These Things

Something to think about.

These Things

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto us. Matthew 6:33

Have you ever wonder how this verse would be fulfilled? Is it fulfilled by God dropping blessing on you just because? Does it mean that if you seek the righteousness of God, your blessing will be magically delivered to you?

How often have we read verses like this and never stopped to ask, how? Shouldn’t we ask how? This is a powerful promise of God. If we seek him we will be rewarded in abundance. That’s what this verse says. It literally means all of your needs. Depending on your situation you may have great needs. The needs of some are greater than the needs of others but there is no distinction within this verse.  “All these things,” is what it said. God will provide what your need is regardless of what it is if you seek Him first.

It is talking about supplying all of your needs to accomplish all of your dreams and goals. “Seek his righteousness” and your needs will be supplied. If you don’t have a dream you don’t have a need. If all you want is your daily bread He will not provide a feast. If all you desire is to get by, you will.

You decide what your need is. As long as it aligns with God’s righteousness he will supply it. The condition is seeking his righteousness. The level of need is not discussed. In other words if you determine your need to be basic your provision will be basic. If your need is great your provision will be great.

But how will it be provided? Where or through whom will it be provided? The body of Christ, we collectively are described as an interdependent organism.  An organism which cannot function optimally without one another. The New Testament clearly defines our need for interdependence. In order for us to be an effective church we must combine our talents and gifts to further the kingdom of God.  Interdependence is not optional. God created a system which can only function efficiently if we all contribute the gifts He has given us.

If we are to seek the righteousness of God how do you suppose we do that? Through interdependence, we learn from each other. We receive from each other the gifts God has spread throughout the body of Christ. If we receive spiritual benefits from one another as God intended, should we not also receive all these things as well?

The needs we have are not going to be fulfilled by seeking after the world they will come from seeking after God. Through the body of Christ which was intended to be interdependant, you will receive all these things. Not through philosophies of man. Your needs may be met by the secular world but never through the secular world. In other words He will use His assets to supply your needs as long as you seek Him. The world is His and everything in it belongs to Him. He will disperse it as he sees fit. He is looking for the faithful among us to bless. If you are a seeker of God, you will receive the provision of God.

As a Christian, your needs are directly related to your dreams. Your dreams are dependant on your relationship with God. The more you seek him, the bigger the dream, the bigger the dream, the greater the need. The greater the provision.

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Family of Faith

Something to think about.

Family of Faith.

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10

As some of you know this is the mission statement of the Faith Business Alliance. The reason I choose this verse is that it best describes what I envision the Faith Business Alliance doing.  Helping all people but especially those of the family of Faith.  This has been a motivating verse in my life. It is the reason I do much of what I do in the church. As I think about this verse I ask myself what else can I do to fulfill the heart of this verse, what can I do to help those in the family of faith. 


I would like to see the church become or return to be more responsive time. A time when we were more interested in the needs of our brothers and sisters. I don’t just mean those who are in immediate need but all of us. We need as a family to begin to share the wisdom and knowledge the Lord has blessed us with.

The Lord never intended for us to keep what he has taught us to ourselves. We have a spiritual responsibility to get involved in the lives of our brothers in sister in helping them to accomplish the dreams the Lord has placed in their hearts.

 

Who is better equipped to help them than we? Who can love them into the next level in their lives if not us? We need to overcome our fear of involvement in the lives of our families. Now I am not talking about being noisy or busybodies but advisers and mentors to those who are in need of our help both in the Lord and in business. We need to get involved in such a way as to positively impact the lives of others especially of those of the family of faith. 

The New Testament speaks of us as being parts of the same body.  We need to move from the allegorical into the actual and begin to understand that we need each other to accomplish what the Lord has placed in our hearts. We cannot continue and should not continue to look outside of the church for mentors and advisers that are not part of the family of God.  If we engage with other believers in every area of life would not the blessing of God flow from one to the other? I am not asking for something out of the ordinary we do these things with people outside the body of Christ on a consistent basis. I am saying let’s begin to look inside the church and strengthen each other. As we strengthen ourselves, we will more effectively impact our society with the truth of Christ. 

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10 

How can I help you? 

Kit and Caboodle

Something to think about.

Kit and Caboodle

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17 (ESV)

If this verse only ended with”visible and invisible” but no it doesn’t. It goes right on to claim ownership of the whole kit and caboodle.  I am not able to manipulate the words in these verses and turn it into something other than what it says. God is taking responsibility for all things that exist.  Which is only logical if you accept what it says in verse 16, or in Genesis 1:1.

Now we can get into a philosophical discussion on cause and affect about the genesis of evil and attempt to place it at God’s feet. Thereby accusing him for all the evil in the world. After all, he does take responsibility for everything that’s been created. Except for taking responsibility for something is not the same as saying I am the creator of the thing. 

 

For instance, if your child goes out and performs acts of violence as in “Son of Sam” his parents must take responsibility for him but not for his actions. You might argue that the parents are responsible because they bore and raised him. The reality is that at some point you can not continue to blame the parents. The blame is solely on the perpetrator, it is on the child who decided of his own accord to be violent.  Likewise, God is responsible for creating all things, but He is not responsible or to blame for the choices we make. In the end, it is not Gods fault we sin. He created everything for His glory and our pleasure. We perverted that intent of our own accord. By the corruption of perfection with sin, we turned perfection into principalities and powers of evil.  

“All things were created through him and for him.” If we accept all things were made by Him, why would have he created evil? All things were not just made by Him they were made through and for Him. So all things have there origin Him, and He is perfect as the bible claims. It is impossible for perfection to come from imperfection as it is impossible for imperfection to come from perfection. Sin was introduced into the world through choice resulting in the corruption of perfection. Evil came into being not because God created it but because He gave man a choice. Man made a choice, and the choice man made lead to evil.  

God is responsible for creating the condition where a choice could be made.  We could have chosen perfection or imperfection. The choice we made had the inevitable consequence of evil. God is still offering us the same choice pick Him and live in eternal perfection, i.e., sinless perfection. Or choose imperfection, i.e., sin which leads to inevitable self-destruction. Whichever choice you make whether perfection or imperfection it will not be Gods fault it will be your choice and hence your fault.

If you choose perfection, evil can’t exist. If you choose to sin, evil is the prerequisite result.

Same Jesus

Something to think about.

Same Jesus

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:11 NIV

This is an unusual moment. Jesus has been resurrected for 40 days and now before his disciples and the public he is ascending into heaven.  This event is so amazing. The only time in the history of mankind we see another realm of existence interact with our physical world.

It is our hope in the concrete form of our future.  It is the actualization of the totality Christianity. It is what we live and breathe for.  The resurrection and transformation of our lives to our permanent, eternal life.  Jesus is ascending into a different life. A different existence.

He is showing us what the future holds for us.  In this amazing moment, he leaves the audience captive. So much so that angels in human form have to address them and tell them what has happened. They pronounce or define what they have just seen. These two witnesses give humanity a hope that is not equaled anywhere in the world. He will return in the same way he left.

Christ will return. It is what separates Christianity from any other belief system in the world.  The subject of our hope and faith is actually coming back for us. He will return. This moment this occurrence is beyond the imaginings of anyone.  The risen savior of humanity has ascended to His home from where He came. He left us with a promise of His return and our reuniting with Him.

The really amazing thing is this we, those who believe in Him are the only ones with this hope. The rest of the world is hoping in what? There is no substance for their hope.  We have the substance of the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. We have the testimony of many an eyewitness. We have the fulfillment of prophecy. We have the witness of the Holy Spirit in us. We have a hope and faith In the one that defeated and conquered the grave.

“…….This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11 NIV

Slavery

Something to think about.

Slavery

1 Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and singled out for God’s good news.. Romans 1:1 

This word in any culture in the world has a negative connotation, but here it is describing the relationship between Christ and Paul the Apostle.  Paul himself wrote this book these are his words. We can only conclude that he is of his own free will aligning himself with Christ with a position and title of the slave.  Let that sink in a moment. 

It is allegorical in intent, or is it exactly how Paul wanted to be identified?  I think he intended it to be actual. I think he did not want it to be figurative but in every sense a reality. If you study the words and purpose of Jesus, you will find that he only has one intent. It is for the salvation of humanity. All of his actions were for the benefit of humanity. He never proposed violence. He never proposed evil. None of His actions could be construed as being harmful to His followers. Not a one of us has anything to fear from Jesus. He never intended harm for anyone that would follow Him. In fact, it is the exact opposite. His intent is for our salvation. If you understand the intent and purpose of Christ, you can begin to see how Paul desires to be a slave of Christ. 


Paul desires to identify himself as a slave not out of fear but because there is only an upside to this relationship.  Paul understands the provision of Christ. Not just in this life but in the life which is to come. He recognizes the sovereignty of Jesus.  He has experienced the depth of love Christ has for Him.  The word slave is the best word to use to describe a relationship in which you willfully and intentionally submit your will to God. 


In Paul’s times, it was possible to sell your self into slavery with the possibility of buying your way out of slavery.  Not that it was pleasurable by any means, but still you had the choice to sell your self and then pay your way out of slavery.  This is not the arrangement that Paul intends when he claims slavery as his position.  He intends to recognize the sovereignty and benevolence of God.  He understood that God had the very best for him in mind when God sent His son to die for him.  He understood and appreciated the best place to be was within the protected resource fill arms of God.

He knew that living as a slave to Christ meant that he would have the best life. 

He knew that being a slave to Christ was not a confining judgment it is a liberating, exciting purposeful loving fulling life of joy.

A Magician He is Not

Something to think about

A Magician He is Not

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians. 4: 19

This scripture and many others like it have been used to express that willingness of God to bless people.  It is often quoted out of context or out of ignorance. Often interpreted to mean that God will give us whatever we need or want regardless of the circumstances. Then when it doesn’t happen, we wonder about the veracity of this verse and others like it.  Is God really able to fulfill this promise? 

It is akin to the soldier in the midst of battle asking God to keep Him from injury while he engages in the fight to inflict harm on his enemy.  While his enemy is asking the same thing from the same God. What most people are asking for is for a magician to extricate them from their circumstance. They want to be freed, delivered from every undesirable situation without having to deal with the cause that brought them there. They want a free pass, and when they don’t get it they ask, where is God in all this? He is where He always is, where they put Him on the outside.  

For you to be blessed by God, you have to be in His will. Now, that is not a difficult thing. At least it is not a difficult thing to understand. Do what He has told you to do. How do I know what he wants me to do? Read the bible. Don’t be so thick-headed it is not about you. It is about God it has always been about God. It will always be about God. He allows us to be part of His kingdom but be assured of this He is the boss and always will be.  

To be blessed by God “according to his riches in glory” you must be part of His kingdom. Even then He is not a candy man. He is not going to give you the desires of your sinful heart. You must begin the process of transformation by the “renewing of your mind.” Renewing as in turning away from your sin and after the precepts of God. Then is when you will begin to see the blessings of God. The blessing of God is continual and never-ending but are also tied to our personal transformation into the image of Him.  To receive the blessing of God, you must be in a place where you can receive them. God does not bless those outside of His will. The blessing of God extends only to those that are called by His name. All appearance of blessing outside of the family of God will end in permanent separation from God. Regardless of how good it may appear and be confirmed by society. Without God, that apparent blessing may lead to permanent loss and separation from God.  

If you want to be blessed of God and receive all the blessings He has in store for you move into His will. Then be ready for a life of blessings, challenges, and victories.

 

 

Four Words

Four Words

Last year about this time I participated in a fast my church had encouraged us to engage in. As I completed that fast, I felt the Lord shared with me four words. Expect, receive, glorify, repeat.

Expect

Means to expect something from God. It meant and means if we want to see God work in our lives we must expect Him to do something in our lives. A specific thing. Not something ambiguous and undefined.  Vague and unclear can’t be attributed to God.

Receive

It means we must receive what God wants to give us or do for us. If you don’t receive what God is giving you, then you can’t be blessed by Him.  Accept what He provides for you so you may accomplish what He has for you.

Glorify

Acknowledge that it is His doing that has brought you to where you are. Acknowledge publically not privately.  Let it be known that God has called you to the task and the success of that mission is dependant on His provision and not on your wisdom.

Repeat

Do the process again, expect from God, receive from God and Glorify God. Then repeat.

From last year to this year, the Lord has brought about the Faith Business Alliance. Which is responsible for the Faith Business Directory. Which is also responsible for the Aging With Grace Conference 2017 and the soon coming 2018 Conference. Which is also responsible for the Business Luncheons and Business After Hours.  As well as providing the “Essentials For a Startup, a class for new business owners.  While using all the monies collected from our activities to help fund the mission efforts of our church. Though my expectations were high last year and the Lord has exceeded my expectations. I am expecting more, receiving more so I can glorify God more. Then I will repeat.

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 

EXPECT, RECEIVE, GLORIFY, REPEAT

Time Limits

Something to think about.

Time Limits

12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: 1 Corinthians 12:1

Upon reading this verse, you are probably thinking I am going to write about spiritual gifts. Well yes and no. I am assuming you understand spiritual gifts are a given. Spiritual gifts are active and given by God to His people. The proof of the spiritual gifts given by God to His people is evident in the use of them not in the exposition of someone writing about them.   

This past Christmas I experienced the joy of watching my two-year grandchild play with all of her new gifts. It was the sheer pleasure watching her open an express her joy or displeasure at receiving a gift. She spent the day running from one gift to the other playing with them as long as her attention would allow. It’s been two weeks almost three since she received her gifts and some gifts have been regulated to the bottom of the toy box, and others are her constant companion. She prefers her blanket and her teddy bears or plush. She travels with her blanket and plush. I know, her mother knows, and the rest of the world knows that she would learn a great deal more about the world around her if she uses the other toys as well as her blanket and teddy bear.   

What are the gifts God has given you?  Has He given you crayons, a book, and robot, a microphone, a drum set, a dream? More importantly which one are you using?  Because God gives us spiritual gifts are we only supposed to use them in church only on church time? Only for those who are spiritual? Is there time limit, a location limit, a people limit.  Are we only to use the gifts of God on the people of God. For sure we are to share the gifts God has given to us to edify and uplift the church but is it only for the church?  

The gifts of God unlike the gifts given to my grandchild should become part of our DNA. They should be something we use on a continual basis. They should be what leads us in the direction of our lives. The positive figures of history are in the pages of history not for the mundane things in there lives but because they used the gifts they where given for the benefit of mankind. We know them for the exemplary use of there abilities not for anything else.  

We should be using the gifts God has given us at all times in all places for all situations. Jesus used the gifts He was given all the time in all places with all people.  And He said greater things than these you will do. With the gifts, God has given you, do for greater things.

What Does it Look Like?

Something to think about.

What Does it Look Like?

37 Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37  

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5 

When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, He answered with this verse.  There is no hidden meaning it is not a parable it is a direct answer to a direct question. What does loving God look like? How do you express your love for God and how is it evident to those around you. Love is not something that is kept in secret. It is something you want to tell everyone about or at least make it evident.

Think of all the ways you express love to your spouse your children, parents, siblings, friends. How do you show love to you God? It occurs to me that our love for God should be evident in the way we live. It is not about other people. Loving your neighbor is important, as the Bible says but loving God is on another level.  

God is the one that created you, gave you life, you exist because he thought you up. He loved you before you love Him. He created you for the singular purpose of loving you. His desire is for you to spend eternity with Him. He wants to care for you, protect you and supply your needs. Whats more He can do all of that.  He only wants to provide you with the best life you can live. Everything that is wonderful and glorious He wants for your life. Everything excellent and blissful is what He wants for you, and He has the capacity to supply it. He is not like us where we want the best for those we love but lack the resources to supply those needs.  

What have you invested to reciprocate that love? What time, effort’ money or service have you done or are doing to show God you love Him? If you love Him how do you express it?  We were created to love Him. That is our purpose. In this purpose resides the meaning of your life.  We spend all of our lives looking and desiring to be loved and all the while it has been right there in front of us.  Show God your love for Him, and you will find what you have searched for. It is said that God will meet us at the point of our need, our need is to love God.

The Past

Something to think about

The Past

13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 

This famous and inspiring verse is used and quoted many times and rightly so, as it paints a picture of perseverance and steadfastness we all need to employ in our lives.  As I get older, I find I have not really forgotten some of the things of the past. 

Forgetting things of the past is not as easy as putting them away in some long-lost abyss in the mind.  Or covering them up with new more pleasurable memories and enjoyable activities. It actually requires that you bring them to the fore of your consciousness and deal with them.  It means not to turn your back on the hurt and pain of a memory or occurrence. It actually means  to bring it with full intent to your immediate and single-minded attention and laying it before God and saying, God here it is help me to forgive and forget.  It is not a time to place blame assign guilt or in some way push it off on someone else. It is time to bring that hurt before God and ask, heal me and release me. It is time for you to come naked before the Lord and ask for his redemptive power to work in your life.  

He is the only one that can release you from the past which will allow you to push forward toward the prize. When you bring your hurts, painful memories, failures, disappointments before God and permit Him to be God, you will experience a personal freedom that can not be obtained by human means.  You don’t have to wait for years to deal with the issues that are chains around your neck. You can deal with them with God at the time of the hurt, and He will heal you. Yes, there will be a time of healing but once completed you will be able to move forward toward the goal.  

What denies you the future victory in your journey of life is not what assails you from the outside nearly as much as what binds you from the inside. The fears that are causing you to shrink back from what God has called you to do are the obstacles that keep you from the prize He has made available to you.  You do not need to conquer your fear you need to be healed from whatever caused the fear.  By bring your life before God He can heal you, then you can forget those things which are behind and press forward toward the goal He has set for you. Forgetting things of the past requires you to bring those things before God your healer and allowing Him to do what He does.