Archive for June, 2011

A matter of style.

06/30/2011
Jesus with children, early 1900s Bible illustr...

Image via Wikipedia

I recently listened to a wonderful sermon by a guest speaker at a neighboring church in the Stockbridge, Georgia area. It was about being a “Soul Winner” for Christ, as opposed to sitting on your duff. I loved 99% of his message, I really did. As a matter of fact, I agree with his entire stance on why it is so important and vital to our faith, to do our best to show people how important a relationship with Jesus is in their lives. His words were music to my ears, with one exception. Before anyone gets up-tight, let me preface this by saying I totally understand the generational gap that divides the “traditional church” and the “modern church” and that I love the fact that different churches offer different worship styles where everyone can find the best one for them.

With that being said, the speaker asked for a show of hands of everyone who got saved in the 60’s, tons of hands went up. He then asked the same of the 70’s, again, tons of hands went up. When he reached the 80’s, the count had dropped noticeably. And by the time he asked for a show of hands of the crowd who were saved in the 90’s through today, the hands were barely noticeable in the crowd.

His point in doing this, was to show that fewer people are getting saved in today’s world…….WHAT??????? My first thought was wishing he would attend a Sunday night service at one50five where the head-count on a moderate night is upwards of 70. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. This speaker, who spoke so profoundly about bringing people to Christ, was only speaking from the perspective of the traditionalist. He wasn’t factoring in the younger generations being drawn to the modern church. To those of you, my wonderful friends and readers, who prefer one to the other, may I just say that I am thrilled you have a home church that suits your preference in worship style. And to my traditional friends, may I ask this: Do you listen regularly to the music of your parents or grandparents? Do you watch the exact same shows? Do you enjoy the exact same recreational activities? I doubt it. 

There is NOTHING wrong with the modern church, or the traditional church having different forms of worship. I personally discourage doubt in how many are coming to Christ in today’s society though, based on the attendance of the traditional church. Young people are drawn to things that directly relate with them, I also would like to let you in on a little secret, the modern church or (the evangelistic or charismatic movements as a whole) teach the exact same Bible in their messages. The exact same gospel is taught. If it isn’t for you, then it isn’t for you with regards to the music. I would also like to say, to anyone who disagrees, that like it or not, the mass amounts of youth that pile into modern churches every week, ARE THE FUTURE. Personally, I get my daily doses of hymns, and modern music via downloads from other churches. I get an awesome balance of different preaching styles as well. 

The following statements have absolutely nothing to do with this particular speaker (again, I loved his sermon as a whole!). I find that when speaking to my grandparents or other “veterans of the faith”. That choosing sides, between different denominations tends to come across as being more important to them, than the Gospel itself. Remember, Christ calls us to be ONE church, and picking teams, so to speak, and making everything about pushing your particular denomination’s agenda and talking points is what has made modern politics such a joke. The reason that I carry the stance that the Catholic Church is a false religion as a whole, is because “tradition” has become more important than Gospel. When tradition becomes elevated over Gospel, we begin opening a can of worms, and that is NOT what Jesus had in mind for us. Not at all.

Food for thought:

Different worship styles are completely alright. Different doctrines ARE NOT. If you feel that your modern church is based less on what God says, and more on flash and intensity, look in to a new church with the same worship style, and better preaching and leadership. If your traditional church (catholic or whoever) feels more based on doing things the way they were done during the depression, and less on spreading the word of Christ, look in to a new traditional church, also, with better preaching and leadership.  At the end of the day, what it all comes down to, is the message from the speaker agreeing with what God has laid out for us in the Bible, and THEN how that church itself backs it up.

Stay blessed,

Chris

 

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David’s Strength And Refuge

06/29/2011
"Death of King Saul", 1848 by Elie M...

Image via Wikipedia

During the time that King Saul of Israel initiated the man-hunt for the future king David, David found time to jot down the 59th Psalm of the Bible. While reading today, I want you to try to put yourself in David’s shoes and see if you would be as faithful as David was.

Rescue me from my enemies, O God. Protect me from those who have come to destroy me. Rescue me from these criminals; save me from these murderers. They have set an ambush for me. Fierce enemies are out there waiting, Lord, though I have not sinned or offended them. I have done nothing wrong, yet they prepare to attack me. Wake up! See what is happening and help me!  Psalm 59:1-4

Okay, so the setting is David hiding out knowing that the moment he was seen in public, his enemies would be waiting. Not just any enemies though, he calls them “fierce”. He knew this because they were once allies of his on the battlefield, his friends and countrymen. He knew all too well what they were capable of, and possibly could have called each one by name. We also read that David KNEW he was innocent. King Saul was acting out of jealousy!

O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, wake up and punish those hostile nations. Show no mercy to wicked traitors. They come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets. Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths; their words cut like swords. “After all, who can hear us?” they sneer. But Lord, you laugh at them. You scoff at all the hostile nations. Psalm 59:5-8

In times of need, what is one of the most important things we can do? PRAY! And one key factor in a heartfelt prayer is acknowledging WHO GOD IS. David calls on the “Lord God of Heaven’s Armies” and “The God of Israel”. Notice he didn’t say “hey dude” or “Lord if you have a sec….”. He addressed his Heavenly Father with the utmost respect. Talking to God should feel like talking to your best friend, but it must also be respectful. After all He did create the world. David again notes the merciless attitudes of his enemies. David also asks God to return that favor upon his enemies. We learn that David knows the men to the point that he can imagine their exact words, how sinfully proud they are. David goes a step beyond respecting God, by acknowledging that God “scoffs” at them. They are nothing but dust on the shoulder of the Lord.

You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress. In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me. He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies.  Psalm 59:9-10

In these two verses we see David taking comfort and putting all of his trust in God. We MUST do that. We can’t do anything on our own. When our trials and tribulations arise, we MUST lean on God. As you just read, God’s love NEVER fails. He is our fortress in times of spiritual battle as well as physical.

Don’t kill them, for my people soon forget such lessons; stagger them with your power, and bring them to their knees, O Lord our shield. Because of the sinful things they say, because of the evil that is on their lips, let them be captured by their pride, their curses, and their lies. Destroy them in your anger! Wipe them out completely! Then the whole world will know that God reigns in Israel. Psalm 59:11-13

David, while wanting God to take vengeance on his enemies, still in his heart wanted God to show mercy. While God was providing this miracle of protection, He still would show that mercy. We quickly, however, see the humanity of David when he changes his mind about that just seconds later asking God to destroy and wipe out his enemies. This is so typical of us in our lives, we don’t really want bad things to happen to our enemies, not in our spirits. But our flesh tries to pull us into the sin of taking vengeance into our own hands instead of the only hands that vengeance belongs to.

My enemies come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets. They scavenge for food but go to sleep unsatisfied. But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. Psalm 59:14-17

In those closing statements to God. David again remarks about how closely he knows the behaviors of his adversaries. He even calls them scavengers. Vultures, would be a good word too. But in his anger towards King Saul, and David’s very own former comrades, David submits to the ways of God. He sang praise to God in his dark time. He indicates that God is again, his strength and his refuge, and his safe place when he is distressed and fearful. He remembers and revels in the fact that God’s love is NEVER ENDING.

We know the rest of the story, David overcomes all adversaries and becomes arguably the greatest King of Israel. We get attacked everyday my friends. Maybe not physically, maybe not emotionally, but spiritually. We know that Satan prowls around like a lion looking for people of God who slip, so he can devour them. That anger that swells up inside you when you are in an argument, that feeling you get when your spouse may not be around and you get a complimented or “hit on” in the workplace or at school. The are assaults on your spirit. Make no mistake about it, we are at war every single day. The next opportunity that you have, to fall on your face, or get on your knees and plead with God, for protection against whatever you need it from, step out of the boat like Peter, reach to grab the hem of Jesus’ garment, load a sling with a stone to slay the giant, and build the arc that will save the world.

Your prayers, are music to the Lord’s ears. They don’t have to be long and drawn out. Just from the heart and with respect. David in the end, submitted to the will of God to handle his problems and be his ultimate provider. Today I pray that we can do the same.

God Bless You,

Chris

God Will Complete What He Begins

06/28/2011
Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother," a...

Image via Wikipedia

A young woman decided after high school that her life’s calling was to be a missionary in India. She had made all the needed preparations for the trip, when she got a call from a relative that her mother had been diagnosed with a terminal disease and needed her badly. She postponed her trip to India, and went to tend to her mother in her final days. This miraculously, against medical predictions, lasted for three years. When her mother finally went on to be with Jesus, she made all of these preparations to again leave and be a missionary in India.

This time, it was her sister. Her sister had also been diagnosed with the same ailment that took her mother from her, and she had three children. She once again cancelled her trip. After living with her sister for a very short time, her sister passed away and she was left with three orphaned kids. At this point, she knew her mission in life to be a missionary in India had to be cancelled in order to raise her nieces and nephews in her sister’s honor and memory.

Finally! All three children were old enough to look out for themselves. The problem now, was that she too had taken ill with the same disease as her mother and sister. She however, had saved enough money to be cared for in a nursing home instead of putting that on her inherited kids. One day, very near her death, the kids came to visit as they did all the time, but this time they came bearing news. All three were now adults, married, and Bible College graduates. The news they came to tell her, was that in her honor, they too had a passion for missionary work, as well as their spouses, and all six of them were going to India to apply their calling!

It was after hearing this, the woman realized down deep in her soul, she had not failed to do God’s work. His purpose for her life, had indeed been accomplished, in His own way, in His own time.

God, who began a good work among you will bring it to completion.  Philippians 1:6 ISV 

Things do not always happen the way we believe they are supposed to, but believe me, with regards to ministry and Christian life, they ALWAYS happen the way that God believes they are supposed to.

 

God Bless

Chris

As Long As You’re Sincere

06/27/2011
Bulletin/Handout notes
 
Original Message/Sermon: R. Frisone
 
From One50Five youth service at Stockbridge Community Church on 6/26/11.
 
(listen to sermon at one50five.com)
 
True-ish Series (week 3)
 
“AS LONG AS YOU’RE SINCERE”
 
“The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paulo and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”   Acts 16:29-30
 
Some quick statistics:
 
-53% of American adults believe if a person is generally good, he’ll go to Heaven.
-43% of born again Christians agreed: ‘It doesn’t matter what religious faith you follow because all faiths teach similar lessons about life.”
-57% of evangelical church members said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life.
 
The Question: Are all world religions basically the same and mostly true?
 
1) Just because you’re SINCERE doesn’t make what you believe TRUE.
2) There is TRUTH in many world religions, but all world religions can’t be TRUE.
3) Discovering and living TRUTH matter more than anything else in life.
 
Let’s take a close look at Jesus.
 
1) Look at what Jesus TAUGHT.
 
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.”  Luke 6:27-29
 
2) Look at the MIRACLES Jesus performed.
 
“What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!  Mark 6:2
 
3) Look at the RESURRECTION.
 
“… God raised (Jesus) from the dead. We are witnesses of this.  Acts 3:15
 
4) Look at what Jesus CLAIMED.
 
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6
 
We only have three options to choose from when it comes to Jesus:
 
1) Jesus is a liar.
2) Jesus is a lunatic.
3) Jesus is Lord.
 
What about you?
 
“Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Matthew 16:15-16

Words that last

06/27/2011
 Bulletin/Handout notes
 
Original Message/Sermon: Chesnee Dorsey
 
From morning service at Stockbridge Community Church on 6/26/11.
 
(listen to sermon at SCCview.Net)
 
Tongue Pierced Series (final week)
 
>The quality of my words determines the quality of my life.
 
Words that have impacted my life:
 
“After Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught as one who had real authority- quite unlike the teachers of religious law”   Matthew 7:28-29
 
“The sky and the earth won’t last forever, but my words will”   Matthew 24:35
 
“And I tell you this, that you must give an account of judgement day of every idle word you speak. The words you say now reflect your fate then; either you will be justifi8ed by them or you will be condemned”  Matthew 12:36-37
 
MY WORDS CHANGE ETERNITY WHEN I USE THEM TO….
 
1. ENCOURAGE SOMEONE WHO IS STRUGGLING.
 
“I’m eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other”  Romans 1:12
 
2. CONFRONT SOMEONE WHO IS BEING UNJUST.
 
“Love is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out”   1 Corinthians 13:6
 
3. EXPRESS LOVE TO SOMEONE I CARE ABOUT.
 
“Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions”  1 John 3:18
 
4. INTRODUCE SOMEONE TO JESUS.
 
“There is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents”  Luke 15:10
 
When introducing people to Jesus, tell your own story. Your life before Jesus, your decision to follow Jesus, and your life with Jesus.
 
“But my life is worth nothing unle3ss I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love”  Acts 20:24
 
5. SAY YES TO JESUS.
 
“For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”   Romans 10:9

 

Salvation 06262011

06/26/2011

What does it mean to be saved?

I come that you may have life and that more abundantly. John 10:10

Q:What is humanity’s relation to God?

A:Paul writes in his letters to the Romans that “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23)  This doesn’t say that God has rejected everyone, or that God doesn’t like them. It does say that we, as human beings have fallen short of the glory of God. Genesis 1:26 says that we are created to be like God. Then in verse 28 we learn that we were given control over the Earth by God. In Psalm 8:5 we learn that we were made a little lower than God, an image of him. Fact is, we all have fallen short of this wonderful goal of emulating God’s character and of using our full capabilities.

God hasn’t separated himself from us, we have separated ourselves from God. (See Luke 15:11)

Q:Who is Jesus?

A:Let’s first ask what Jesus did? Jesus brought to us understanding of God’s character in Hebrews 1:3. He carried the burden of our sins and opened a door for us to be saved in 1 Peter 2:24. Jesus opened the way, directly to God in Hebrews 4:14-16. Jesus has shown us the glorious purpose God has for us and how we can attain it.

God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way. Hebrews 1:3

Now a brief outline of how you accept Jesus:

a) Pray and accept the message that God has sent you through Jesus.

b) Determine to turn from the things that keep you away from God’s full purpose for your life.

c) Find a group of Christians who believe in living the Word of God on a daily basis and join with them in worshipping him.

d) Look for ways to make your world line up with God’s plan.

and;

e) Read your Bible daily as you grow to learn God’s voice.

Now, Moving forward.

Q: What does it mean to surrender my life to Christ Jesus?

A: The idea of surrendering control of one’s life to someone else is very frightening to some. But what is it that God is actually asking of us? Think of someone standing by a high cliff. There is a choice to be free of the laws of nature and jump, or to accept them and take proper care. To choose life by surrender is not to give up anything good. One simply accepts the physical laws that exist and by which the universe runs. Accept them and live; reject them and die. It is the same thing with Christ‘s moral laws: accept and live or reject and die.

Today I am giving you a choice. You can choose life and success or death and disaster. Deut 30:15

Q: What does it mean to live a Christ-like life?

A: Jesus said that the most important commandment of the law was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind” the second most important commandment is “Love others as much as you love yourself”. The Bible also teaches that we must put this into action, not just words (1 John 4:20-21).

Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, not merely by talking about it. 1 John 3:18

Q: What about Heaven and Hell?

A: For many people the point of Christianity or any religion is to assure one’s place in another world. But there is much more to following Jesus than that. Jesus showed us a good way of life HERE and NOW! The Bible tells us about an eternal reward and eternal punishment, but what it tells us most about is following Jesus in this world, while preparing for the next.

By following Jesus in this life we are preparing to be in His presence for eternity. (See John 14:1-3)

Finally, if after reading, and you haven’t already. Below is a very simple prayer that will give you the peace you have been desperately seeking. It isn’t a guarantee of earthly happiness or even earthly health, but God has told us that is the most important transaction you could ever make. You are accepting a free ticket to salvation and eternal life. If you have made this decision today, I welcome you as a brother or sister and cannot wait to see God’s work through your life and testimony, and at some point your own personal ministry even!

Prayer for salvation:

“Father, in Jesus name, I thank you now for another opportunity that you have allowed me to come before your presence. I ask you now to forgive me of all of my sins. Forgive me for anything I’ve done or anything I have said that has brought shame to your Holy Name. I confess with my mouth and I believe in my heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead and He now lives in me. I know I am a sinner and do not deserve your grace and love. And I proudly accept this gracious gift of eternal life in your son Christ Jesus. Thank you Lord that I am now saved by grace, and I will serve you for the rest of my life. In Jesus matchless and precious name, Amen.”

Feels good doesn’t it? Welcome to the family. If you just prayed that then my heart has never been happier. Right now the angels in Heaven are throwing a party in your honor, the Bible says so.

Now, go and blessed. It will not always be simple, but in the end, there is no greater cause to serve, and no greater love than God has for us.

Chris

Salvation 06252011

06/25/2011

What does it mean to be saved?

I come that you may have life and that more abundantly. John 10:10

Q:What is humanity’s relation to God?

A:Paul writes in his letters to the Romans that “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23)  This doesn’t say that God has rejected everyone, or that God doesn’t like them. It does say that we, as human beings have fallen short of the glory of God. Genesis 1:26 says that we are created to be like God. Then in verse 28 we learn that we were given control over the Earth by God. In Psalm 8:5 we learn that we were made a little lower than God, an image of him. Fact is, we all have fallen short of this wonderful goal of emulating God’s character and of using our full capabilities.

God hasn’t separated himself from us, we have separated ourselves from God. (See Luke 15:11)

Q:Who is Jesus?

A:Let’s first ask what Jesus did? Jesus brought to us understanding of God’s character in Hebrews 1:3. He carried the burden of our sins and opened a door for us to be saved in 1 Peter 2:24. Jesus opened the way, directly to God in Hebrews 4:14-16. Jesus has shown us the glorious purpose God has for us and how we can attain it.

God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way. Hebrews 1:3

Now a brief outline of how you accept Jesus:

a) Pray and accept the message that God has sent you through Jesus.

b) Determine to turn from the things that keep you away from God’s full purpose for your life.

c) Find a group of Christians who believe in living the Word of God on a daily basis and join with them in worshipping him.

d) Look for ways to make your world line up with God’s plan.

and;

e) Read your Bible daily as you grow to learn God’s voice.

Now, Moving forward.

Q: What does it mean to surrender my life to Christ Jesus?

A: The idea of surrendering control of one’s life to someone else is very frightening to some. But what is it that God is actually asking of us? Think of someone standing by a high cliff. There is a choice to be free of the laws of nature and jump, or to accept them and take proper care. To choose life by surrender is not to give up anything good. One simply accepts the physical laws that exist and by which the universe runs. Accept them and live; reject them and die. It is the same thing with Christ‘s moral laws: accept and live or reject and die.

Today I am giving you a choice. You can choose life and success or death and disaster. Deut 30:15

Q: What does it mean to live a Christ-like life?

A: Jesus said that the most important commandment of the law was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind” the second most important commandment is “Love others as much as you love yourself”. The Bible also teaches that we must put this into action, not just words (1 John 4:20-21).

Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, not merely by talking about it. 1 John 3:18

Q: What about Heaven and Hell?

A: For many people the point of Christianity or any religion is to assure one’s place in another world. But there is much more to following Jesus than that. Jesus showed us a good way of life HERE and NOW! The Bible tells us about an eternal reward and eternal punishment, but what it tells us most about is following Jesus in this world, while preparing for the next.

By following Jesus in this life we are preparing to be in His presence for eternity. (See John 14:1-3)

Finally, if after reading, and you haven’t already. Below is a very simple prayer that will give you the peace you have been desperately seeking. It isn’t a guarantee of earthly happiness or even earthly health, but God has told us that is the most important transaction you could ever make. You are accepting a free ticket to salvation and eternal life. If you have made this decision today, I welcome you as a brother or sister and cannot wait to see God’s work through your life and testimony, and at some point your own personal ministry even!

Prayer for salvation:

“Father, in Jesus name, I thank you now for another opportunity that you have allowed me to come before your presence. I ask you now to forgive me of all of my sins. Forgive me for anything I’ve done or anything I have said that has brought shame to your Holy Name. I confess with my mouth and I believe in my heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead and He now lives in me. I know I am a sinner and do not deserve your grace and love. And I proudly accept this gracious gift of eternal life in your son Christ Jesus. Thank you Lord that I am now saved by grace, and I will serve you for the rest of my life. In Jesus matchless and precious name, Amen.”

Feels good doesn’t it? Welcome to the family. If you just prayed that then my heart has never been happier. Right now the angels in Heaven are throwing a party in your honor, the Bible says so.

Now, go and blessed. It will not always be simple, but in the end, there is no greater cause to serve, and no greater love than God has for us.

Chris

Great Things!

06/22/2011
Mother Teresa

Image via Wikipedia

One of my devotionals did something completely out of the ordinary and quote a Catholic. Keep in mind, the original Catholic church was not the one that we know of today. The real one, was the one that Peter founded in the name of Jesus, his friend, and savior. While I agree with many (not attacking anyone here) that the Catholic Church as a whole has fallen from what it was meant to be, I still believe that there is much to be learned from thousands of years of record keeping and preaching and feeding the hungry. With that being said, the following quote is from Mother Theresa:

“It is not enough for us to say: “I love God,” but I also have to love my neighbor. St. John says that you are a liar if you say you love God and you don’t love your neighbor. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbor whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live? And so it is very important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is not true love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.”

How right she is, it is so easy for us to love our families, friends, and neighbors when it benefits us. We can spout all day about how much we love God, but love is a VERB. Love is not a feeling you get, it is an action. A famous quote that I love is “Loving someone means doing something for them simply because it needs to be done”. In Theresa’s case, it was the children and people of India who were in poverty and riddled with disease. She was one of the most influential treasures in all of Christian history and I trust she is now seated at the foot of her Creator where she always wanted to be.

Reading this reminds me of my relationship with a family member. To love them, hurts. It is much easier to ignore them, their flaws, and their faults. It is much easier to not have anything to do with them because it is easier than dealing with the reality that is my relationship with them. I swore some time ago that I was completely DONE with them, and within a day, felt terrible about the things I had said both in my heart and with my mouth. Our “neighbors” aren’t always easy to love. But imagine how Jesus had to feel in the seconds that took place right before the first nail. “Why would I do this for them? They don’t deserve it!” No, those weren’t his words at all. With his dying words, he forgave, and asked his Father in Heaven to forgive the very people who were about to take his life. THAT….is LOVE.

Go show some love today, and God bless you

Chris

Keeping Score

06/21/2011
Elijah in the Desert

Image via Wikipedia

Elijah went alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a lone broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I’ve had enough, LORD, take my life, for I’m no better than my ancestors who’ve already died.”                       1 Kings 19:4

Okay, so we see Elijah wanting to die here. Yes, Elijah, one of God’s favorite servants. I say favorite because out of everyone who ever served God, Elijah never died, he was taken by chariots of fire from Heaven to be with God. Centuries later, James the brother of Jesus would write in his book about Elijah and his troubles saying “Elijah was a man just like us, and with the same passions as us”. If you skip from reading of Elijah, to reading James book, you’d say “That just isn’t true. Elijah’s life story is nothing like mine, he was a great man of God!” If you could transplant yourself back in history, and really see the man himself you’d probably say, “Actually, we are very much alike. Just like Elijah, I’ve been at the end of my rope and depressed too”.

You see, there is a reason, Elijah was about to be tested harder than ever before for and by his faith. But when he arrived at the place of his test, he got a letter from the wicked Queen Jezebel threatening his life. Once this happened, the men who had his back in the past, suddenly disappeared. The Queen’s threat really shook Elijah, on top of that threat, he was overly exhausted from all of his work and travel. For the first time ever, Elijah was afraid of another human being. His fear led him into the wilderness, and to this very broom tree where he finally collapsed. His fathers had been evil men and because he gave in to this fear, he felt just as evil as them. Have you been there? Of course you have, we all have been on a hot streak and been suddenly, and completely thrown off course without understanding it.

Author F. Boreham wrote about a time when he had a friend, a great man of God that found himself unable to preach anymore. He left his pulpit, his congregation, and most importantly, his calling. To try to cheer his friend up, he sent him a gift from his garden. You may be thinking that he sent him flowers, a fruit basket, or some really prized veggies. No, Frank sent his friend an onion, wrapped in expensive decor, in a really nice box. It took some time, but his friend eventually saw this onion as the greatest earthly gift he could have gotten. Why an onion? The question is Why not? Nobody praises the onion, even though the onion is one of the most valuable veggies. Nobody praises the onion when it adds to more meals a year than most veggies combined. When we think of an onion, we think “It’s just too strong”. Well, God made it that way on purpose. The onion, is really like the Christian. It doesn’t fit in well with other veggies most of the time, but it holds inside a strength that no other veggie does.

God did two things for Elijah here under this tree. He gave him rest, much-needed rest. And God also reminded Elijah of his onion. Elijah had something about him that made him constantly come into conflict with those around him. Elijah had a real relationship with God that was unwavering. Elijah viewed himself as a failure, he had been keeping score, and he admitted to God that he had been. God told him that it was not his place to keep score of the success of his ministry. It was God’s. God gave him an onion (the ball) and told him to run with it while He kept the score. Essentially, God put it this way: “It’s not your place to keep score. You don’t even know how to keep it! You added up your numbers and got zero, I added those same numbers and got 7,000. Yes, 7,000 that have not bowed to false God’s because of your ministry! You Elijah, have been a great helper and an inspiration because of your love for me! I, the Lord never fail and therefore those who walk with me never fail in my eyes either!”

If we live the way of the onion, the way of Elijah, the way of God. We won’t always be able to feel as if we are a success. We won’t always see the bright side. We, at some point, will end up collapsing under the broom tree out of fear. But that fear only lasts for a time, as we know that God has said that joy comes in the morning after the storm.

God Bless,

Chris

  • Elijah (thisido.blogspot.com)

Bible Prophecy 3

06/20/2011
David Ben-Gurion (First Prime Minister of Isra...

Image via Wikipedia

(From part two) When I speak in public about Bible Prophecy, people often scratch their heads. I’ve even heard people use comebacks like: “anyone can take things from the Bible and make it sound like it’s happened or is happening”. Well, in this Bible Study, we’re going to be going over some things that’ve just happened in the world, that were prophesied over. These last three of ten prophecies have ALL happened within, or began happening in the 1900s. Keep in mind, we have only been out of the 1900s for eleven years now!

8.)Zechariah 8:7-8 I’ll save my people from the countries of the east and the west. I’ll bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they’ll be my people, and I’ll be faithful and righteous to them as their God.

In this prophecy, God spoke through Zechariah about 500 years before Jesus’ birth. God said that he would bring his chosen ones back to the Holy Land of Israel, and since 1967 the numbers have been blossoming in a big way. Not because of birth-rate, but because of people (Jews) moving their families back there. This prophecy has actually been fulfilled more than once. 2,600 years ago, Babylon (Iraq) destroyed Jerusalem and took the Jews as captives. Many Jews later returned. The Jews rebuilt Jerusalem but the city was destroyed again 1,900 years ago by Rome. The Romans killed over a million Jews and forced many more into exile. The Jews didn’t have control of Jerusalem again until 1967 when the Jews recaptured the city during the Six Day War.

9.)Isaiah 51:3 The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

We’ve discussed this previously, but this is yet another time that God spoke, and things happened. With advanced high-tech irrigation methods, Israel has once again blossomed as an agricultural giant.

10.) Isaiah 43:5-6 “Do not be afraid, for I’m with you; I’ll bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I’ll say to the north, `Give them up!’ and to the south, `Don’t hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth…

We’ve already covered this with another prophecy that is similar. But to close out this three-part piece, I want you to leave with a clear understanding of exactly what this one means…

EAST: Many Jews living in the Middle East moved to Israel by the early 1900s.

WEST: Around the 1950s, hundreds of thousands of Jews living in Europe and the U.S. began moving to Israel.

NORTH: The former Soviet Union (Russia) is north of Israel. It refused to allow its Jewish residents to move to Israel. But, after years of pressure from other countries, Russia finally began to allow Jews to return to Israel during the 1980s. So far, hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews have moved to Israel.

SOUTH: Ethiopia, which is south of Israel, also refused to allow its Jews to return to Israel. But, in 1985, Israel struck a deal with Ethiopia’s communist government to allow the Jews of Ethiopia to move to Israel. On May 25, 1991, 14,500 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel.

Notice that Isaiah was right about some having to be forced or prodded to allow the Jews return. Also, in the last 100 years, Jews living as far east as China, as far west as the West Coast of the United States, as far north as Scandinavia, and as far south as South Africa, have moved to Israel.

God Bless,

Chris