VIDEO The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams

Nov 16, 2015

An epic tale about a spiritual and moral struggle along the narrow path, where Joanna discovers the way, the truth, and the life.

Women Minister to Jesus
2as well as some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3Joanna the wife of Herod’s household manager Chuza, Susanna, and many others.These women were ministering to them out of their own means.

https://kingdom777.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/write-the-revelation-and-make-it-plain-upon-tablets/

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The Burden of Waiting

The Burden of Waiting

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Over the last few years, two members of my family have faced life-threatening diagnoses. For me, the hardest part of supporting them through their treatments has been the constant uncertainty. I am always desperate for a definitive word from a doctor, but things are rarely that straightforward. Instead of being given clarity, we are often asked to wait.

It’s hard to bear the burden of uncertainty, always wondering what the next test will reveal. Will we have weeks, months, years, or decades before death separates us? But regardless of disease and diagnosis, each of us will die one day—things like cancer just bring our mortality to the forefront instead of letting it hide in the recesses of our minds.

How can we best spend the time we’ve been given?

Faced with sobering reminders of our mortality, I find myself praying words that Moses once prayed. Psalm 90 tells us that though our lives are like grass that withers and fades (vv. 5–6), we have an eternal home with God (v. 1). Like Moses, we can ask God to teach us to number our days so we can make wise decisions (v. 12), and to make our brief lives fruitful by making what we do for Him count (v. 17). Ultimately, the psalm reminds us that our hope is not in a doctor’s diagnosis, but in a God who is “from everlasting to everlasting.”

How can we best spend the time we’ve been given?

Share your thoughts with us at odb.org.

 

We can face the reality of our own mortality because we trust in God.

 

Character of Gossip

Romans 1:28-31

God hates gossip. He wants our speech to be pleasing to Him—and He certainly does not consider idle talk or mean-spirited words pleasant (Col. 3:8). Sadly, gossip is practiced so freely that even some believers participate and try to justify their chatter. But hearsay has no place in a Christian’s life.

Romans 1 contains one of the Bible’s lists of sins. The book’s author—the apostle Paul—is reminding believers that God has revealed Himself to all mankind. Those who reject Him and chase after idols are turned over to their evil worship and the immoral practices that go with serving self (Romans 1:24-25). Gossip appears in the middle of the list; God despises it because malicious talk destroys lives whether the stories are true or false. The person who is targeted by the rumor often loses the respect of those who listen to it. Hurt feelings may not be the only negative effect; a job or relationship could be lost as well.

Those spreading tales also face destructive consequences. People who refuse to control the tongue reveal evil motives or, at the very least, a lack of discipline. As a result, believers and unbelievers alike will often avoid such untrustworthy individuals. For a Christian who spreads rumors, there’s potential for even worse damage. Not only can the credibility of one’s witness be compromised, but fellowship with the Lord might also be harmed—animosity toward another person and intimacy with God can’t coexist in the same heart.

Gossip achieves no good in anyone’s life, which is why the Lord warns against it. Instead, our words should build up, comfort, and encourage others.

Watching for Christ’s Return

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. . . . Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:42, 44)

Those who try to predict Christ’s return may become skeptical about biblical prophecy. But this would be a sad mistake. Regardless of just when it will happen, Christ will return, for so He promised, and He cannot either lie or fail. He has repeatedly made it plain that no one can determine the date of His coming. Not even He, while in His human limitations, knew that (Mark 13:32).

Again and again He urged us to watch and be ready for His return. He did not tell us to watch for the Antichrist or the revival of Rome’s empire or a great apostasy or a great revival or a world government or anything else—just for Him! Note some of His commands to do this (in addition to the two in our text):

“Take ye heed, watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is” (Mark 13:33).

“Watch ye therefore: . . . Lest coming suddenly, he find you sleeping” (Mark 13:35-36).

“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 25:13).

In addition to such exhortations by the Lord Himself, the apostles also sounded similar warnings:

“Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).

“Abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28).

Space limitations preclude listing others, but again in the words of Christ: “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:37). HMM

“We are more than Conquerors.”

Deuteronomy 2:26-37

About this time happened the defeat of Sihon and Og. Moses thus narrated the matter to the people in his discourse.

Deuteronomy 2:26-29

Nothing could be more fair or friendly than this request, and Sihon had good evidence that Israel would act in good faith, for though some of the Edomites and Moabites had refused the nation a passage, yet others had granted it, and had suffered no injury, therefore Sihon might have rested sure that Israel would do him no harm.

Deuteronomy 2:30

When men are mad with sin they only need leaving to themselves, and they are hardened at once, and being hardened they become their own executioners.

Deuteronomy 2:35

God thus swept away guilty nations, whose sins he could no longer endure. How gracious is he to our sinful isle!

Deuteronomy 2:36, 37

If we advance only where God bids us, and forbear where he gives us no leave, our course will be full of prosperity.

Deuteronomy 3:1-5

Deuteronomy 3:1

One battle over, another begins. Blessed be God, the power which overthrew Sihon, is quite able to cope with Og also.

Deuteronomy 3:2

Former mercies are types of coming favours. He who helped us yesterday is the same to-day and for ever.

Deuteronomy 3:5

Thus shall God’s chosen go from victory to victory. Sin, death, and hell, shall fly before us. None shall be able to resist the divine power which girds us for the battle. Where the Lord leads the van, the enemy’s rout is certain and complete.

 

Jesu’s tremendous name

Puts all our foes to flight:

Jesus, the meek, the angry Lamb,

A Lion is in fight.

 

By all hell’s host withstood;

We all hell’s host o’erthrow;

And conquering them, through Jesu’s blood

We still to conquer go.

 

Don’t Do What You’re Tempted To Do When Someone Gets Ugly With You!

2 Timothy 2:24

Have you ever found yourself in a predicament where you were trying to help someone who resisted you, spoke disrespectfully to you, and just flat out acted ugly? In that instant, did you find your blood boiling, your temperature rising, and your emotions agitated? Were you so angry that you felt like you would detonate? Be honest! Did you feel tempted to fly into a rage, lecture the ingrate derogatorily for his attitude, or even slap him right across the face?

It’s natural to feel exasperated when someone you are trying to help doesn’t respond appropriately to the assistance you are offering. But yielding to your own emotions and getting in the flesh won’t make the situation any better. In fact, it will only make the situation worse! So hold your tongue, stay seated in your chair, and keep your head on straight when you find yourself in a situation like this!

Many years ago, Denise and I had one particular employee who was extremely gifted—but he was one of the most difficult people to work with I’ve ever met in my life. This man was rude, insubordinate, critical of others, and regularly late to work. On the other hand, he was very talented and produced great results in his job. One day I wanted to fire him; the next day, I wanted to reward him. It was such an emotional mixture! How I wished this employee would just calm down, talk nicely to people, and learn how to get along with others!

From time to time, I had to sit down and talk to this man about his attitude. But dealing with him was so excruciatingly laborious. I dreaded those moments when I knew I had to sit down to talk to him. Here I was, trying to help this employee—but rather than receive correction graciously and thank me for trying to take him to a higher level, he would argue, debate, or try to turn the conversation around and point his finger at other people. It simply exasperated me, yet I knew that God wanted me to work with and teach this man; therefore, I had to remain self-controlled and not allow myself to get caught up in the flesh and knock him flat!

Have you ever felt this way before? Can you remember a time when you tried to help your child, but your child’s response was belligerent and unreceptive to you? Or can you recall a time when you worked with a fellow employee whose attitude toward the boss was so bad that he or she deserved to be fired for it? Or perhaps you can remember someone at church who had a critical attitude toward the pastor and got involved in ugly backbiting and gossip. I hope it wasn’t you!

When Timothy was serving as pastor of the Ephesian church, he had some insubordinate people in church leadership positions. Apparently he had written to Paul about this problem, because when Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, he addressed the problem, telling Timothy what kind of attitude he needed to maintain when dealing with people who had bad attitudes. Paul said, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient” (2 Timothy 2:24).

The word “strive” is the Greek word machomai, and it means to quarrel, dispute, argue, or to get into strife or contention with someone else. At first, this Greek word was used to picture armed combatants who exchanged blows with deadly weapons. Later, it came to denote men who fought hand to hand—striking, punching, wrangling, and rolling on the ground as they slugged it out with each other. But by the time of the New Testament when Paul used the word machomai in this verse, it depicted people who were at odds with each other bickering, squabbling, and slugging it outnot with swords or fists, but with their words. So Paul urges Timothy (and all of us) not to allow ourselves to get dragged into a war of words when we are trying to correct people who have bad attitudes.

Next, Paul tells us that we must be “gentle.” This is the Greek word epios, which means to be mild-mannered, kind, temperate, calm, or gentle. We find this word used by Paul in First Thessalonians 2:7, where he reminds the Thessalonians of how he had behaved among them. He writes, “But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children.”

It is important that we see how Paul uses the word epios in the context of caring for little children. This suggests that now Paul is telling Timothy to realize that he is dealing with immature people whom he must treat like children. Parents are to teach and discipline their children without “flying off the handle” every time their children are rude or disrespectful. Now Timothy must assume this kind of parental, correcting, teaching role in the way he deals with these who are acting inappropriately in his church.

When people behave disrespectfully toward their boss, their department director, their pastor, or their parents, they are demonstrating that they are not smart and certainly not mature. When you see this, it should send up a red flag before you to let you know the maturity level you are dealing with in the lives of these individuals. Even if they are called to the ministry; even if they have been to Bible school; even if they have been members of your church for a long time—the fact that they would act disrespectfully toward authority reveals that these people are still young in terms of maturity.

You should thank God that this came to light. Had you moved these individuals upward into a higher place of visibility while they were still at this deficient level of maturity, it would have been a big problem for you later. But now you can see that they’re not ready for a higher place of responsibility. You can also visibly discern the areas in which you need to help them so they can maximize their potential in the Lord.

 

Second Timothy 2:24 could be translated to read:

“And the servant of the Lord must not get caught up in a war of words—wrangling, wrestling, bickering, squabbling, arguing, and verbally slugging it out with his contenders. Instead, he must be calm, steady, temperate, kind, and gentle in the way he responds….”

So when you try to bring correction into someone’s life who is under your authority and that person doesn’t initially respond the way he should, don’t let it ruffle your feathers or throw you into a state of exasperation. Certainly you shouldn’t allow yourself to get so caught up in emotions that you descend to their level and start acting just like them!

This is a time for you to “put on your parent-teacher hat.” Lovingly deal with that person like a child or a young person who needs to be taught how to respond to authority and who needs guidance and correction from someone who loves him.

And what should you do if you get stirred up and enter into the fray of flesh, allowing yourself to get entrenched in a war of words? Thank God that your own level of maturity has been exposed! Not only does that other person need to grow, but this situation has revealed a flaw in your own character, drawing attention to an obvious area in your own life that needs attention, correction, and a higher level of maturity. So as you pray for that other person to grow, don’t forget to include yourself on your prayer list!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, please help me to be calm, kind, and gentle when I find it necessary to correct people who are under my care. Forgive me for any time that I’ve allowed myself to become angry and exasperated and for those times when I have said things I shouldn’t have allowed myself to speak. Help me act like a real leader, taking a parental-teacher role. I know I am called to help take people to a higher level in their work, their attitudes, and their lives. So help me to be more like You in the way I deal with people who are under my authority and care. As I learn to bring correction to others the way You bring correction into MY life, I will become a good example and the kind of leader You have called me to be.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I have the mind of Christ for every situation I face in life. When it is necessary for me to speak correction to a member of my team, I speak with compassion and love from my heart. I desire the best for every person whom God has placed under my authority and care. Therefore, when I deal with these individuals, I approach them from a standpoint of how I can best help them grow, help them develop, and help them become all God has called them to be. I don’t get angry, frustrated, or exasperated if they get upset; instead, I remain calm, kind, and gentle as I deal with the people whom God has entrusted to my care.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. As you read this today, did your mind drift back to a past situation when you had to correct someone who didn’t respond in the right way to your correction? If so, how did you react to that person’s wrong response?
  2. Can you think of a time when someone in authority over you tried to correct you, but you responded in an insubordinate and closed-hearted manner, making it difficult for that person to correct you?
  3. As you reflect on times in the past when you’ve had to correct someone, what do you think you could do differently to help people more easily receive your correction in the future? Is there anything in your style of bringing correction that should be changed so people don’t feel intimidated but rather feel embraced and loved by what you are telling them?

Have you ever found yourself in a predicament where you were trying to help someone who resisted you, spoke disrespectfully to you, and just flat out acted ugly?

 

Are You Engaged Or Entangled?

No one engaged in warfare ENTANGLES HIMSELF with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4)

 

You and I have a challenge before us: “How to be ENGAGED in fulfilling our earthly responsibilities and yet remain UN-ENTANGLED in the affairs of life in order to fight Christ’s battles.”

 

What is the difference between being ENGAGED and ENTANGLED?:

  • The trolley cars in San Francisco are ENGAGED in the cable beneath the surface of the street.
  • The bird is ENTANGLED when it cannot get its foot out of the trap.

How do we know when we are ENTANGLED?

  • When we are irritated or consumed over our situation.
  • When we fail to see God in control of our circumstances.

Strategically, we become ENTANGLED when we make the pursuit of the secular our primary focus, and then try to fit the spiritual around it. Remember the aspiring disciples of Christ in Luke 9:57-61 who expressed interest in following Him? “But first” they had to attend to their private affairs and interests.

 

When the “but firsts” dominate our lives, we are entangled. Jesus allows us no such privilege:

 

No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

 

Let me ask you:

  • When you open your Bible to spend time with God, is your mind easily distracted?
  • Would you be free (within a reasonable period of time) to uproot and move to another part of the world to minister, if God were to call you?
  • When spending time with your spouse or children, are you there 100% or are you just putting in an appearance?

Whether we are ENGAGED or ENTANGLED is a question of focus, values and priorities. It is a question of whether we WANT to invest in the eternal, or simply expend our lives on the temporal.

 

 

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