YOU WERE PUT ON EARTH FOR A TIME LIKE THIS

By on November 7, 2018

The teacher asked the third grade class to bring in copies of their birth certificates for show and tell. Each student would show his or her birth certificate and then tell how much his or birth weight was, where the hospital was, birth measurements and other participants.

When it was Franny’s turn, she burst into tears. She sobbed, “I lost my excuse for being born!”

You can get like that! With so much else to do, and the many demands of day to day life that you lose your “excuse for being born.” You get to where you see no purpose, no excitement and no expectancy.

Esther, a young woman in the Bible, was challenged to believe that she had been born for a purpose. In Esther 4:14, her uncle asks her, “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

They were in tough times and needed some answers, help and influence. Esther knew something needed to be done. She looked to her uncle, but he wasn’t in a position to do what was needed. So, he challenged HER with the purpose of her being in THAT kingdom at THAT time in history.

Why are YOU in the kingdom of God at THIS time in history? More specifically, why are you associated with THIS church at this time in God’s history? There’s a reason!

When we read about how fast our area is growing, and how rapidly it’s developing, we know that we have to do what God has called each one of us to do, do it well and do it now.

Everyday there are more and more people can’t begin to put a dent in the numbers of people who are without Jesus until we all get up and get serious about what He has brought each of us into the Kingdom for.

Otherwise, the job won’t get done right, it won’t get done in time, and it won’t get done by the people gifted by God to do it.
A mother saw her 12 year old son trying to sew a button on his shirt. She said, “You’re going about it all wrong! You have the thimble on the wrong finger!” he said, “I know! It ought to be on YOURS!”

The point is, that it’s easy to be critical of someone who is trying to do a job for Jesus when they’re not doing it as well as we could. If they’re not handling it the best way, it’s probably the Holy Spirit’s way of whispering for us to “put the thimble our talents for the Lord.

God has rewards for you, and they’re related to the skills that He’s planted in your heart and the abilities He’s given you. He’s brought you into His Kingdom to use those skills and abilities for Him so more peoples’ lives can be saved.

You have abilities that are absolutely vital to the work that God wants to do here in Southern Maryland. Maybe somebody else is smarter than you in some areas, or speaks better, but they can’t do well what YOU can do well!

I read an article about a jet test pilot. He had flown a super-sonic jet to a near record altitude. A few days after his test flight, he was riding to work on motor scooter. Just outside the airfield, he lost control of his scooter and was thrown onto the road – breaking his arm in two places.

He was a near genius at flying experimental supersonic aircraft, but he had problems with a simple little motor scooter!

Like the test pilot, some of us can do certain things really well, but we’re almost incompetent at other things. The person you think isn’t doing so good of a job is probably VERY aware of it – and would welcome your help and input with open arms!

1 Corinthians 3:5-9 tells us that different ones of us are gifted at different things. Each has a job to do, a function to perform, a place in God’s work – and when we do it, God gives the increase. The increase is dependent on EACH of us doing what God put here to do. Then, it comes. In verse 8, “each one of us will receive his own reward according to his own labor.”

Verse 9 says that “we are God’s fellow workers.” It’s not those other people we’re working with, but it’s God we’re working with!
Maybe you feel like you’re too unskilled or unspiritual to do anything for the Kingdom of God.

Think about this: remember the dodo bird? It’s extinct now. But, we all know what a dodo is. It’s a not very nice name to call a person who’s not too bright.

Anyway, the dodo was a large bird, with a 50 pound ash gray fat and lumpy body. It had a ridiculous tail of curly feathers, and each wing had only 3 or 4 black feathers. It had big feet, a hooked beak and huge legs.

Dodos only lived on three islands in the Indian Ocean. Settlers then came and wiped them out. One of the settlers wrote in his journal that when he tried to eat them, “the more and longer they are cooked, the less soft and more unpalatable their flesh becomes.”

In 1977, it was discovered that the beautiful calvaria tree that grows on those three islands where the dodos lived were dying out. Why? Because the tree’s seeds had such thick hulls that they could sprout only after being run through the dodo’s intense digestive system. All but 13 trees died, due to lack of dodo birds! Fortunately, it was discovered that turkeys could be imported to do for the environment what the dodos had been put there to do!

You might feel like a dodo. You might not fly like an eagle, but God put you into His Kingdom for a time such as this. Maybe you’re a turkey! There aren’t any dodos to do the job needs doing – so you can step in and do a life saving work!

Just like in nature, where God didn’t make any useless creatures, in the church God didn’t put any useless people. No one has nothing to offer!
I want you to make a commitment to your God right now. Offer Him your talents, your abilities, your talents, your finances, your time. Ask Him what He have these gifts to you for. Then, offer them to Him to use for His eternal purposes.

He’s probably already pointed out to you one or more things that are like the jet pilot trying to ride a motor scooter – a job being done by someone who isn’t too god at already have notices some seeds that aren’t growing – there’s not a dodo bird where there ought to be! That’s your call to be a turkey!

You haven’t lost your “excuse for being born.” You’ve just let it get mixed up with other things.

KICKING WORRY OUT OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON

By on October 30, 2018

“Tis the season to be jolly…”

Sure, if you are a credit card company. Or a long distance phone company. Or a toy manufacturer. It’s the season to be jolly if you happen to own a mall.

If you don’t fit in one of those four categories, it’s the season of financial pressure; facing up to the end of the year with little or no money set aside. It’s the season to feel bad that you didn’t do any better financially than you did. It’s the season to break out the credit cards and wince.

It’s the season that many families will be paying off in monthly installments for the next twelve months. And, even with going in debt, buying things you really can’t afford, your kids will probably still think you’re a tightwad. They’ve seen and been pumped up to want hundreds of dollars’ worth of worthless overpriced imported toys and clothes.

Then, there are the emotional assaults. We’re in the season where there are the highest incidents of anxiety and depression. You might be able to keep on top throughout the whole rest of the year, but in December? WHAM! It hits you upside the head and won’t back off!

What to do? Jesus said in Luke 12:29, “Seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind, for all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Heavenly Father KNOWETH that ye have need of these things.”

What He’s saying: Don’t make your goal to be acquiring more and more possessions. For yourself or for anybody else. That’s not a worthy goal. Not worth worrying about. Don’t worry about the basics. They’ll be there. You’re not alone, and God KNOWS what your needs are.

God knows your needs, and He cares. That’s a main point that Jesus made for a higher purpose than to just acquire and hoard possessions. God has planted in your heart the NEED to accomplish something worthwhile and good for other people.

You and I are made in the image of God. It’s that image of God that drives us to want to give, love, provide for others and make a difference. And, that’s the part that feels grieved when, at the end of the year, it seems like we’ve done little of importance…once again.

You’re BORN with that sense of eternity, and the desire to seek and to search for meaning and purpose. Because you’re not a mere animal, material things and accomplishments provide only temporary comfort, but then, leave us feeling as weak, empty and like something’s missing, as we were before.

I’m telling you that, to tell you THIS. Toys, clothes, appliances and high tech gizmos WON’T satisfy your kids, friends and loved ones. These things will have meaning as TOKENS of your love and care, but in themselves, they won’t provide meaning and lasting satisfaction.

The good news is, that NOT having these things won’t bring lasting hurt, pain, disappointment or grief? That is, as long as your loved ones KNOW that you love them and care deeply for them.

Material things don’t satisfy, and, the lack of material things won’t devastate! You FIRST have to deal with your own expectations, then you’re free to relax and give of yourself, and from your heart.

Your Heavenly Father, Jesus says, KNOWS your heart, and that you have a need to give to your need, and He cares.

Priority One? Getting to know Him better. This is the season when your spirit is especially sensitive to God, joy, meaning in life and relationships. This is the time to spend specific, quality time with God, to get to know Him better and to understand His plans and purposes in your life more fully.

It’s a time for opening your Bible and getting familiar with it, reading it with “new eyes.” Read while asking Him to speak to you, giving you good understanding. Let the Holy Spirit lead you and guide you as you read the Scriptures.

Part of dealing with anxiety and depression is to bring your life to God, and ask Him to direct your plans and path this year. You’ll want to spend time with Him, and get to know His mind for your life.

You might be discouraged because things haven’t worked out like you’d planned this year. Maybe God didn’t bless you like you’d wanted, or he didn’t seem to use you very much.

This is a matter of hungering and thirsting for God. It’s just like with regular food and drink, when you’re hungry or thirsty, you DO SOMETHING about it. When you are hungry or thirsty for more of God, you’ll DO something about it. Jesus said that “blessed ones” hunger and thirst after the Kingdom of God. That’s in Matthew 5:6.

Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness SHALL be filled. Don’t hunger and thirst after THINGS. Hunger and thirst after God.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” That’s the order. God first, and then, only then, things will be released into your life. Or, as Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Here’s the order: First the spiritual, then the material. Colossians 3:1 says to set your affections on the things that are above it doesn’t do any good to be rich in earthly things but poor in spiritual things.

Don’t LOVE things. Love God, love people and love your pets. Good rule of thumb: Don’t love anything that can’t return your love.

You’ve got to prepare your heart. In Ezra 7:10, it says that God’s hand moved on Ezra’s life for good because, “Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach (others).” He wanted to know God, to walk with Him and to impart what he had learned to others. You have to PREPARE for the good that God has planned for you.

Make room for God in your schedule. Give him a definite time slot, or appointment each day. Then LOOK for opportunities, as for them and make room for God to work in your life.

Take every opportunity to seek God. When depression, fear or anxiety show up and they are signals to DO SOMETHING.

These negative emotions are like the warning lights on the dash-board of your car. They’re saying, “Pull over and do a check up, find what’s missing and fill it up!”

Deal with the emptiness, and the fullness will take care of itself. Don’t let despair ruin your holidays. Love isn’t measured in cash register receipts or credit card bills. Give your loved ones the gift of BEING THERE FOR THEM. Of PRAYING for them and with them, of listening, really listening to them. Them if you have a little money, buy them a token of your esteem for them. You’ll ALL be happier, and more relaxed.

Give God thee best gift of all this Christmas. Give Him our whole heart, your life, and your financial situations. Give Him your friendships. Speak to your friends and co-workers about Him. Invite them to sit with you in church this week.

Jesus said, “Fear not, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom (Luke 12:32).” Also, “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth (Luke12:15).”

Jesus said also in Mark 8:36 “What shall it profit a man, if he gain the WHOLE world and lose his soul?” what if you get your kid EVERYTHING on his or her list, and don’t teach them how to know Jesus?

This year, cast your cares on the Lord. Don’t worry so much about what you can and can’t buy. Think more about what you’re becoming, the kind of person you’re turning out to be. Put God first, and your Christmas season will be all it’s cracked up to be, and more!”

THE BLESSING OF BEING HUNGRY FOR GOD

By on October 16, 2018

How do you describe hungry? “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!” One man said, “The best sauce in the world is a hungry stomach!” Or, worse yet, as our daughter Amy said years ago, I’m so hungry, I could eat school cafeteria food!”

When you’re truly hungry, all you can think about is satisfying that hunger. That’s why Jesus said that to be desperately hungry for God is a very special blessing. See, if you were famished for God and starving for a touch from Him, think how you’d live!

You’d be praying and fellowshipping with Him, seeking His plans for you first thing in the morning. Excitedly, you’d break open His Word, your Bible, searching for a tidbit of spiritual food. If the Holy Spirit gave you a particular verse or promise, you’d savor it, feed on it and it would be your meditation and strength all day long.

When you become desperately hungry for God, you long for the next service at the House of God, and for fellowship from his people. One or two services each week aren’t enough for the hungry disciple! No, you want to more, MUCH MORE!

“Righteousness” means right direction, or “going in the direction of right”. It’s from the Anglo-Saxon “right wiseness” meaning “right-direction.” So, when you’re hungering and thirsting for God’s right direction in your life, Jesus says you’re a blessed one, and that God’s right directions shall fill you up!

You’ll have God’s right direction in your mind. You’ll have God’s right direction in your spirit and soul. You’ll have God’s right direction in school or on the job. Your life will be filled with God’s right direction. Every area of your life will be going His way!

God is a God Who operates in EVERY area of life for the person who hungers and thirsts. When Moses met God at the burning bush in Exodus 3:14, he was curious as to just what God in a devotional way. Now God was talking with Moses about liberating the children of Israel from their enslavement to the Egyptians.

Moses asked God, “What shall I tell people when they want to know who You are?” God said, “I AM THAT I AM.” That’s what you need to tell the children of Israel. Tell them I AM the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I’ll ALWAYS be I AM THAT I AM.”

What’s I AM THAT I AM mean? It actually means, “ I AM what you need Me to be when you need Me to be it.” Whatever your need is, God is the God Who can meet it.

When you were hungry for God, you prayed that prayer, “Lord Jesus, come into my life and live in me,” He HEARD that prayer, and came in. Now, He dwells on the INSIDE of you! There’s nothing on earth greater than the Holy Spirit living on the inside of everyday people, people like you and me. That’s what Colossians 1:27 means, when it talks about “Christ IN you, the hope of glory.”

The Holy Spirit comes in and fills ALL who are hungry for God. Your filling depends upon your hunger. That’s why many Christians are no longer hungry! Proverbs 27:7 puts it like this: “The full soul loatheth the honeycomb; but to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet.”

In other words, when you’re full of self, pride or carnality, you have no appetite for even Jesus, as sweet as He is. On the other hand, if you are hungry for Him, even if He WASN’T so good, you’d desire Him to fill you completely!

How come some people get filled mightily and others just get a “so-so” experience with the Lord? Those who are starving for God get mightily filled!

The major work of the Holy Spirit is to work in people’s lives, to prepare you for the moves of God on your soul. His work is to put you into a strong hunger, so you’ll cry out to God for Him to fill you up with His presence.

God’s moving in your spirit have more to do with your heart-cry than it does with your education, track record or anything else. When you’re desperate for the manifestation of God in your life. He will come in answer to your heart’s cry.

When does Jesus move on you? When will He move next? The answer is really simple: He will move on you mightily and when nothing else, no one else will do. There has to be an overwhelming hunger in your heart so you pray in a way you haven’t prayed before. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (there’s that word again) availeth much (James 5:16)”.

When your spirit is fervent, when it’s crying out to the point that your prayer MOVES YOU, it begins to move God.

That’s why spiritual people throughout history have turned to fasting for the power of God. In Daniel chapter 9, he stirred up such a tremendous hungering in his soul that he brought deliverance for the entire nation. He fasted and prayed in sackcloth for God to bring deliverance.

David became known as a man after God’s own heart, due NOT to what a perfect person he was. No, it was his hunger for GOD that earned him that special relationship. He said in Psalm 84:2, “My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God!” when your heart and flesh cries out for the living God, He’ll rush in and fill you fully!

When the number one desire of your soul is to be filled with God, when that’s the supreme urgency of your soul, and you’re reaching out to God, crying out for Him to answer – He will pour out His power from on high into your heart like He did in days of old.

When does a hunger like this come? When you’ve discovered that the arm of the flesh will fail you. That’s one time that you’ll seek God with your whole heart. When you get to the place where you stop depending on man, you’re at the place where you can throw yourself into the presence of God!
When does a hunger like this come? When you’ve discovered that the arm of the flesh will fail you. That’s one time that you’ll seek God with your whole heart. When you get to the place where you stop depending on man, you’re at the place where you can throw yourself into the presence of God!
Even if you’re far away from God, I can tell you this: Let the emptiness of your heart cry out for God to fill you up, and He’ll quickly be on hand to answer your cry.

You might have a besetting sin that keeps coming back and coming back, no matter what you do or how you pray. Maybe you’ve even made vows and promises to God that you’ll do better – only to fall into the same trap over and over again.

I want to tell you that all the promises and self-discipline in the world can’t help you or deliver you. Not once that behavior has gone deeply into you. What you need is for God to send His Spirit in the depths of your being, find the real difficulty and then destroy its power in you. God promises you this in Jeremiah 33:3. “Call unto Me, and I WILL answer you, shew you great and mighty things, which you have never experienced.”

That’s what you need. That’s what we ALL need: to have God increase our hunger for Him until we call out to Him to fill us! Jesus said, “Blessed are they which do hunger.” Pray to get hungry!

Isn’t this what your soul is asking for? Are you hungry with a divine hunger? If you are, God has bound Himself to answer you!