Monday, November 20, 2017

November 20 Thought for the thanks for partnership

I appreciate being appreciated, many hear me, read these posts, see the work in families and the community and recognize all that goes into it and appreciate it. I am grateful for that, but everyone who prays and gives for this ministry is a partner in the world-changing work that is being done...the Holy Spirit says so, through Paul...

Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. Philippians 1:4,5

Every day hope is being given, families are restored, throughout the year many have come to Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, healed, delivered. The great and the small are all being challenged and impacted for the kingdom. Because you read this post and pray for the on-going ministry and because many of you give, what happens through the church or through me personally, you are my partner just like Paul was talking about the Philippian church.

The Philippian church was a struggling church, financially but spiritually they fought off every adversary to stay true to the Gospel. When Paul says here that he "prays" for the church at Philippi the tense there means it is a continuing action, he quite literally prays for them always.

Paul making "requests" means that he was continually, without ceasing, standing in the gap for their physical, spiritual and overall well-being! He recognized all they were doing and their hearts for Paul and his work. He recognized their value in not just their personal ministries but their recognition of the ministry he was doing.

Why did he pray so much for them? They were his partners in the ministry. The Gospel was being preached through Paul's ministry because of their prayers and giving. The way he could best say, "thanks," was to not only literally to say the words but to stand in the gap for each of them, believing for their needs to be met.

I am saying, "thank you" to you today. Your prayers for me give me the strength to continue on in the ministry. Those of you that give through our church are valuable and absolutely necessary to keep the Gospel going, the lives changed, the hope given. Each week thousands view our Friday night service, every day over 1000 people from around the world read this post (mainly through the blog). Your prayers and financial gifts advance the Kingdom. Every life changed is part of your ministry as well.

"The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work" 1 Corinthians 3:8 I have the privilege of doing the planting your participation in this ministry waters, and I expect an abundance of blessing for you because of your hard work. Together we have partnered to change the world...thank you for your faithfulness! By the way, I am praying for you daily and continually!

Friday, November 17, 2017

November 17 Thought for the day....hate and love confrontation

No one likes confrontation. As a Pastor, I have to almost be a pro at it because every day I have to confront someone about their sin. I don't like having to do it, and the results are not always pleasant (people rarely think they are wrong even if the Bible says they are). However, confrontation done correctly is an extremely loving thing to do.

If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, Luke 17:3 (Jesus' words)

If someone sins against us many times, it will sit and eat at us until we deal with it. We can sit and stew on it for hours, days, weeks, and even years. Why waste that time when Jesus plainly tells us what to do. The word translated "sins" here means to cross the line, violate a rule, cause a grievance. If someone has done this, we aren't to stew over it where nothing gets accomplished except our living and pain and the relationship falling apart we are to "rebuke" them!

Rebuke doesn't mean what most people think it means. It means to speak to someone honestly, frankly, and politely as you tell them how you believe they have wronged you. Honesty is critical, it is a key to intimacy in any relationships and is a reflection of our being able to be "one" with each other as Jesus prayed in John 17. It is critical to our impacting the world that we be an honest people.

When confronting follow this plan...

1) Pray - make sure you have indeed been wronged, and it is not the Holy Spirit trying to bring correction in your life. If it is an offense pray the Lord gives you the right attitude to confront. Pray for the person who offended you, they are not your enemy, the enemy is the enemy. The Holy Spirit may give you a strategy to reach out to your brother and sister that will ease the tension.

2) A judgmental attitude does not reflect Christ. - We have all made mistakes and when getting ready to confront remember you have made mistakes too! Please begin with the assumption that the person did not mean to offend you. You don't know the reason the person offended you, and as you move in grace and love, you can be assured that when you need it, you will receive grace and love. Remember you are going to want to keep a relationship with them after you handle the offense.

3) Remember how you felt in the past - when you were told you offended someone, you felt bad, perhaps even sad when you heard you had hurt someone. You want the person who offended you to tell you the truth so coming off strong, self-righteous, or accusatory they will be most likely become offended rather than being won as your brother or sister.

If after reviewing these three steps you still want to confront, when you do forgive. You have been in the presence of the Lord in prayer, His love, joy, and peace have been with you. Your heart should be in the right mode to talk with your brother or sister. You have been forgiven many times by the Lord and others. Remember it is being like Jesus to forgive. Forgive means to release, set free, to liberate completely, to let it go!

Our faith is all about relationship, relationship with God, each other, and the world. The world is looking for examples of Christ-likeness in people who claim to follow him. Working out of offenses in love shows our love of Christ to everyone. I know it is uncomfortable, but the alternative is years of anguish, hurt, and division. Gently confront so you may save your relationships and grow to be who God has called you to be! You can grow to love it if you see how many relationships you save!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

November 16 Thought for the day...put anger to bed

I think we all have done it at one point or another, gotten so angry about something we couldn't sleep. I have done it, it is rare, but someone or something has infuriated me so badly that I lay there tossing and turning at times only getting angrier. Paul has a solution

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:26,27

Wrath is a funny word. The Greek meaning is someone who brings anger alongside them and embraces it. In other words, recognizing it for what it is and dealing with the wrath, you embrace it coddle it, nurture it and help it grow. Wrath will then get "under your skin" you will own it then. It will begin to tear at your heart, love, joy, peace and before long you are completely miserable and restless. I have seen people carry wrath for years. They have missed out on many joys, opportunities, blessings, relationships, and the Holy Spirit because of carrying wrath. Some even justified it as part of their Christian right.

Wrath is there because we haven't learned to forgive, intercede, live in grace, speak loving correction or a combination of the four. Being Christ-like requires us to live in forgiveness we can't hold things against people, Christ didn't and neither should we (there is much more to this like not submitting to abuse but still being able to forgive). If someone wounds us, we are to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us. We have been given grace so we ought to extend grace to others. At times we simply need to speak a word or teach correction to someone. Each of this will crush wrath in our lives.

If you have a hard time letting go do one or all of the following:

- Pray
- Talk to your spouse or a close friend you can trust about it
- Talk to a pastor, elder, or another church leader

If you don't the devil knows the "place" to attack. The word devil means one who comes alongside to accuse. He will find the place in your mind where you are the most vulnerable and attack that place with a vengeance. He will find various ways to create offenses, wounds, corrupt thinking, illegitimate thoughts, anything he can do to destroy your walk, testimony, and Christian life. He does an especially good work when you are trying to sleep at night. So put your anger to bed before you go so you can rest.

Your rest is as much a part of your Kingdom work as your work is. We are required by the Lord to rest so don't allow the enemy to rob it from you. Walk in forgiveness, grace, and life don't give the enemy another moment of your rest!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November 15 Thought for the day....don't think it gets easier

I remember when I opened my own business, people who had never owned a business told me I had it made. They thought how much time I would have because it was my business, I was my own boss. I could choose to work the hours I wanted. I could take days off. I had come into easy street according to some. My business was fantastically successful but because Paige and I were each willing to work 60-70 hours per week taking off only Sunday. When we weren't at the store, we were thinking about it. Many people daydream about what life would be like someday but someday is today!

Don't have anything to do with worthless, senseless stories and daydreams. Work hard to be truly a man of faith. 1 Timothy 4:7

Many people daydream about life being more comfortable if I only had my own business or if I were the boss, and my favorite wish I could be a Pastor they only work one day a week! Being a success at anything, especially in the Kingdom takes complete commitment and focus. Paul was warning young Timothy to not have daydreams about an easier life but instead to stay focused on the Kingdom. He was most likely dreaming about how much easier life would be if he weren't in the ministry or how much easier it would be as the ministry grew and he could finally relax. That would come under the idea of a senseless story or a daydream.

If God calls you to a greater purpose and anointing along with that calls comes a greater demand on your time, energy, strength, and gifts. As we learn to rely on God's grace, wisdom, and strength our character will blossom and grow and we will be able to handle anything that comes our way and be successful as well!

When Paul says, "don't have anything to do with" It means to refuse, utterly reject, walk away from any fables, old wives tales, or daydreams that will limit you. Paul doesn't want young Timothy to get caught up in wishing, dreaming, schemes or anything other than God's great plan. The enemy wants to get our focus off of the greatness God has for us. He will fill our minds with useless thoughts that take us away from God's purpose. It especially happens when things begin to get tough. We long for easier days, hoping every problem will go away. Those who follow the Lord's anointing will be taking on the prince of this world and his kingdom and will be conquering one kingdom after another.

"Work hard" is that word exercise, again. We are to grow in strength, stamina, endurance to win the race, to overcome, to win the crown. Ease is not something that men and women, who are hungry for God, will ever attain. However, rest, joy, peace, love, grace, wisdom, and power are the place where the man (or woman) of faith exist!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 14 Thought for the one likes discipline but...

We have all seen them, you are at Walmart, and there is a child or a couple of children that are entirely out of control. They are screaming, yelling at their parents, refusing to listen, maybe even telling their parents, "no!" They are a little-undisciplined anarchist. I can predict their future...jail time. Discipline is not only needful but absolutely necessary for success. Our flesh hates it, the devil hates it, but God blesses us through it.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:11

We are all born of flesh, and the flesh wants what the flesh wants, and most of that are things contrary to God's best for us. Our most significant battle is not with the devil but with the flesh. If the flesh is under subjection to Christ, then the devil has no possibility of ever winning in our lives. Being wholly submitted to the Father crucifies our flesh and leads us to more power, greater anointing and complete freedom, love, joy, peace and so much more! Walking in a disciplined life allows us to be entirely used of the Holy Spirit tieing in with yesterday's "thought" regarding excellence!

The word "discipline" means to educate, instruct, any action taken for the betterment of one's life. It is not only the process but also the attitude we want to be disciplined to grow, mature, and excel! This type of attitude is vital if we are going to mature. I know how important my disciplines of being in the Word, prayer, and working out our to my spiritual and physical health but some morning I lack the desire to do them, even though I know how vital they are to me. This word is a severe word meaning we must have a strictest of disciplinary approaches to life in order to overcome our flesh.

If I want the outcome of a disciplined life; moving in a greater anointing, power, wisdom, and all of the fruit of the Spirit, I must choose to discipline my flesh, effectively killing it off so the Holy Spirit may completely flow through me. It certainly is neither easy nor comfortable. Little children put it this way, "Mom, everyone else is doing it why can't I?" It hurts, "painful" meaning grievous, uncomfortable, distressing. It is hard work to go to get a degree, work out every day, learn a language. It is also hard to stop smoking, lying, swearing, or any other bad habit. "trained" is the word for weight training, physical exercise, or running, the results will be worth it.

The writer in talking about a "peaceful harvest of right living" is referring to progress in your life of godliness. You will see the fruit of the Spirit in everything you do, the power and anointing of God in greater measure, fear, anxiety, worry, anger, and all of the work of the flesh will be subdued in your life. This is not a "do it once and done" Jesus said, if anyone wants to be his disciple (follow His discipline) they must take up their cross (crucify their flesh) daily. For me, just like the working out discipline walking in His discipline is so very daily. It is worth every moment, every sacrifice, to witness all the lives that are being changed and the way the Holy Spirit is moving in our church. Try it today and see if it is worth it to you!

Monday, November 13, 2017

November 13 Thought for the excellent

When I was growing up an elderly neighbor lady, Mrs. Gee used to tell me, "Keep your shoes shined, it shows people who you are!" It took me a while to get what she meant. I when I would enter their home everything was pristine, her and Mr. Gee were in their 80's, but everything was in order. They had very little money, but they took care of everything they had. I asked Mr. Gee one day what she meant about the shoes, He told me they had very little money their entire lives, but because he took care of his shoes, Mrs. Gee knew because he could be trusted with the small things she could trust him with her life. They were nearly married for 65 years, and he took care of her every day. God looks for people with that kind of passion and attitude of excellence for the bigger things.

"This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work." 1 Timothy 3:1

The Gees had very little money or the things of this world, but they constantly trusted the Lord. They did everything they did to the absolute best of their ability. They valued all they were given, each other, and the Lord. By doing so, they honored the Lord. Too often today, excellence is not something we strive for passion is based on the moment, not on the way to live your life and value what God has given or called you to do. Paul is challenging us with passion.

The word "desire" means to reach beyond, to stretch to grasp, it is a fierce, unyielding passion to have or be something. It is the inward attitude of a person to always desire to be and do the best. The Holy Spirit is speaking through Paul and saying that is the type of person you should be looking for to place in any type of leadership position.

It is a very sad thing when people have gifts, talents, and abilities and refuse to grow with them. It is equally disappointing if someone is limited in their gifts but chooses not to improve themselves or their position by studying, researching, or simply working to be better. This is showing the Lord they do not have a desire for excellence. The first thing the Holy Spirit list in looking for in quality leaders is "desire!" Mrs. Gee taught me the little things matter because they reflect the big things. Jesus said, "he who is faithful with little will be given much." I am not a perfectionist, but I desire to grow in the Lord, my skills, my abilities, and in any way I can. I always want to be the best I can be for the Lord, not striving for perfection, just a deeper relationship with him.

When people look at your work, your life, or your attitude, are you emulating things that honor the Lord? Why would the Lord entrust great things to someone who will handle them with mediocrity rather than excellence? God has great things for all of us. If you know of someone, who is comfortable with the status quo gently encourage them to push into the Lord more. A desire for excellence is so essential the Lord puts it at the top of the list for what to look for in leadership. I hope it is at the top of yours. If we are not growing and learning, we are dying!

Friday, November 10, 2017

November 10 Thought for the day...leaders needed

What do you think God looks for in leadership? Many would think someone that has the right gifts, talents, and abilities. While these things are important they are not what God wants us to look for, Paul helped young Timothy find the right people

This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 1 Timothy 3:1

Timothy was going to be pastoring one of the largest churches in the world. To do this efficiently, he needed leadership he could trust. Paul gave him advice regarding who to look for and trust. God's leadership choice is always about character first, gifting second.

The word translated bishop really means, "a person who has oversight!" I believe every person in the church, because of our need for integrity in the church and leadership in the world, should live up to these qualifications. I am thankful, in my church,  that many do and many others are working on these character traits. It doesn't stop within the church.

This term can be applied in all aspects of life. Paul is preparing to tell us various traits that one should look for in a person that can be trusted to be a leader in any area. In Rome, this term was used of people who could be trusted to get jobs done, oversee projects, handle and account for funds, a person that would make sure everything was completed with excellence, and integrity.

Today this could be a manager, supervisor, administrator, anyone who wants or desires to hold a position of leadership. God expects people who love Him, to be excellent in all they do it is one of the ways, we can bring glory to Him. When we use our gifts the best, we can we bring Him glory. In the church, people are needed for areas of responsibility, areas of excellence. The church of Ephesus that young Timothy pastored needed quality leadership to meet all of the needs and impact the world.

Every pastor needs and should be looking for leaders with the character traits we will be talking about over the next few days. Every business deserves to have Christians that live these character traits as well. Every boss, who calls themselves a Christian, should emulate these traits giving their employees an example to live by.

Keep reading over the next few days to see if this is you! I hope it is. Try to live in such a way that if someone spoke badly about you that no one would believe it!