Tuesday, April 30, 2013

READY?

Watch, Pray, Listen, Act

These were concepts summarized by the Holy Spirit to me recently. They were the words, verbs (action words), which the Holy Spirit gave me to communicate the need to fill the Christian's life in these days.

It is the heart of God that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9).  It is the Great Commission on our lives as Christians to go tell the world or just our local community - The Good News of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19).  It is our responsibility to get one-on-one with God and find out our calling or specific mission for Him while on this earth, during this time in history and do it.  So, salvation is NOT ENOUGH.  Oh, it is enough to get you in "The Door".  However, here is what The Lord says about this - 
  • "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.  If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." - 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
There is going to come a time when our deeds/works for Jesus will be judged.  If what we did for Him did not amount to much (because God knows all factors) or if we did NOTHING for God but just accepted His salvation plan for our lives, then "he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."  Don't you want to have something to show for your faith in God?  Do not live non-active.  I hear an awesome ring to the next verse IF you and I do live an ACTIVE lifestyle for the Lord.
  • "It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night." - Luke 12:38
I wanted to strongly emphasize the importance of how good of a thing it will be for those who live their Christian life in active preparation for the next chapter of existence.   

Watch
The Lord promised He would return.  Many Christians believe in two parts to Christ's return - The Rapture and The Glorious Appearing/Second Coming.  It is believed by many eschatological Christian scholars that Christians may know the season of The Rapture, but not the day or hour.  Therefore, Christians have been told to watch
  • "Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn." - Mark 13:35
  • "Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man." - Luke 21:36
Pray
I have got some answers to some questions about prayer.
  1. Who do we pray for?  "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," (Matthew 5:44)  "...keep on praying for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:18)
  2. What do we pray for/about? "with all kinds of prayers and requests." (Ephesians 6:18)
  3. When do we pray?  "...on all occasions (Ephesians 6:18) pray continually; (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him" (James 5:13-14)
  4. Where do we pray?  "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:6)
  5. How do we pray?  [Model] "This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,.....(Matthew 6:9)  [Example of persistence] "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." (Luke 18:1)
***  When we do not know how to pray for something, trust the Holy Spirit and pray in the Spirit.
  • "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (Romans 8:26)
Listen
Now here is a great saying to live by - "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,"  (James 1:19).  The best one to listen to, of course, is God.  You can hear Him speaking by the power of His Spirit especially when reading the written Word of God.
  • "While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!'"  (Matthew 17:5)
However, even James himself encourages all believers to be doers of the Word they read and not merely hearers or readers.

  • Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22)
Act
Finally, as you watch, pray, and listen - be ready to act OR even better be already in action.  Remember - "It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready".  However, here are a few Scriptural pointers on how to act.
  • "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity."  (Colossians 4:5)
  • "With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling,and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith."  (2 Thessalonians 1:11)
  • "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices,holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1)
Physically, should you be caught in a fire, there is a process of ridding yourself of the flames - (1) Stop, (2) Drop, and (3) Roll.  Spiritually, there is a process to AVOID the flames of loss that are assured concerning our works for The Kingdom in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (especially verse 15) - If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."  So, #1 - make sure you know Christ as your personal Savior (for this writing, that was a given).  #2 - Follow the steps provided, unless you don't want to find out what Jesus meant when He used the future tense "will be" in the phrase "It will be good".  I know I want to find out what good the Lord has in store for me.  I'm watching, praying, listening and active.  I am also eager for Christ's Rapture of His church!  But I hear Him say.....

Not Yet

So, be prepared because Ready or Not Christ Is Coming!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A DIFFERENT ANGLE

I feel fairly confident that many Christian believers have heard or read more than a few teachings on how important it is to be reading the Word of God (Bible) daily.  I have the same message today in this writing but a different spin or angle to present for your consideration.

You are responsible for you.  I know that might sound pretty elementary to all, but it needs to be said.  Some individuals go through every week and depend totally upon the Preacher of their church to feed and nurture them spiritually for the week.  I think it is an appropriate analogy to compare the physical need to eat daily with the spiritual need to "eat" or read the Bible daily.  So, those who only get spiritually fed on Sundays and occasional Wednesdays - their spiritman/spiritwoman is starving by Sunday every week.  I would like to call Sunday "Augmentation Day".  This is a day that we should be receiving support and/or confirmation from the Pastor about where we have been daily in our walk in Christ during previous days of the week.  Rick Renner, author of Dressed To Kill, supports this idea by saying,

"Let me ask you this question:  Do you still ask your mother to dress you?  .....that is exactly what many believers do!  When they come to church on Sunday or to midweek service, knowing they haven't been in the Word all week long, they are saying, 'Preacher, would you please dress me in my armor?  Would you put my belt on me?

Understand this:  The teaching of the Word from the pulpit should only confirm what you have already heard God say personally to you through His Word during the week.

It's intended by the Holy Spirit to pull the belt that is already on you a little tighter.

Their righteousness fits even better.  Their sense of peace is locked on even more securely." (pp.278-279)

God says through Paul - "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." (v.11)  Pay attention to the fact that even though it is a spiritual armor, God's Armor, you have to put it on - daily.  In addition, Paul gives you the reasoning behind it all - expect all kinds of mind games and tricks from the enemy and BE READY!  That is what "schemes" means in the original Greek - mind tricks/games.

Did you notice what part of the Whole Armor of God Rick mentioned?  The Belt of Truth.  This piece is the first piece of the Whole Armor of God that is listed in Ephesians 6:10-20.  This piece must be pretty important.  To some, including me, it is the most important piece of all.  Why is that?  I am glad you asked.

First an understanding:  The Word of God in two forms - Logos and Rhema.

  • The Word of God in Logos form is the Written Word of God or Bible.  
  • The Rhema Word of God is the revealed or quickened Word of God that comes from being rooted or having your foundation in the Logos.

With this knowledge, most of the sermons and teachings I have heard on "the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17) claim that the Bible is our "sword" or weapon of the Whole Armor of God that Paul spoke about.  This is incorrect.  If you research the original Greek word for "Word" in the phrase "word of God" for that verse - you will find it means the Rhema Word of God.  So, where does the Belt of Truth play in all this?  Again, thank you for nudging me to continue.

The Belt of Truth is the Bible.

"...Paul likens the Word of God [Logos] to a Romans soldier's loinbelt." (p.265)

"What does the loinbelt represent in Ephesians 6?  The written Word of God.  Therefore, this tells us that most of the time the 'word from the Lord' we need will come directly out of the Bible - just as the Roman soldier's sword came right out of a scabbard that hung on his loinbelt.  The loinblet and the sword were connected." (p.273)

"So do you need a special word from the Lord?  Do you need a rhema, a 'sword of the Spirit'?  This is how you get it:  Make it a priority to read and study the Word of God, and your rhema will most likely be quickened to you as you walk in the Word." (p.273)

Jesus is the Word of God which is always The Truth.  John 1:14 says, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."  Then Jesus said about Himself in John 14:6"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

So, with further closer, careful observation it is clear that The Belt of Truth is The Logos, The Written Word of God, the Holy Spirit's Word in print.  Meanwhile, over in verse 17 of Ephesians 6, The Sword of the Spirit is the Rhema Word of God - the Revealed, Unveiled, or Quickened Word of God.

A word about belts - they hold things together and things can be held from upon them.  Now-a-days cell phones and other gadgets clip to our belt for easy access.  Our belts today are also used to keep some of our pants up around the waistline.  When Paul examined the Roman soldier, he noticed the belt held the breastplate firmly in place, the shield and sword were stored on the belt when not in use and there was even a notch for a lance/spear to rest (the lance could be translated as prayer and supplication in verse 18, according to Mr. Renner).

"Only the loinbelt will hold everything together for us, both as individual believers and as the corporate Body of Christ." (p.266)

"When you affix the loinbelt of truth onto the center of your life and faithfully ensure that it stays in place, everything else comes together." (p.268)

So, the strong encouragement comes to both you and me - put your belt on....everyday.  Know thy belt.  Say it however you like, but I like how Rick says it.

"But if you lay aside your Bible (your 'loinbelt of truth'), in time you'll begin to lose your sense of righteousness.  Lay aside that loinbelt of truth, and you will slowly begin to lose your sense of peace.  Lay aside that loinbelt of truth, and you will feel the joy of your salvation begin to deplete.  If you toss that loinbelt of truth out of your life, you will begin very quickly to lose your ability to believe God and to walk in faith.

You absolutely cannot function as a believer without the Word of God having an active and central role in your life."  (p.265)

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, - Ephesians 6:14

Monday, April 22, 2013

Support Needed for Ecuador Missions Trip

Dear Supporter,

I am excited about being called to join in the work of spreading the Good News in Ecuador this year as part of the twentieth year outreach to this community. Among the many teams ministering as an extension of Cary Church of God (street witnessing, medical clinics, construction projects, prison visitation, crusades, etc.), I plan to be involved with the Worship and Arts effort. This will be the first time I have gone on the Ecuador mission trip.

The only way I will be going is if I can acquire your prayer support during the entire time I am away AND if I can raise the funds necessary to meet the total financial requirement. The dates for the trip are July 13 – July 21, 2013. The total cost of the trip is $2,000.  The entire balance is due by June 3rd. If God places on your heart the desire to support me, then I welcome your prayers and I would be grateful for any financial contribution. A Paypal service is set up to the left on my blog for convenience.

Thank you and God bless you.

Chad Pritchard


Monday, April 15, 2013

THE RIGHT VIEWPOINT

This modern society is saturated with Image. For every conceivable way someone's image can be improved upon, rest assured there is a product or service for that "need".  In addition, if you think you don't "need" whatever IT IS, you better not be one of the weak-minded, because the advertisers of the world today are well-versed in Jedi Mind Tricks/Powers (wink).  Just when you think that particular product or service is not desired, you find yourself saying, "I gotta have that.....".

Like I said in the first sentence, everything is image driven.  Many, if not most, of the products and services we are bombarded with have us focus on us.  Plus, if our body form, clothes, perfume/cologne, car, house, family, job, amount of money, etc... do not line up with the accepted, present-day image, then the world says, "Tsk, tsk" and thumbs their nose at us in the air.

So, my question to you is - where do you receive your Image?  Of all the sources out there to influence -  who you are, what you will become in life, and the value you will feel as a human being - where do you derive your Image?  Is it your parent?  Is it both parents?  Is it a pastor?  Is it a brother or sister?  Is it a best friend?  Is it in a movie star?  Is it in a famous athlete or author?

You know the catch phrase - "I wanna be like Mike."?  I recently saw a sign that read - "Be yourself, everyone else is taken." (by Oscar Wilde).  While there is truth in this statement I would like to take it to the next level.  If we desire something or someone to run after as the next best Image, I have got one for us - Jesus of Nazareth.  I don't have to execute His calling - the salvation of the world - but I can study His character, behavior, and teachings - then try my best to model my life after His with the dynamite power of the Holy Spirit living within me.  Even being myself, I can acquire attributes of Jesus that will go a long way in living.

Another great thing to realize is myself through God's eyes.  Oh!  How the enemy does not want Christians and potential Christians to grasp the wonderful ways and benefits that Father God views us now through or in Christ Jesus.  Zack Neese helps by saying -

"God spends quite a bit of time in the Bible teaching us who we really are.  We are children of God, friends of God, more then conquerors, chosen and dearly loved, citizens of heaven, the redeemed, saints, a holy nation, and a kingdom of priests (to state a few).  Each identifier communicates three things to us:  how God sees us, how much He values us, and how we can serve His heart." (p.4, How To Worship A King)

Just these few things that Mr. Neese mentions are wonderful to start confessing everyday over our lives.  There is much more.  God came that we may have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).  But it all starts with self-worth and how we ascertain or equate self-worth in our lives.

"Religion teaches us that our function determines our worth and our identity (I am because I do).  Worship teaches us that our identity determines our worth and our function (I do because I am).  And God determines our identity." (p.4, How To Worship A King)

As for me and my house, our identity is being more and more wrapped up in Jesus Christ every day and we praise Him for it!

It is all about The Right Viewpoint.  Get it and Live it!

Friday, April 12, 2013

STUDY OF A NOISY PLACE....WHAT DID YOU SAY?!!!!

Heaven - not the sky or outer space, but the realm of the Spirit where God's throne is located.  Here is where all the noise has been constantly generated for every second since creation - all for the Glory of God.  There are angels that do nothing but encircle around the throne and as they do they find another facet of God to praise Him about (Revelation 4:8-11).  So, it is Not Quiet There.

God likes parties and rejoicing and so do His angels.  During and after Christ's resurrection, Jesus made a show or spectacle of the spirits in hell parading them in front of Heaven as defeated trophies (Colossians 2:15).  Angels rejoice every time there is a new believer that receives Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior (Luke 15:10)!
  • "You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host,   the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you." - Nehemiah 9:6
Many times the Lord seemed to yell from Heaven - 

  • "The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded." - Psalm 18:13
Great sounds and singing in Heaven -

  •  "1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth." - Revelation 14:1-3

More celebration - 

  • "1 After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: "Hallelujah!Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 2 for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants." 3 And again they shouted: "Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever." 4 The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: "Amen, Hallelujah!" 5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying: "Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!" 6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." - Revelation 19:1-8

A whole-lotta shoutin' goin' on!! - 

  • "Then heaven and earth and all that is in them will shout for joy over Babylon, for out of the north destroyers will attack her," declares the LORD." - Jeremiah 51:48

There is our house voice or "inside voice".  There is our playground voice or "outside voice.  Then someday there will be the Heavenly voice -

  • "The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.'" - Revelation 11:15

Heaven - it is a Kingdom and it is release for those who were persecuted for righteousness on earth and have a humble spirit about them -

  • "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:3
  • "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:10

The atmosphere of Heaven is God's presence -

  • "Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares the LORD. 'Do not I fill heaven and earth?' declares the LORD." - Jeremiah 23:24

Heaven will be a place of Great Reward -

  • "Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, - Matthew 5:12

Heaven will have a hierarchy.

  • "Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:19; 11:11; 18:1, 3

Heaven will be a place of stored up treasures (of a certain kind).

  • "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal". - Matthew 6:20


Heaven will be a feasting place -

  • "I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 8:11

Heaven will be filled with acknowledgements from Jesus -

  • "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven." - Matthew 10:32

A childlike innocence with tons of creative power (imagination) flowing also permeates Heaven - Jesus said,

  • "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." - Matthew 19:14

No marriage to anybody other than Jesus Christ in Heaven -

  • "At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." - Matthew 22:30

Heaven is full of wisdom.

  • "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." - James 3:17

Father God is keeping an inheritance for Believers in Heaven.

  • "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you," - 1 Peter 1:1-4

A record of your name is a Great Thing, it means God (gift) and you (acceptance) have made your Reservation.

  • "However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." - Luke 10:20

Heaven in the following verse translates in the original Greek as Ouranos, meaning sky, air or atmosphere.

  • "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness." - 2 Peter 3:13

Heaven is a place of spiritual battle.

  • "And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back." - Revelation 12:7

_________________________________________________________________

STOP THE PRESS!  There will be No Sound Coming From Heaven!
"When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." - Revelation 8:1
_________________________________________________________________

Heaven is Temporarily Closed For Renovations -
(1) No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man. - John 3:13 

(2) For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. - Hebrews 9:24

(3) Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. - John 14:1-3
  • Heaven is a place of "citizenship" and we await the re-opening of it.  "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ," - Philippians 3:20
This last verse, Philippians 3:20, states "we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,", still holds true today.  True Believers everywhere are eagerly awaiting the Lord's return for those who have believed and died in Christ since the first visitation of Jesus and those alive at the moment of the Lord's return.  Meanwhile, Jesus is preparing a place for True Believers.  Those that are dead in Christ are #1 with the Lord - 
  • Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets. 6 Remember him--before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, 7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. - Ecclesiastes 12:5-7
And #2, the dead in Christ, awaiting their new, resurrected bodies, are now dwelling in a heavenly, spiritual, walled garden called Paradise.
  • Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." - Luke 23:43
  • And I know that this man--whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows-- was caught up to paradise. - 2 Corinthians 12:3-4
  • To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. - Revelation 2:7

Thursday, April 11, 2013

HOW 'BOUT A "LEVEL PLAYING FIELD" OR STAGE?

First off, the title of the book I am reading should be How To Worship THE King, not "a" King - in my humble opinion.

Now, taking a look at page 6. There is a vision God gave the author, Zack Neese. It was a vision of God descending on His throne in the middle of a worship service and destroying a symbolic wall of glass that divided the musicians and the congregation. This allowed all to be who God has called us to be - worshipers and priests of God - worshiping together.

God immediately showed me a similar vision as I finished reading that passage. God took away the elevated stage at the front of my church's sanctuary and had all the musicians and singers on the same standing ground as the congregation. "What is the elevation for?" Came into my spirit. "You've got cameras that are elevated in the back and screens that can be viewed from everywhere."

Is it a "Pedestal Complex" that we have in some churches and some individuals? This society with it's concerts (secular and Christian) and elevated stages sure lends itself to this condition. Unless we are giving instruction on a new song, new dance or new anything to worship God - why do the people on the usual elevated platform have to be seen? Again, if we have to be seen to lead, we have that technology within many of our sanctuaries to display us at the proper time on the screens while standing eyeball-to-eyeball with the congregation.  Even my pastor loves to walk among the congregation while teaching his message, so away with the stage - I say.

For many churches my vision will just have to be adopted as an Attitude of the heart and mind. For other churches that are being constructed I would encourage them to take this vision into consideration when they build the front of the auditorium or Sanctuary.

Unity and unity of vision is what the "level Playing Field" is all about.  This means making all kinds of efforts to humble ourselves within and outside the Sanctuary walls SO THAT we may experience a more Tangible manifestation of His presence, glory, and power.  Then may we all tarry there, in His presence, and worship Him for a while.

Friday, April 5, 2013

THE AUDIENCE OF ONE

I have heard it said those who Wow their audiences are called "crowd-pleasers".  To attain that title one has to have a certain personality.  It seems to me, in this life we can either be a "me-pleaser",  a "crowd-pleaser", or a "God-pleaser".  I am striving for the last one!

The "Me-Pleaser" deals with The Self.  This person does not have a place for others and surely not God in his/her life.  The "Crowd-Pleasers" are service driven people.  They have no time for self and usually seek the immediate gratification of the crowd as their reward.  So, God in this equation does not really work out either.  Finally, those that consider themselves "God-Pleasers" do not keep the crowd's interest or their own interest at heart.  One's selfish ambitions should take back seat to loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30) if God-pleasing is the life-goal.

Who do you want to please?  Is it you, others, or God?  Pleasing yourself is usually limited in time and space and has no eternal value associated with it.  Pleasing the crowd is a temporary high that has to be re-visited over and over again to fill that void or desire.  Pleasing God?  Well, let us assume your answer is this last one and dive a little deeper here.

As a Believer in The Lord Jesus Christ, do you want to know what will please God?  I hope you do because Ephesians 5:10 encourages this study - "...find out what pleases the Lord."  

Enoch had this down as his lifestyle.  Can you imagine having a relationship so close with God and God being so pleased with you THAT He decided to allow you to skip death and take you to Paradise to reside with Him?

  • "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away." - Genesis 5:24


  • "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God." - Hebrews 11:5  

Now here is a good example and goal to strive for, eh?

Things That Please God

1.  Don't be a stumbling block to others
Anyone who serves Christ through righteousness, peace, and joy under the direction of the Holy Spirit is living Kingdom life, is pleasing to God, and is approved by men. [Pritchard Paraphrase of Romans 14:17-18]  The context of this verse is a passage of Scripture that deals with Believers in Christ Not being stumbling blocks for other Believers.  To Not be a stumbling block is something that pleases God and will come as a result of serving Christ through righteousness, peace, and joy by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:13-23).

2.  Monetary support of a well respected brother in the faith - Philippians 4:18.
In fact, the support is viewed as "a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God."

3.  Family Care
A widow with children and grandchildren taking care of her family is also pleasing to God (1 Timothy 5:4).  

  • "But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God."

4.  Do Good and Share with Others
Sometimes doing good does not come easy for us.  Sharing with others can also be a test.  In this world of me/self, pleasing God and blessing others takes a back seat.  This is why when we do the "good" thing or "share with others" God recognizes our efforts in these areas as "sacrifices" and is pleased.  Hebrews 13:16 says it like this -  "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

5.  Pray for Leaders and Authorities Over You
1 Timothy 2:1-3 says, Request, pray, and intercede for everyone and then get specific with kings/presidents and all other authority figures that may be overseeing a part of your life.  Do this, So That a peaceful, quiet, Godly, and Holy life may be obtained.  This pleases God (so pray).  [Pritchard paraphrase]

6.  God-pleasing men escape this kind of woman  

  • "I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare." - Ecclesiastes 7:26

7.  Pleased with Virtue/Honor
"I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity." - 1 Chronicles 29:17  
This gives us another target to aim at in our daily walk with God and pleasing Him.

Not pleasing God to me is very similar to the feeling I got when I was growing up and knew I disappointed my mom or dad.  The disappointment tore me up inside something fierce!  My heart, stomach, and soul ached tremendously.  It was worse than any spanking I might have gotten (and I didn't get that many).  But, the reverse is also true!  Anytime I especially made them proud by following directions or going above and beyond and pleasing my parents, they let me know their appreciation and I desired to stay in that groove.


Benefits of A God-Pleaser!

  • Ecclesiastes 2:26 says, "To the man who pleases him [God], God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God."  

Do you see how the man who pleases God receives a double portion of blessing from God?  First God blesses the "God-Pleaser" with "wisdom, knowledge and happiness", then God has "wealth" handed over to the "God-Pleaser" from a sinner who had the task of "gathering and storing" it up for this purpose.  Wow!  It is doubly good to please God!

Pleasing God or my parents is mainly about approval.  Jesus was approved by His Heavenly Father - "For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." - 2 Peter 1:17  In fact, Father God said this twice in Scripture - at Jesus' Baptism and at Jesus' Transfiguration.  However, our approval from Father God is not gained by our own actions or words or pleasing God but through faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial love-gift of salvation to us.  Notice how Father God first said to Jesus in the verse above - "whom I love" - before He mentions performance  - "with Him I am well pleased".  I believe the pattern is the same with true Believers.  Father God accepts us as sons and daughters in Love first, then concerns Himself with our pleasing Him.

Believers are found throughout Scripture to be "in Christ".  Romans 8:1 is one of those Scriptures. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,"  Father God sees us as having the complete benefit package of being one with Christ or Christlike.  This does not mean we place pleasing God on the shelf upon becoming a Believer.  Once you are a Believer you should desire to please Him all the more for His endless provision and His many blessings - seen and unseen.

So, who is your audience?  The correct audience should be a population of One - The Lord God Almighty.  If He is The One who truly matters and if He is the One that you are trying to please, then all the other pieces of life will operate as they should.  Again, your thoughts, words, and actions toward pleasing God after your Salvation should be based on the gratitude of that Salvation.  From that heart of humble gratitude can come a life containing -

  1. A mind/body submitted to God's control. - Romans 12:1-2 
  2. Righteous, peaceful, and joyful service to Christ that does not create a stumbling block for other Believers. - Romans 14:13-23
  3. Money to help support a Biblically sound outreach or ministry. - Philippians 4:18
  4. The increased ability to do good and share with others. - Hebrews 13:16
  5. Integrity. - 1 Chronicles 29:17
  6. Focus on God, which keeps certain types of women away from God-seeking men. - Eccl. 7:26
  7. A double portion blessing from God. - Eccl. 2:26
Finally, pleasing the audience of One - The Lord - will one day grant me and each Believer the privilege of hearing Him say, "'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'" - Matthew 25:21 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

THIS KIND OF POWER.......

"Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." - Ephesians 6:10

[Paraphrased by me] - If you get nothing else, those of you who have been challenged in the faith like me, acquire and depend upon your inward strength from the Lord, and operate in the resurrection power of Christ within you!  

The words that Paul chose here, from a study of the original Greek (Rick Renner) and the structure of the sentence make this statement a command and not a suggestion.  These words are addressed to those who are serious about spiritual growth, especially where concerning spiritual warfare in Ephesus and today in your location.

Mr. Renner researches the word "strong" in this verse in the original Greek, Endunamoo, to describe "a power designed to infuse a believer with an excessive dose of inward strength."  It is a strength commonly referred to in classical Greek writing to portray superhuman strength endowed "to accomplish a superhuman task".

Concerning the word "Power", Rick offers the following -

"The word 'power' is taken from the Greek word kratos, and it describes what I have come to call demonstrated power.  In other words, kratos power is not a power that you merely adhere to and believe in intellectually.  Rather, this kratos power is a power that is demonstrative, eruptive, and tangible.  It almost always comes with some type of external, outward manifestation that one can actually see with his or her own eyes.

Kratos power refers to the strongest flow of power that exists in the entire universe.  In fact, this power is so supreme that in Scripture, it is used only in reference to God's power.  Man does not possess this kind of power - unless it has been given to him by God!

Kratos power is so overwhelming that the mighty Roman soldiers who were guarding Jesus' tomb on resurrection morning fainted and crumbled to the ground beneath the full load of this supernatural force.  There they lay - prostrate on the ground, paralyzed, and unable to move - until Jesus' resurrection was complete!"  (p.172-173, Dressed To Kill, Renner)

This kind of power was not only displayed by the Holy Spirit within Jesus at the Resurrection.  Pay careful attention to the events that occurred the moment Jesus gave up His spirit into the hands of Father God upon the Cross at Calvary.

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.  At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.  The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.  They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. - Matthew 27:50-53

As Rick said, Roman soldiers were knocked out at the Resurrection!  But wait!  There's more!  Back at the Crucifixion, at the moment of death - (1) the Jewish curtain strangely, but symbolically split "in two from top to bottom", (2) nature reacted with an earthquake, rocks splitting, and darkness covering the land (v.45), and (3) the actual tombs holding the bodies of holy dead people broke open and then those holy dead people where "raised to life".  Can you imagine knowing one of these dead individuals back then and after the events of those three days, after the Resurrection of Jesus, these dead, now resurrected people "went into the holy city and appeared to many people".  I would pass out upon seeing them walking my way!

"The kind of power that God used when He raised Jesus from the dead [and displayed at the moment of death upon the Cross] is the very same, exact, identical power that is now at work in us!  We have resurrection power!"  (p.173, Dressed To Kill, Renner, except for brackets)  

And here is the verse that raises the question - Is the Holy Spirit alive and leading within your own life -"living in you"?

"And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you." - Romans 8:11

Just think, the enemy does not want you to get a great understanding of the power and authority you have as a believer in Christ.  You have this living within you daily via the Holy Spirit because of Christ's Complete Victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave!  In addition, the Holy Spirit says through Paul to the Ephesians and true believers - 

"That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come." - Ephesians 1:20-21

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." - Ephesians 2:6-7

First, Christ is seated "far above all rule and authority, power and dominion,...".  Second, true believers are "raised up with Christ and seated with him in the heavenly realms".  Wow!  The Victory is Complete and His Love is so Amazing that the benefits Christians can claim through Christ are out of this world!

Well, I just did my part and Notified your mind and your spirit of the living power the devil does not want you to know about and operate under!  So, are you baptized in His Spirit?  Are you operating daily in the strength and power of His might - His Resurrection Power?  I hope and pray you are courting.....This Kind Of Power!