy Spirit
  9. Has a son name Jesus Christ, who is God the Son

Keys to letting God be God in your life;

1.  Allow Him to intervene into your deadness. Dead represents things separated from the life and power of God.

2.  Understand the principle of separation from the world. This does not mean that we don’t engage with world, which we obviously and necessarily do. It means that we are controlled by the world, not even by the COVID, which can become a small “g” God.

3. Obey the Word of God quickly. Find a way to be a doer of the Word. God said don’t forsake assembling yourselves together. When we could meet physically, we met online. 

4. Live from the inside out “Work out your salvation.” Don’t live from the outside in.

He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap. (Ecclesiastes 11:4)

5. Don’t believe the lie that says, “You cannot change.” Phil. 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

6. Have no confidence in the philosophies of this world regarding the nature of man, evil and God.

7. Apply God’s word and lessons to your everyday life. Remember David’s words:

Psalm 86:10, For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God. 11] Teach me Your way, O LORD;   I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.  12] I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore. 

 

 

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JUSTICE - What Is It?

JUSTICE - What Is It?

KEYNOTE SLIDES PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zzyk26b47xmomcw/Justice_Keynote.pdf?dl=0

Message includes talks by Paul Scanlon to whites about racism.

Psalm 82:3-4, Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

Matthew 23:23, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

It's important to understand that God's church touches our world in many different ways. People tend to have one view of the church or another. God's church as two primary functions in this world: We are pastoral and we are prophetic

1. Some may view Christ's Church as a place to come learn, to grow personally, become more Christlike, and to find purpose and happiness in life.

2. Some view Christ's Church as a place to reach out to the lost and hurting, to carry the gospel locally and around the world, behind prison walls, to support missions and relieve suffering.

3. Some view Christ's Church as salt and light in a dark world, to broken people, and as God’s agency for mercy and justice to people who are oppressed, orphan, and powerless.

4. Some view Christ's Church as a political party partner to advance God’s will by using godly and ungodly people in government. [Not a proper role for God’s church]

Justice is an important topic in our day. We hear a lot about injustice. We hear about the justice system. We see heartbreaking examples of injustice as well as justice being served. 

What is justice? What is social justice? If you Google the words “Christian” and “justice" see a lot of results expressing various perspectives. There is no definitive definition for social justice come but there are many narratives. Remember that a narrative is someone’s story or interpretation about reality.

For example, the narrative says that most black males are in some kind of trouble. The truth is that most African American males are solid people who do right thing. People push back with statistics, but statistics only measure was is wrong. I am a lifelong expert on being a black male among black males.

List of justice Scriptures: https://justiceco.org/resources/gods-heart-of-justice/scriptures-on-justice-mercy-oppression-and-freedom/

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Psalm 103:13 ESV As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Proverbs 17:6, Children's children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father.

Proverbs 1:8, My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother;

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Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Isaiah 43:18-19 NKJV, “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. 

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Lessons from Nehemiah: Building with Purpose, Passion, and Joy
 
Nehemiah 8:1, Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. 3 Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 8 So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading. 9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
 
As you may be aware, Nehemiah led the effort for select people to return from Babylon to Jerusalem to help people still living there who were in distress, to rebuild the wall around the city, and to restore hope and worship.
 
Through their effort and passion, the wall around Jerusalem was rebuilt in 52 days—which was an amazing accomplishment. This was a testament to the power of purpose and the effort of one man to make a difference. One person can always make a difference. Be that person.
 
In this text, we see the people gathered to hear the word of God, which was the law given through Moses. Something many had never experienced, which explains their emotional response to it.
 
As Ezra said, “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
 
Nehemiah and the people who came with him had been living in prosperous Babylon. The people in Jerusalem were in a difficult place and had many needs.
 
Regardless of how blessed you become in this world, do not forget your people and know that true joy comes from doing God's will. The Hebrew word for "strength" means "protection" and "safe harbor."
 
Having more is sometimes a lure to become complacent and captive to comfort. Nehemiah was the King's cupbearer. He was an important man in Babylon. But this was only a form of "comfortable captivity" which he refused to dwell in. Doing God's will brings strength through joy.
 
As with many instances of the word “joy,” it is associated with or contrasted to pain or challenge. There is always a story behind joy. Today, I hope to help you discover your joy story.
 
Here is part of Israel’s story:
 
Israel’s captivity in Babylon was not brutal captivity. When Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Chaldeans, conquered Jerusalem, he only deported the most prominent citizens of Judah: professionals, priests, craftsmen, and the wealthy. He left the others behind.
 
His intention was not to destroy the Israelites, but to use them to advance and build his own kingdom.
 
Nehemiah was born in Babylon and raised in exile. Nehemiah was a leader during the time when Israel was living in captivity. Nehemiah was instrumental in the rebuilding and reestablishment of Jerusalem in the fifth century B.C. following the Babylonian exile.
 
Nehemiah was a high official in the Persian court of King Artaxerxes I. Nehemiah served as the king’s cupbearer (Nehemiah 1:11), which evidently put him in a position to speak to the king and request favors from him. Lessons from Nehemiah: Building with Purpose, Passion, Joy
 
Ezra Reads and Explains the Law
 
Nehemiah 8:9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
 
Nehemiah led the effort for a select group of people to return from Babylon to Jerusalem to help people still living there who were in distress, to rebuild the wall around the city, and to restore hope and worship.
 
Through their effort and passion, the wall around Jerusalem was rebuilt in 52 days—which was an amazing accomplishment. This was a testament to the power of purpose and the effort of one man to make a difference. One person can always make a difference. Be that person.
 
As Ezra said, “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
 
Nehemiah and the people who came with him had been living in prosperous Babylon. The people in Jerusalem were in a difficult place and had many needs.
 
Regardless of how blessed you become in this world, do not forget your people and know that true joy comes from doing God's will. The Hebrew word for "strength" means "protection" and "safe harbor."
 
Israel’s captivity in Babylon was not brutal captivity. When Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Chaldeans, conquered Jerusalem, he only deported the most prominent citizens of Judah: professionals, priests, craftsmen, and the wealthy. He left the others behind.
 
His intention was not to destroy the Israelites, but to use them to advance and build his own kingdom.
 
Nehemiah was born in Babylon and raised in exile. Nehemiah was a leader during the time when Israel was living in captivity. Nehemiah was instrumental in the rebuilding and reestablishment of Jerusalem in the fifth century B.C. following the Babylonian exile.
 
I realized that we have been in captivity to coronavirus COVID-19. If fact, our captivity was similar to Israel in that those of us who have not suffered from COVID have had a relatively comfortable captivity like Nehemiah and the Israelites living in Babylon.  They had homes and a community inside of Babylon. In fact, they probably had more freedom of movement than we had at a point during our shelter in place season.
 
The season of Nehemiah's captivity in Babylon prepared him to serve a greater purpose. Though he had no direct connection to Jerusalem, he always knew Israel was his homeland and Jerusalem was its capital city. Seasons of captivity or limitation always have a greater purpose.
 
Nehemiah had an interest that became a passion. That passion became a source of joy and strength. It came from an encounter with the Lord and through prayer.
 
There are parallels between Israel's captivity in Babylon in our captivity to coronavirus. We have to consider that part of God’s design for the season was to help us grow and grow closer to him. These seasons also provide and opportunity to purge out unnecessary things and to refocus. The old saying is, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
 
This is consistent with James chapter 1 which tells us guys design for trials. “Count it all joy.”
 
There has been another captivity with African Americans and black men in particular being subject to mistreatment and violence.  The current outcry against the murder of George Floyd, an innocent black men accused of no crime, but angered a white police officer. There is a captivity of expectation for black people to submit, to be subservient, and compliant. We are all aware of it. Some black folks just play along to get along.
 
Nehemiah was a man of great privilege in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. He used his privilege to serve the Lord, serve his people, and serve his purpose.
 
That was that source of his joy. Joy is not an emotion. Joy leads to good emotions, but joy is strength from the Lord.
 
Their enemies tried to discourage and discredit them, but they kept building
Their enemies conspired against them, but they kept building
Their enemies wanted to have a conversation in ONO, but they declined and kept building
 
Nehemiah 6:1, Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), 2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.
 
Sometimes when enemies cannot compete with you or defeat you, they will ask for a meeting to have a conversation and waste your time. How you use your time is part of your purpose and part of your joy.
 
In Nehemiah chapter 9 they experienced repentance and restoration of relationship with God
 
Nehemiah 9:36, “Here we are, servants today! And the land that You gave to our fathers, To eat its fruit and its bounty, Here we are, servants in it! 37 And it yields much increase to the kings You have set over us, Because of our sins; Also they have dominion over our bodies and our cattle At their pleasure; And we are in great distress. 38  “And because of all this, We make a sure covenant and write it; Our leaders, our Levites, and our priests seal it.”
 
This was the restoration of the people of God with God. This was part of Nehemiah’s purpose and joy.
 
Joy comes out of the recognition of what God has done and is doing, such as when God’s people in Nehemiah’s day completed the wall around Jerusalem as they purposed to do.
 
Nehemiah 12:43, “Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.”
 
Joy is not denial of your own pain or the pain of others. The joy of the Lord is your strength and perspective.
 
Joy is your strength because joy is from the Lord and anything He provides gives your strength.
 
Joy is your perspective because you focus on the right things
 
Reminder: God's design for the outcome of trials (including COVID) is to cause you to become "mature and complete, lacking nothing." Let "patience" have its complete work -- which is developing you while you wait on Him.
 
James 1:2 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect [mature] and complete, lacking nothing.”
 
Let your season sing!
 
Isaiah 55:12 "For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
 
 
I began to realize that we have been in captivity to coronavirus COVID-19. If fact, our captivity was similar to Israel in that those of us who have not suffered from COVID have had a relatively comfortable captivity like Nehemiah and the Israelites living in Babylon.  They had homes and a community inside of Babylon. In fact, they probably had more freedom of movement than we had at a point during our shelter in place season.
 
The season of Nehemiah's captivity in Babylon prepared him to serve a greater purpose. Though he had no direct connection to Jerusalem, he always knew Israel was his homeland and Jerusalem was its capital city. Seasons of captivity or limitation always have a greater purpose.
 
Something about Nehemiah never visiting Jerusalem put the city in a special place in his heart and mind. Sometimes we learn to respect or desire the things that we don't have, more than people who have those things.
 
After hearing about the sad state of affairs in Judah, Nehemiah acquired the king’s permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and its fortifications. He is even given letters from the king to ensure safe passage and to obtain timber from the king’s forest for the gates and walls of Jerusalem.
 
Nehemiah had an interest that became a passion. That passion became a source of joy and strength. It came from an encounter with the Lord and through prayer.
 
Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem in 445 B.C. as the provincial governor of Judah.
 
The hurried work of repairing and rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls and gates was completed in just 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15).
 
There are parallels between Israel's captivity in Babylon in our captivity to coronavirus. We have to consider that part of God’s design for the season was to help us grow and grow closer to him. These seasons also provide and opportunity to purge out unnecessary things and to refocus. The old saying is, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
 
This is consistent with James chapter 1 which tells us guys design for trials. “Count it all joy.”
 
There has been another captivity with African Americans and black men in particular being subject to mistreatment and violence.  The current outcry against the murder of George Floyd, an innocent black men accused of no crime, but angered a white police officer. There is a captivity of expectation for black people to submit, to be subservient, and compliant. We are all aware of it. Some black folks just play along to get along.
 
Nehemiah was a man of great privilege in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. He used his privilege to serve the Lord, serve his people, and serve his purpose.
 
That was that source of his joy. Joy is not an emotion. Joy leads to good emotions, but joy is strength from the Lord.
 
Their enemies tried to discourage and discredit them, but they kept building
Their enemies conspired against them, but they kept building
Their enemies wanted to have a conversation in ONO, but they declined and kept building
 
Nehemiah 6:1, Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), 2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.
 
Sometimes when enemies cannot compete with you or defeat you, they will ask for a meeting to have a conversation and waste your time. How you use your time is part of your purpose and part of your joy.
 
I am not only referring to people, sometimes our own minds play tricks on us to pull us away from our purpose and our joy.
 
In Nehemiah chapter 8 they experienced a restoration to the law or a word of God.
 
In Nehemiah chapter 9 they experienced repentance and restoration of relationship with God
 
Nehemiah 9:36, “Here we are, servants today! And the land that You gave to our fathers, To eat its fruit and its bounty, Here we are, servants in it! 37 And it yields much increase to the kings You have set over us, Because of our sins; Also they have dominion over our bodies and our cattle At their pleasure; And we are in great distress. 38  “And because of all this, We make a sure covenant and write it; Our leaders, our Levites, and our priests seal it.”
 
This was the restoration of the people of God with God. This was part of Nehemiah’s purpose and joy.
 
Joy comes out of the recognition of what God has done and is doing, such as when God’s people in Nehemiah’s day completed the wall around Jerusalem as they purposed to do.
 
Nehemiah 12:43, “Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.”
 
Joy is not denial of your own pain or the pain of others. The joy of the Lord is your strength and perspective.
 
Joy is your strength because joy is from the Lord and anything He provides gives your strength.
 
Joy is your perspective because you focus on the right things
 
(Show a photograph of a junky place with something beautiful in the middle of it)
 
Reminder: God's design for the outcome of trials (including COVID) is to cause you to become "mature and complete, lacking nothing." Let "patience" have its complete work -- which is developing you while you wait on Him.
 
James 1:2 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect [mature] and complete, lacking nothing.”
 
Let your season sing!
 
Isaiah 55:12 "For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."

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Psalm 139:15 (NLT) You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!

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“By your patience possess your souls.” Luke 21:19 

God always equips us for the times in which we live. We sometimes wonder how our forefathers survived the times in which they lived.  It's really difficult to compare one era to another. Everyone has to learn, adapt, and overcome in their unique circumstances. One thing is certain, as God told Ruth during a crisis in her times, "You have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”

Here are some translations from other Bibles:

NIV: "Stand firm, and you will win life." 

NASB: "'By your endurance you will gain your lives." 

NLT: "By standing firm, you will win your souls." 

If we've been in touch with the Lord during this season, we understand that Romans 8:28 has been in effect.

What is patience?

Patience is not simply waiting, it is waiting while under development by the Lord. 

Patience is honoring God’s process. Patience is waiting like a seed that has been planted. It doesn’t seem like anything is going on with that seed, but we know the process for seed germination is the beginning of producing the designed outcome. 

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Jesus Rose So You Can Stand!

Jesus Rose so You Can Stand.

1 Cor 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive

What does it mean to stand? The most obvious definition is: “To be in an upright position with all of your weight on your feet.”

Other meanings: To maintain one's position, as in “standing firm.” To be in a particular state or situation. To remain stationary or inactive,: to make firm, fix establish, To cause a person or a thing to keep his or its place; to establish a thing, cause it to stand

1 Cor 15:45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

In Adam we stand in our humanity and mortality. “In Adam, all die....” Without Christ people are standing but are “dead men walking.”

1 Cor. 15:14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive

I Cor 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

What does it mean to “think” one is standing. To think is to have an opinion, not necessarily to have God’s truth and promise. Adam and Eve thought that eating the fruit would make them wise.

Joshua 7:2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.” 4 So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. 5 And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.

10 So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you. 13 Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”

There was something in the camp and hearts of the people that kept them from standing up and prevailing over a minor obstacle.What is it in your camp or heart that hinders your stand?

Don’t just stand by. Stand up! Do not overestimate your resources and underestimate your stand.

Again, as it says in 1Cor 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

Put God’s Word ahead of what you think and your opinion. We are not just hearers of the word. We are doers. People who hear but fail to act miss the opportunity to stand.

Don’t just stand by. Stand up!

When we have the power of resurrection, we always have the power to always stand. Not only to stand up but to stand in the place of victory.

Philippians 3:9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Know Jesus and His resurrection power! His resurrection was not only a past event, it is a present day power for standing!

“Resurrection” is from the biblical Greek word: “Anastasis” which is a combination of two words meaning: “up” and “to cause to stand.”

Jesus will take you as you are and where you are.

Jesus will raise you from spiritual death to new life.

Jesus will show you the exceeding greatness of God power

Jesus will release that power in your life.

Jesus, the Last Adam, will reverse the curse brought about by the first Adam.

Jesus will introduce you to a resurrected lifestyle.

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SeedTime & Harvest: Preparing for Advance in a Time of Crisis

Jesus spoke a parable describing the conditions of people’s hearts in relation to God’s word, or the seed. How you handle the seed of God’s is the most important thing that you handle.

Matthew 13:1 On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Look at what Jesus said in regard to The Purpose of Parables:

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 

 

He describe four conditions of soil, or of the heart: Three bad and one good. 

1) Wayside is an unreceptive place: In Palestine the fields were in long narrow strips; and the ground between the strips was always a right of way. It was used as a common path; and therefore it was beaten as hard as a pavement by the feet of countless passers-by

2) Stony was shallow. It is a then layer of soil over limestone rock

3) Thorny was full of weeds and distractions. Luke 8:14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. The thorny ground was deceptive. When the sower was sowing, the ground would look clean enough. It is easy to make a garden look clean by simply turning it over; but in the ground still lay the fibrous roots of the couch grass and the bishop weed and all the perennial pests [like crab grass], ready to spring to life again. Every gardener knows that the weeds grow with a speed and a strength that few good seeds can equal. The result was that the good seed and the dormant weeds grew together; but the weeds were so strong that they choked the life out of the seed.

4) Good ground was tilled and ready to receive seed. Which condition describes your heart?

Operating in your authority requires a heart prepared like a good garden or farm field. There’s a lot that God wants to do through us and with us.

Let’s deal with the condition of the soil with weeds and thorns. This condition best describes many of us who attend church. We do well receiving the word and understanding what we are hearing. But during the week, as a results of challenges, circumstances, and stuff we let into our hearts and minds, the word gets choked out. Jesus  said we become, “choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life.”

The best way to stop being distracted, is to learn how to focus.

TThe Power of Sowing in Obedience to God  

Genesis 26:1 There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.

Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. So Isaac dwelt in Gerar. 

12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. 13 The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; 14 for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him

LESSONS FOR YOU FROM ISAAC

  1. Resist the urge to be frightened and flee.
  2. When conditions change, make adjustments and remain obedient to God.
  3. Sowing is our business. Reaping is God’s business.
  4. People will envy your progress. Don’t give energy to them.

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Live In The House of Wisdom

The Path Principle

Proverbs 24:3-4 Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. 

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;  Fear the LORD and depart from evil.     

Proverbs. 4:26 Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. 

WISDOM

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. 

Walking in wisdom is about making good choices. Wisdom is essentially the ability to look at several options, and select the best one. But that's not something we do very well all by ourselves. We need the wisdom that comes from parenting. We need to wisdom they comes from education. We need the wisdom that comes from training. And most of all, we need the wisdom that comes from God.

Interesting, what people seem to do most, being entertained, provides almost no wisdom at all. Some of the definitions of entertain include the words, Similar: amuse, divert, distract

Wisdom always comes from sources that are bigger than ourselves:

Isaiah said 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

The apostle Paul said: 1 Corinthians 2:16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

The best way to know if you're walking in wisdom is to think about the path that you're traveling. There's something called the “path principle.” This is something I heard Pastor Andy Stanley talk about many years ago.

If you don't like where you are now, you only need to think about the path you've been walking.

What is the path principle?

The path is a direction leading to a destination. When you step onto a path, you begin toward the destination of that road, regardless of your intentions. It doesn't matter what you intend to do, it only matters what path you are on.

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