Examination

When someone forwards an email to me that contains astonishing information that doesn’t seem possible, I search for the title on a site like Snopes.com to get an opinion about its validity. If it is a hoax, I copy the URL of the page where I found the debunk and reply to the person with the correction. If they continue to send me things that are not true, I “reply all” to their mailing list the correction and I am usually removed from the list.

Humans like to find “evidence” that supports our presuppositions. We like to continue not to believe ideas that conflict with what we already believe. We don’t throw away our favorite beliefs easily. We look at things written by people who disagree with us without any intentions of being swayed to change our minds. We listen to evidence that we are wrong with a thousand filters cleaning up the information so that we don’t have to change our minds. We don’t even really listen.

If we tried to prove our accepted beliefs were not true, it might be a good exercise. We would learn how to better defend our point if we actually prove that we were right. We would be able to improve the accuracy of our beliefs system if we find we were even partly wrong.

Humans hate checking their work. We hate having to examine what we believe in order to perform well or state truth. Truth is worth working hard to obtain and to maintain.

What’s New?

David was a man of vision and purpose. He wanted to build a temple for Yahweh, but his God didn’t want him to do it, so he made the design and gathered the materials and handed it all to Solomon. Solomon took the assignment, but after he completed the project, he had no personal purpose for his life.

Some people say he wrote Song of Songs in his early adulthood, Proverbs later, and Ecclesiastes in his late years. In his late years, I believe that he was very carnally minded. Up until the last chapter, Ecclesiastes is some of the bleakest, most faithless and hopeless literature available.

Some people like to quote his mis-statements “everything is futile” and “there is nothing new under the sun” as if they are part of the wisdom of proverbs. They are, however, not truth.

Yahweh’s mercies are new every morning. So new, we don’t always recognize their form. He is doing a new thing – will you notice it? (Isaiah 43:19).  If you are in Christ, everything is new (1 Corinthians 5:17).

Solomon became lifeless in his mind because he became purposeless in his life. He drifted away from Yahweh and His words because his life had no meaning. It can happen to us if we don’t pursue His word and His Spirit and become who He sees us to be.

Come To God

From Psalm 66                  The Music is HERE

Shout to God with joy, all the earth!
Sing His name – the name of Jesus!
Sing glorious praises to God, all the earth –
Lift up the name of Jesus!

Your works are awesome,
Your power is great
Your enemies fear You!
All the earth will worship and praise You.

Come, all you people,
To our awesome God!
His power is great,
So His Kingdom will last forever.

Come, be refined, Like silver in fire.
Be baptized in water and the Spirit of Life.
Come and hear Him – Listen to God.
Be cleaned by His blood, And offer your prayers.

©2004 Douglas Thomas

Ghost Stories

Almost all kids love a good ghost story. They love hearing them and then telling them. We need to get better at telling them the best ones we can come up with.

Of course, our favorite ghost is not Casper. Our favorite is Holy Ghost! You should have some good stories to share with younger believers. There are lots of awesome ones in the Book for days when you don’t have a fresh one, but pay attention to the new ones He gives you so that you can hand them down.

Psalm 71:15-19
15 My mouth will tell about Your righteousness
and Your salvation all day long,
though I cannot sum them up.
16 I come because of the mighty acts of the Lord God;
I will proclaim Your righteousness, Yours alone.
17 God, You have taught me from my youth,
and I still proclaim Your wonderful works.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
God, do not abandon me.
Then I will proclaim Your power
to another generation,
Your strength to all who are to come.
19 Your righteousness reaches heaven, God,
You who have done great things;
God, who is like You?
(from Holman Christian Standard Bible®  ©  Holman Bible Publishers.)

 

 

How Interesting

Some people hear you share a story from your life that you think is interesting, and share a similar story, because they want to connect with you – to find something that you have in common. If you show that you value their story, they share more at other times. Your relationship can grow.

Other people hear you share a story from your life and share a BIGGER story, because they want to be awarded a BIGGER score in the social interaction. Not wanting to encourage their one-up behavior, we usually offer a range of responses between sarcasm and silence. If, instead, we can convince them that we value them apart from their ability to score well on social contrast tests, we may be able to develop a real relationship with them, too.

Both opportunity types are costly, because it is more fun being interesting than it is being interested. Don’t throw either one away. Be both on days.

People are far more likely to meet Jesus through relationships with believers than they are by reading tracts about hell. Value relationships. The mercy and grace you pour into them will be returned to you with interest.

Humility

Being humble creates many opportunities and opens many doors.

It is possible to confuse fear, lack of faith, low self-esteem, and unforgiveness with humility, though. When I am afraid to commit to a project or idea or group because I fear being wrong or fear failing, I can use being humble as an excuse for not standing boldly.

If I, like Moses when Yahweh called him from the burning bush, don’t believe that God can or will cover my weaknesses and make me able to stand in a scary or important place, I can use humility as an excuse. God will be no more tolerant of it for me than He was with Moses.

Some days, I pretend not to be able to commit to a project because I’m just not that good, or not that well prepared, or some other excuse, when my real problem, like Jonah’s regarding Ninevah, is I just don’t love those people enough to become a target for their benefit.

Being awesome is our calling. Humility is appropriate as a covering from pride or fear. It should empower us, though, not excuse us or disqualify us. Stand up and be who Yahweh says you are, and do what He has authorized you to do. No excuses, no apologies, just bold, faithful perseverance.

The earth needs who you are in Christ to manifest His answers to their needs.

Motivations

I was reminded recently while talking with an intercessor that what motivates us to pray is sometimes more important than what we are praying.

When I first met Faye she was working in a daycare. When she became a believer, she started leading kids to become believers. I had been involved in several varieties of home meetings and prayer ministries and had heard some of the same prayers for years, because some of the prayers were never being answered. Included were many peoples’ requests for their unsaved spouses to get saved.

I don’t remember any of those salvation request prayers being answered. Faye started testifying in meetings about children she was leading to Jesus. She would then lead the children to pray for their family members. Frequently, she would soon be testifying about parents and siblings and aunts and uncles and grandparents of the children becoming believers.

I was shocked by the contrast of the answers to the childrens’ prayers for salvations being answered compared to the husbands’ and wives’ prayers seemingly being ignored. When I asked the Spirit about what I was not understanding, I believe that He said that usually the spouse was praying primarily because they were sick of the behavior of the unbeliever, but the children were asking Him to save people because they wanted them to be blessed by being with Jesus forever.

Relations

I just read a story about one man’s attempt at building relationships that was a sad indictment of how shallow much of our experiences with community are.

He was planning a party. He thought it would be a great opportunity to get to know his Facebook “friends” better and even give them a chance to connect with each other. He invited all 700 of them to the party. He got 75 responses! 15 said they would come, and 60 said they might come. 1 came.

Some smart alec has said that Facebook is proof that it’s still OK to have imaginary friends.

The body of Jesus is made of relationships – connections of similar gifts, different gifts, and opportunities to manifest the Lord. Those real, powerful, effective relationships occasionally happen within congregational boundaries, but most congregations are made up of Facebook style relationships, leaving the Life to need to happen somewhere else.

Are you investing heavily in relationships that connect you to the Head of the body? Are you drawing and giving Life through the time you spend with a few genuine friends in the name and Spirit of Jesus?

It doesn’t take many real relationships to be wondersful.

Preaching the Kingdom

What difference does talking about the Kingdom make in ministry?

The Gospel of Salvation does not produce servants
The Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached everywhere before the end (Jesus: Matthew 24:14)
The Gospel of Salvation is related to reconciliation
The Gospel of the Kingdom is related to authority
If 80% of the teaching of Jesus is about the Kingdom, why isn’t ours?
The Church is called to reconcile the world through sacrifice
The Kingdom of Heaven is called to rule the world through authority
His Government and peace will never stop increasing. Isaiah 9:7
John the Baptist, Jesus, the Twelve, the Seventy, Philip, Barnabas, Paul and Peter preached the Gospel of the Kingdom as well as the Gospel of Salvation

Acts 28:30 – Regarding Paul incarcerated in Rome: “Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance.”

David’s Preparation

David’s God used enemies the size of his destiny to prepare him for it.

David was chosen and anointed for his destiny long before he entered into it
1 Samuel 16:1-13
There was no change in David’s status or duty
until God started moving in other people’s lives.
1 Samuel 16:14-23
David’s elders were jealous of him.
They made presumptuous and false accusations against him.
1 Samuel 17:28,29
A very large enemy was in the way of David’s destiny.
1 Samuel 17:40-54
Established leadership showed no confidence
in David’s abilities and no vision for his destiny.
1 Samuel 17:31-33
David was prepared to face each enemy
by his victory over previous, smaller challenges.
1 Samuel 17:34-37
Incumbent leadership stood jealously in the way of David’s destiny
instead of helping prepare him for it.
1 Samuel 18:6-13
David responded to the challenges against his destiny
with the Spirit and wisdom of Yahweh.
1 Samuel 18:14-16
David “honored his fathers” – he did not presume to harm Saul,
whom he perceived to be the previous generation of God’s anointing.
2 Samuel 1:1-16
David was very cautious not to hinder what was the possible next move of God
when Absolom his son attempted a coup against the government of David.
2 Samuel 15:1-31