VIDEO A Crown Of Thorns Sings Out, Come, Follow The Way Of The Lord

 

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There comes a point in each one of our lives when life itself forces us to look at what we truly are. It is at those times when we either ignore the tugging, run faster away, blame others, rage out, or surrender and ask for help.  It is a moment of truth within ones own self.  The moment when personal sins and or the injustice of others become so great a burden, one just can’t ignore, and or carry it any more.  At least not alone.

Now is the time to reach out to others with an outstretched hand to help those who are hurting and show them the way of the Lord.  Grace and mercy is given to all who repent and desire to be cleansed of all the past that haunts them.  For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God – who can truly say that they indeed are all the things that God intended for them to be?  It is at this crossroads, that each must decide which road to take.  Big and wide is the gate that leads to destruction and narrow is the gate that leads to life.  Come to the Lord, for he already paid the price for you to be with him and have life everlasting.

Please listen to this wondrous song, heed its’ calling and rejoice in God’s wondrous plan for all of us. 

“Oh God, I must tell you I’m sorry, won’t you hear me in my time of need? I no longer want this burden…won’t you listen to my plea? Oh God, I long to be free.  And I know what I must do. Look at me, I’m down on my knees.  And I surrender, all to you.

“I was a thorn that brought him shame, that drew his blood and caused him pain. I was the nail that cut like a knife, that scarred his hands and took his life. And after all was said and done, he brought me in, he called me son.  Because risen from death was victory, that thorny crown became a crown of glory.  Oh God, how much you have loved me to have given all of you for me……… 

Dianne Marshal

 

https://themarshallreport.wordpress.com/2017/04/29/a-crown-of-thorns-sings-out-come-follow-the-way-of-the-lord/

Relentless Pursuit

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8

In the 1969 comedic Western film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the two main characters have committed a robbery and are being pursued by a posse of lawmen. Every time the main characters look over their shoulder, the posse is still there. The robbers repeatedly ask, “Who are those guys?”

Relentless pursuit is part of the Christian life. That is, we are constantly being stalked by “[our] adversary the devil.” It was the same with David in the Old Testament; he was pursued by King Saul who sought to put David to death. Unlike the film characters, we are not being pursued for a specific sin or action. In fact, it is the opposite: We are on God’s side and are relentlessly pursued and attacked by our spiritual enemy, Satan. For that reason, we must “be sober, be vigilant”—we must never let our guard down. We must clothe ourselves daily in the believer’s spiritual armor, our only defense against the “fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Be vigilant, but not fearful. In Christ, we have all the defense we need against our spiritual enemy. We are victorious in Christ.

Satan does far more harm as an angel of light than as a roaring lion.  Vance Havner

An Ordinary Person

Matthew 4:18-20

The apostle Peter was an ordinary person who lived in an extraordinary time. His was the generation during which Jesus Christ lived on the earth, died for the salvation of mankind, and rose again.

It was through his brother Andrew that Peter (who was originally called Simon) met the Lord (John 1:40-42). When Jesus invited him to become a disciple, he immediately left his fishing trade and placed himself under Christ’s authority (Matt. 4:20). He became a passionate follower who consistently demonstrated an eagerness to be near the Savior and in the middle of whatever was going on. Whether meeting Jesus on the water during a storm (Matt. 14:27-29) or speaking to Him during His transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-5), Peter was devoted to his Master’s service.

In the beginning, the former fisherman was quick to speak and to act, and this impulsiveness created many problems for him. For example, when Jesus was talking about His imminent suffering and death, Peter objected, as if he knew better than the Lord. Christ’s rebuke was swift and direct (Matt. 16:21-23). The apostle, however, learned from his mistakes. He’s a good example of how we should let go of personal desires, wholeheartedly embrace Jesus’ way, and walk closely with Him (Mark 8:34).

The Lord chooses unexceptional people like Peter, you, and me to build His kingdom. He asks His followers to love Him above all else and fully commit to obeying Him. When we do, He will accomplish more through us than we could ever imagine.

Offended at Him

“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.” (Mark 6:3)

There is many an individual who has by God’s grace found the Lord and has had a fruitful ministry in a place far from his hometown where he once lived a lifestyle of which he has now repented. Going home is difficult, for his former companions in sin will be there to oppose and tempt and disbelieve.

In the course of His travels, Jesus returned to His birthplace (v. 1), and although He had lived a sinless life in His early years, He was still only one of the local citizens, and this resulted in their prideful opposition and disbelief.

“And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?” (v. 2). As in our text, His local roots brought scorn and pride and offense.

Their unbelief (v. 6) seemed to limit His ability to work miracles (“and he could there do no mighty work,” v. 5), but such is not the case. There is no limit to the power of the omnipotent Creator! He is not limited by our feeble faith, but evidently He chose to limit His work as a way of reproof of their pride and unbelief.

Yet, note Mark’s casual mention of the healing of “a few sick folk” (v. 5). Such healings were in fact a mighty display of God’s power, a fact that Mark’s readers (primarily Romans and other Gentiles very impressed with power) would have recognized.

Let us not allow our modern-day familiarity with Christ and His power limit the honor and obedience that we return to Him (v. 4). JDM

“Ye people, pour out your heart before Him.”

1 Samuel 1:1-3, 9-18

1 Samuel 1:1-2

It is a sad thing to find a Levite tainted with the error of double marriage, and in this case as in every other it caused much family misery, especially to that wife who was the best and holiest, though denied the blessing of children. Poor Hannah, a woman of great gifts as well as great grace, was so tormented by Peninnah, that her life was made bitter to her. How great a mercy it is that Christianity forbids polygamy, which the old dispensation barely tolerated, and that only because of the hardness of men’s hearts.

1 Samuel 1:3, 9, 10

Her husband loved her, but she needed richer consolation, and she sought it in much earnest prayer. This is the sure fount of comfort.

1 Samuel 1:11

Bishop Hall well remarks that “the way to obtain any benefit is to devote it, in our hearts, to the glory of that God of whom we ask it; by this means shall God both please his servant, and honour himself; whereas if the scope of our desires be carnal, we may be sure either to fail of our suit, or of a blessing.”

1 Samuel 1:12

With all his faults, Eli did not neglect his duty, but sat at his post and watched the worshippers. The very presence of the priest helped to keep order in God’s house.

1 Samuel 1:13

Good men may err. Eli was too indulgent where he ought to have been severe, and too censorious where he should have been charitable. How small a thing it is to be judged of men.

1 Samuel 1:14-16

How gently she replied! Some would have flown into a passion. Meekness is a lovely ornament of piety.

1 Samuel 1:17

Eli was not above confessing his error, and making speedy amends. Let us never be ashamed to acknowledge when we are wrong, nor slow to offer every redress in our power.

1 Samuel 1:18

Her faith in the word of God spoken by his servant was so strong, that she began at once to rejoice in the blessing promised to her. Such ought to be our confidence in the divine promise; we should be no more sad, but look out for the blessing, and welcome it with smiling countenance.

 

My heart is resting, O my God;

I will give thanks and sing;

My soul awaits that joyful hour

Which shall the blessing bring.

 

And a “new song” is in my mouth,

To long-loved music set;

Glory to thee for all the grace

I have not tasted yet.

 

Don’t Deliberately Invite a Typhoon Into Your Church, Ministry, or Business!

1 Timothy 3:6

Maybe you’ve had an associate or a worker whom you once greatly trusted—until he or she deceived and betrayed you. If you’ve gone through that kind of difficult experience, you may not be too excited about trusting people again.

Every leader in the world has been through one of these experiences. Even Jesus had a thief on His team who stole money from the organization and who later betrayed Him and turned Him over to the religious authorities to be executed on a cross. If that can happen to Jesus, it’s possible for it to happen to anyone. But Jesus didn’t give up and quit just because there was one bad apple in His group. There were still eleven others who remained faithful. Although these eleven also made some mistakes along the way, they ultimately changed the course of human history as they carried the Gospel message to the ends of the earth.

Letting your emotions get the best of you by deciding to go on alone is not the right answer when you go through this type of experience. You need to get up, brush off the dirt, learn from your mistakes, and go for it again with all your heart. Rather than blame someone else for what has happened, just accept responsibility for where you may have failed. Stop moaning about the bump in the road you’ve hit, and allow that ordeal to become a learning experience. It’s time to quit thinking about what others did wrong to you. Instead, ask what you did wrong that permitted the situation to arise. Ask yourself:

  • Did I give too much authority to this person too quickly?
  • Did I trust someone I really didn’t know very well?
  • Did I spend enough time with that person to really become his friend?
  • Did I let that person know what I expected of him?
  • Did I ignore signs that something was going amiss?
  • Did my spouse tell me something was wrong, but I wouldn’t listen?
  • What did I learn from this experience?

No school is more effective than the one you go through when someone you work with betrays or disappoints you. After that experience, you will better understand why Paul told Timothy not to choose unknown people for key leadership positions. In First Timothy 3:6, Paul wrote: “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”

If I were to ask you, “What is a novice?” you might answer that a novice is a new Christian. That certainly can be true; however, the word “novice” is much broader than this narrow interpretation. It comes from the Greek word neophutos, which is a compound of the words neo and photos. The word neo means new, and photos is the Greek word for a plant. Compounded together, neophutos means a new plant. In this context, it is understood to mean a new convert or a new Christian. But this word can also refer to an old plant that is new in your garden. In other words, it can also refer to a transplant.

Few pastors make the mistake of choosing brand-new converts for key positions in the church or ministry. Few business leaders would put a young, inexperienced teenager in charge of their business. However, church leaders and business people do often make the mistake of promoting people too quickly when those people come to them from other churches, organizations, or businesses. Newcomers may look good and sound good, and their talents may be urgently needed. Thus, hasty decisions are often made, and people are promoted before they are really known.

People may have years of experience, but if they are new in your garden—your church, ministry, organization, or business—you need to take the time to know them before you give them vast amounts of authority and responsibility. Paul explains why, saying that if you promote a person too quickly, it puts him in a position for the devil to deceive him into thinking too highly of himself. This is what Paul means when he says, “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride….”

The phrase “lifted up with pride” comes from the Greek word tuphuo, and it means to be wrapped in smoke, such as a person whose vision is so blurred, he can’t see things properly. This is where we get the word typhoon, which refers to a destructive storm that causes great damage.

You see, when a person is elevated too quickly, the devil often whispers to that person, “Look how powerful you are! Even though you’re new here, you’ve already become so visible!” Why is this so extremely dangerous? Paul continues to explain by saying, “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”

Do you see the words “he fall into”? These are from the Greek word empipto, which means to fall into some kind of controversy or to fall into some kind of encounter. Thus, Paul warns that when a person is promoted too high too quickly, he may become clouded by his own sense of self-importance, which causes him to stumble into an encounter with the devil that could have destructive, typhoon-like consequences not only for the person himself, but for the church, organization, or business.

Paul concludes by saying, “… lest he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” The word “condemnation” is the Greek word krima, which means judgment. It can describe an action that leads to one’s judgment. This being the case, this phrase could be translated, “… lest he fall under the same action and judgment of the devil.”

What was the action of the devil that led to his judgment? You can find his words in Isaiah 14:12-14, where five times he declared that he would ascend into the highest places of Heaven to disrupt the position of God and to seize God’s throne above the angels. Ezekiel 28:17 tells us the reason this deception filled Satan’s heart. It says, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty…” You see, Lucifer became so impressed with his own beauty and radiance that he started thinking too highly of himself—and that is what led him to believe he could usurp the position of God!

This kind of situation is precisely what Paul is warning us to avoid when he urges us not to promote people to positions of authority too quickly. When this happens, Satan begins to go to work in these people’s minds, telling them that they are wonderful and more powerful, gifted, and capable than anyone else. If they allow the devil’s game to work in their minds, they will begin to think they should have authority that was never given to them. This is precisely the kind of wrong thinking that will release a spiritual typhoon in your church, organization, or ministry!

So if you’ve ever suffered after promoting someone before you really knew him—or if you’ve ever been hurt because you gave power to good people too quickly—you need to accept responsibility for where you may have failed. Learn from this experience, and then move on. You’ll be a much better leader because of what you have learned from this difficult “school of hard knocks”!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I ask You to please help me gauge how quickly others should be promoted in our church, organization, or business. I don’t want to make the mistake of throwing people into situations where the devil will test them because I promoted them too quickly. Also, Lord, I ask You to please help me have a new appreciation for those who are over me and who are taking some time before promoting me. I want to be a blessing and I never want the devil to have an opportunity to blur my vision because I think too highly of myself. Thank You for loving me enough to promote me in just the right time and in just the right way.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I use wisdom in the way I choose and promote leaders in my area of responsibility. I am careful, cautious, and hesitant about promoting people to high positions too quickly. Just as God watches and tests me before giving me greater responsibility, I watch, test, and wait to see if others are really ready before I assign them new and important tasks. Because I rely on the Holy Spirit’s help in this matter, I am making fewer and fewer mistakes in choosing the right people to promote!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Have you ever seen someone promoted so quickly that it caused deep spiritual problems later on? If so, who was that person, and what did you learn by observing that heart-rending situation?
  2. Have you ever watched someone whom a pastor loved, cared for, and promoted later become the chief critic of that same pastor? Was that person you? If yes, have you ever gone to your pastor to ask for his forgiveness?
  3. If you’ve been feeling let down by someone you trusted, why don’t you take some time today to pray and ask the Lord to help you forgive that person? After all, the prison of bitterness you’ve been locked in because of that past offense hurts only you!

Church leaders and business people often make the mistake of promoting people too quickly when those people come to them from other churches, organizations, or businesses. Newcomers may look good and sound good, and their talents may be urgently needed. Thus, hasty decisions are often made, and people are promoted before they are really known.

 

Parents In Pain

“Where did we go wrong?” Isn’t that the question you are asking yourself if you have offspring who are giving you fits? Kids grow up, make their own decisions, some of which are disastrous. Like us they are sinners, perfectly capable of rebelliously going their own way. In a society where everyone is blaming someone else and refusing to take responsibility for their own actions, don’t fall prey to unfounded accusations.

 

If you are struggling with a difficult situation with your teen or young adult here are a few words of encouragement and advice:

  • Realize you are not alone. Other parents have similar experiences. Most important, remember that God is with you. (Isaiah 41:10, 13).
  • Find a few trusted friends to share your concerns and pain. Don’t hide them, or put on an everything is okay front. (Proverbs 17:17).
  • You are not obligated to explain your family situation to everyone. If curious people probe, merely ask them to pray. (Proverbs 10:19).
  • If you know you have sinned against one or your children or treated them badly, confess it to them and to God, asking their forgiveness. (Proverbs 28:13).
  • Hold them accountable for their actions. God does. (Proverbs 20:11).
  • Refuse to feel guilty or ashamed. Don’t let your children lay guilt upon you when you know you served God and them with integrity.
  • Love them deeply. Be there for them, but don’t always rescue. (Luke 15:11-32).
  • Wait and pray. God is a God of patience and hope. Wait for them to respond. In most cases there will be reconciliation. (Romans 12:12; 5:3-5)
  • Keep going and keep ministering. One of Satan’s tactics to attack our family. (Romans 11:29; Proverbs 24:10).
  • Submit yourself to God’s sovereignty, both in your life and in the lives of your children. (Romans 8:28, 29).

Keep in mind that God’s children, too, rebelled: “The Lord has spoken: I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against Me‘” (Isaiah 1:2)