Monday, August 30, 2010

The Mirror

We teach what we know but we reproduce who we are--Troy Jones

2 Samuel 21:22 says...These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men (David’s men also killed Giants).

David's mighty men were able to kill the remaining giants because their leader David had already killed Goliath. When everyone was afraid and hiding because of Goliath's threats, David was willing to be bold and trust in God and confront Goliath. As a result those who followed him later could do the same.

As we lead our spouses, children, co-workers, and family this principle works the same. Gone are the days of "don't do what I do just what I say." We reproduce who we are! If our children are acting certain ways, there is a good chance they learned it from us.

What is one character or quality that you would love to see in those around you? Ask God today to start making it a reality in your own life. As that quality becomes a part of who you are, you will begin to reproduce yourself in others.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Finger

Throughout the course of a day it is so easy to see the junk and wrong in other peoples lives. We see how rude and inconsiderate other people are on the highway. We see how heartless and picking our bosses are. We see how thoughtless and inconsiderate our spouses are. etc. etc.

2 Samuel 12:5 says David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die!

Going back a few verses and chapters you see what happens. Instead of going out to war with the troops King David stays back. When he is looking out of the palace he sees another woman bathing and finds outs its Bathsheeba, wife of Uriah. He ends up sleeping with this man's wife and she gets pregnant. To cover it up, he ends up sending him to the front lines of battle so he gets killed. He then takes Bathsheeba as his wife thinking he has covered everything up. That is until Nathan the Prophet comes and tells him a story (2 Samuel 12:1-7)

Usually, we are critical & judgemental of others for the exact same things we struggle with. We end up pointing the finger at others when we are just as guilty ourselves. The next time we begin to become critical of others, lets pause and ask, "what sin in my life am I struggling with or trying to hide?" Asking this simple question may cause us to see the situation in a completely different light.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What Tree Are You?

Below is a challenging article from Pastor Tim Dilena in Highland Park.
Christians should resemble a fruit tree and not a Christmas tree. A Christmas tree has decorations that are tied on, but the fruit tree has its fruit grows out of it not placed on it. Holiness is not stuff that people tell you to hang on your life; it is the result of something that is in you. You don’t have to teach holy actions to people; if the new life is in them it should come to them naturally. To say that sanctification (the process of becoming more like Jesus) is natural consequence of regeneration is not to say that it is automatic. The Christian can still act badly and thoughtlessly and selfishly, and grieve the Spirit, and fail in marriage and relationships and be depressed, but every Christian has the potential for holiness (being set apart) now since Christ is in them.

This is a work of the Holy Spirit. Holiness is the fruit of the Spirit. Holiness is not an attribute that we have inherently. Doing the wrong thing is natural to us. In Mark 7:23 Jesus teaches that within the soil of every man’s heart lies buried ugly seeds of every conceivable sin. The “evil things” which we think, do, and say are not due primarily to our environment or are they bad habits picked up from bad teaching, bad company or bad examples. They are due to an inner corruption of the heart. That is not to say that environment or education are unimportant, for their influence can be good and bad. What Jesus is saying is that the dominant force in a person’s life is his heredity, and that his nature is twisted and self centered. We say and do evil things because we have an evil heart or nature.

Even when people are at their best and giving good gifts to children they are still evil by nature. Jesus says “If you then who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children” This statement is striking; because it alludes to the fact that fallen men can do good things. Father and mothers who are not saved can love their children and make sacrifices for them but at the same time they do not escape the category of being evil.

It is out of the heart that evil things and evil thoughts arise. Here is the deduction: our heart controls our hands and feet or our nature governs our behavior. The heart of the problem is the heart. Right behavior in the eyes of God is dependent upon getting a new heart. And Jesus said this was possible in Matthew 12:33 “Make the tree good and its fruit is good” So the new birth is a profound inward change. It is the implantation by God of a new life, the bestowal of a new nature, the gift of a new heart Ezek. 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Religion has messed up “holiness”. We make holiness out to be rules and legalism. It’s not that complicated. Simply put holiness can be defined as wholeness or healthy. It means inward health. It is a balanced life. And our human nature is all about imbalance. Just look at the medical profession. Most physicians today are specialists that just focus on one aspect of health. But Jesus is not a specialist in a few areas. He is a specialist in every area. He is the Great Physician who heals our heart, renews our minds, and transforms us into His image.

So what tree are you? A Christmas tree adorned with self aggrandized ornaments or a fruit tree bearing fruit that is produced by the Holy Spirit? Let Jesus exchange your heart of stone with a heart of flesh. Allow the Holy Spirit to produce fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Voice Over

The following is an article from Matt Anderson in his weekly "Matt Chat" email. Thought this was worth sharing...enjoy!!

Have you ever noticed that audio loop that plays on the public address system at airports? It is that nondescript, unthreatening, reassuring voice giving us proper traveling instructions. It helps us to understand that, "The Red Zone is for loading and unloading of emergency vehicles only," and that parking is restricted in such areas. Inside the concouse, we're told to "not leave our baggage unattended at any time". The faceless instruction continues unabated, occasionally interrupted by calls for passengers to report to the United Airlines ticket counter.

I'm convinced that we have a similar loop that plays unendingly within our mind. And what we've allowed to be recorded on that loop will largely determine the direction of our life and our attitude while getting there. The mind is the navigational system of the soul. The coordinates placed within it control our belief systems and faith level. How it operates determines how we function on a daily basis. What we fail to understand, however, is our role in it.

From our earliest recollections, voices all around have contributed to the contents of "the loop". Parents, siblings, kids on the school playground - all have lended their voices to it. For those who have been nurtured in caring, scriptural families or environments, their loop is the launching point to believing the absolute greatest possibilities in God. For others, it's a constant reminder of their faults and inevitable victimization. It's all the difference between, "Good morning, Lord!" and "Good lord...morning."

We know the enemy of our soul wants to do all he can to infect the recording. He wants us to believe the worst about ourselves and our Father. When others have been his mouthpiece, it becomes that much more settled in our cerebral cortex. There are people reading this article today who hourly believe they are not as loved as others, less able, untalented, ugly, doomed to failure, and a source of shame to their friends and loved ones. Yep, Christians. People who have been redeemed and lift their voice in worship on Sunday morning. They do what they can to fight through it, but it plays without ceasing and constantly sends them the wrong direction. The longer it plays, the more true it is.

Maybe you've never given thought to, well, your thoughts. You haven't done a detailed, spiritual inventory of the loop. Maybe I'm not the first, but if your mind is constant source of spiritual drain for you, let me unequivocally state that those are all lies! You are not who you have believed yourself to be. The Lord wants to perform a voiceover today. He wants to renew your mind and "take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ" (II Corinthians 10:5, NLT).

This week, I'm going to ask you to do something difficult. I want you to write down the harmful, untrue thoughts that have played in your mind for years. It's time to expose the lies of the evil one. I guarantee you'll feel silly writing them for the simple reason that exposing them will immediately reveal their inherent idiocy. Satan's lies lose their punch when taken out of the realm of secrecy.

The Father also wants to have His say in all this. Bring light to the darkness and watch the darkness dispel. Once you've exposed the lies, I want you to search the Scriptures for passages that speak the opposite of the accusations. Write them down and place them in strategic locations, like your nightstand, computer, bathroom mirror, and car. We have to be very intentional about allowing God to renew our thoughts and that means surrouding ourselves in His Word. He wants to replace our thoughts of failure, abandonment, and isolation with His reminders of abundant living, constant presence, and companionship. We've let this thing play too long. We're not stuck with this; it can be better. The truth will indeed set us free, so let's hand God the mike and let Him start marking a path of righteousness and peace within us today. I hope you have an amazing week.

The Matt Chat Book is available at the Create Space E-Store by clicking here, or at by clicking here. Hope it provides inspiration for you.