Where Are The Mighty Ones?

What does it take to be ‘Mighty’?

I’m not talking about muscles, weights, etc.

I’m talking Eternally ‘mighty’.

Is there anything that would make God think of us as ‘mighty’?

In 2 Samuel 23, we read that King David had some ‘Mighty Men’ with him. These men were great warriors, loyal supporters of the King, who genuinely had it in their hearts to honor and please David because they cared for him, and vise-verse.

There were several of these ‘Mighty Men’ around him, but 3 of them stand out above the rest: Josheb-Basshebeth; Eleazar, and Shammah. These 3 rise above the others, esp. when  they hear David’s desire.

Pastor Mark Hall points it out well in his book, THRIVE, pp. 92-94.

David laments, “Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!”

The Mighty men give each other glances that need no words. “You ready?” They fight through the lines, go to the well, draw a cup of water, fight back through the lines, and go to David. ‘Here is your water, sir.”

Hall asks..

‘What if…there were Mighty Men and Women for God in our cities?” (THRIVE, pp. 92-93). 

THAT is a great question!

Do you think God might want to develop “Mighty Men and Women” for God in our midst?

Do you think God might want to develop YOU into one?

2 Chronicles 16:9: “The eyes of the Lord search back and forth throughout the whole earth, seeking to strongly support those who’s hearts are fully committed to Him.”

Are you ‘Fully Committed’? Do You want to be a ‘Mighty Man (or Woman) of God’?

Really?

If so, what do you think it would take for you to become ‘Mighty’ in God’s eyes?

We’ve talked about many of the basics: Spend consistent, quality time in the Word of God; Pray (without ceasing, as Paul writes); Worship the Lord with your whole heart…but those are ‘pat’ answers that everyone knows.

So, why don’t we see more ‘Mighty Men and Women of God’ in our city and in our churches?

I believe there are 2 main reasons:

1) Firstly, we have simply stopped focusing on Our Mission.

We’ve allowed other things to draw our attention. We may start out sincere and strong, but the cares of this life draw our eyes away quickly, and we lose focus.

If this is going to change, we MUST get our focus back on the Lord, and seek Him and His glory with every day! We must keep the vision in front of our eyes. Put it on our mirrors, our refrigerators, our dashboards, in our wallets, and on our computers. We must remind ourselves of the importance of being a Mighty Man or Woman of God.

2) Secondly, and most importantly, we have stopped seeking HIM!

Even those of us who sincerely want to be known as ‘Mighty Men/Women of God’ often times find ourselves seeking the reputation, rather than seeking Lord. We want the payoff without paying the price. The question we simply must ask is ‘IS our heart ‘fully committed’ to Him, or are we only looking for the headlines?’

 

These are crucial questions, at this critical time.

I believe with all my heart that storms are coming. I believe that pressure and persecution will be brought upon the Church unlike ever before–at least in our country–and, if we are not prepared to stand strong, we will crumble. If we are not prepared for the storm, we will be swept away with the wind.

I also believe that these difficulties and storms will be the perfect opportunity for the Church–the ‘Bride of Christ’ to be purified and to shine like a bright north star in a dark night sky. We will be able to point people to the true light–the Light of Jesus–no matter the cost, no matter the price, no matter the difficulty. He will walk with us, and we will be victorious–as the Children of God have always been!

Hebrews 12:1-2:Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

So, how about it? Are YOU ready to become a ‘Mighty Man or Woman of God’?

If so, then do these things:

  1. Seek God–with all your heart.
  2. Keep the Vision in front of your eyes.
  3. Read the Word of God, consistently, thoughtfully.
  4. Pray–talk to Him about these things, and listen for the response of the Spirit of God.
  5. Worship Him–in song, in writing, whatever.
  6. Be bold in stepping out and doing what He tells you!

May God bless you and keep you, Mighty One of God!

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A Pleasant Surprise

Who do you listen to?

Who’s direction and wisdom do you seek?

You may not be surprised to know that one of Voices I try to ‘hear’ is that of God. I ‘listen’ to Him as I read His Word, as I pray and seek to ‘tune in’ to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

There are, of course, many other ‘earthly’ voices that are easy to listen to and be guided by. The voices of our culture, of politicians, of movie stars and athletes, of ministers, advertisers, teachers, and family and friends.

Here’s the thing: ALL of those earthly voices, without exception, are flawed, imperfect. Every person on earth is self-centered, worldly-minded, and here-and-now motivated.

The ONLY Voice that is above all that is the voice of God.

I’ve been reading lately through the book of Psalms, and I came across Psalm 25

It’s a beautiful Psalm, of humble trust in God, expressing a desire for God’s mercy and forgiveness, as well as guidance. The Author (King David) writes,

“Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 25:4-5)

He continues, affirming God’s wisdom and sovereignty over all, and then he writes…

“Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
    He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
They will spend their days in prosperity,
    and their descendants will inherit the land.
The Lord confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them…” (Psalm 25:12-14)

The writer is reminding us that we need to ‘fear’ the Lord–this means to humble ourselves before Him, submit ourselves to Him, listen to Him and worship Him. As the One True God, He is the ONLY one who deserves it!

As I was reading this, though, verse 14 caught my eye: “The Lord confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them…”

That was a pleasant surprise!

He is saying that God wants to reveal His will to us. He wants to guide us and keep us. He wants to help us walk in faith and live the life that pleases Him–the life that we were designed to live!

Jesus said something similar when He said “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15) 

Who’s He talking to? His closest friends. His disciples–those in the room with Him, AND, I believe, US!

IF, that is, we are those who fit the full description:

You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” (John 15:14-16)

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a ‘friend’ of Jesus! I want God to ‘confide’ in me and make His will known to me!

It is crucial that we become His friends, who’s eyes are always on the Lord, attentive to His Voice, and willing to follow.

Especially as the world turns against those who faithfully follow Jesus, we need to KNOW.

Who do You listen to?

Take A Bow!

Bowing…when do we do it?

Usually, when we’re being applauded for a job well done.

Maybe at the end of a play or performance of some kind…an awards dinner, perhaps.

Most of us don’t get to ‘Take A Bow’ very often in life…at least, not in that sense.

However, ALL of us ‘bow’ every day. 

We bow in the sense that we give honor, allegiance, obedience and worship to…something! 

What that ‘thing’ is makes a difference–a serious, profound, and ETERNAL one!

If the ‘thing’ that we bow to is anything other than the Lord, our God, we are guilty of an old-fashioned Bible word: Idolatry. 

“Idolatry”: (Dictionary.com)

“an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.”
  1. an image of a deity other than God.
  2. the deity itself.
  3. any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion

Think of the things we may ‘bow’ to, other than God: Materialism, Appetites of the flesh, the Opinions of others, the almighty dollar…there are no shortage of things!

However, the Lord is the only One who rightfully deserves this. HE is the one that we should be ‘bowing’ to daily, in Worship, Obedience, Love, Honor…

 

I think it’s long past time for the Church–those of us who claim to love and worship Jesus Christ–to admit, identify, and throw away our idols, then repent and turn to the Lord! After all, as the Psalmist writes,

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.” (Psalm 24:3-4)

 

We don’t want to ‘bow’ in the wrong way to the wrong thing.

We want to worship Him, and to seek Him, more and more each day. 

The Psalmist continues…

“They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    who seek your face, God of Jacob.” (Psalm 24:5-6)

worship_cross

May WE be a generation which ‘Seeks His Face’ and worships HIM, above all!

Salvation Without Repentance?

Salvation…an important word in the Church, and in Faith–especially Christianity.
As we enter the season of Lent–the 40 days of preparation to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it’s important that we understand it.
So, what does it mean?
According to Dictionary.com,

Salvation:

noun
1. the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc.
2. the state of being saved or protected from harm, risk, etc.
3.a source, cause, or means of being saved or protected from harm, risk, etc.
4. Theology. deliverance from the power and penalty of sin; redemption.
Salvation is obviously a very important word and theological concept!
If I can find out how to be ‘protected from’ loss, destruction, and harm, that’s a good thing!
But do you notice anything missing from that list of ‘negatives’ that salvation protects us or saves us from?
I do: Wrath! Punishment! Discipline!
The point of the first 3 definitions is found in the 4th: Salvation saves us from the power and penalty of sin!
What is the penalty of sin?
The wrath of God! Eternal separation and torment in actual conscious state of peril.
Romans 1:18: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness…”
Romans 3:23: “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
Romans 6:23:For the wages of sin is death…”
Ephesians 2:1-3:As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
By nature, we are ‘objects of God’s wrath’. We have a sinful, rebellious nature.
If nothing changes that, we are stuck:
Stuck in our condemnation, stuck as an object of His righteous anger and wrath.
THAT is why ‘Salvation’ is so important!
THAT is why it’s so crucial that Jesus came!
THAT is why the Son of God is the ONLY one qualified to sacrifice Himself, to step in on our behalf and pay a debt He did not owe so that we could be forgiven, free, and adopted into the family of God!
If it weren’t for God’s grace, which compelled Him to send Jesus to pay for sin on our behalf, we’d still be stuck.
Desperate.
Without Hope.
But He did send Jesus, Jesus did come, and He did willingly step in to pay our debt on the cross.
Now He offers the benefit of our debt being paid to all who will reach out and receive Him…to all who will Repent of our sin, and willingly give our lives to Him.
Acts 3:18-19: “But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…”
Ephesians 2:4-9: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
And that is why we can have ‘salvation’. That is how we can be ‘saved’.
So, the bad news:
     By yourself, you are stuck in your sin, separated from God, destined for wrath, with no hope.
The Good news:
     Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, your sins have been atoned for, and God offers His grace to you for forgiveness, hope, adoption into His family, and freedom!
Pretty clear choice, isn’t it?
God does not want you to be condemned in your sin. He offers a way out…but you must choose!
Romans 10:9-13:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame…for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Salvation without repentance? Not possible.
Salvation with repentance and faith in Jesus? Absolutely Assured!