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Sunday, October 19, 2014

What Do We Owe You, God?

 
 


I took notes as Pastor Jerry read from Matthew 22:15-22.

The Pharisees asked: “Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?”  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?  Show Me the tax money.”  So they brought Him a denarius.
And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”

And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Pastor began his message.  At a party or gathering there are certain topics we avoid; Religion, politics, and sex.  Today I want to talk about money.

We will see how faith touches our lives and even our finances.
Jesus comes down hard on the Scribes and Pharisees as they moved to trick Jesus.  These men were usually opposed to each other, but now they teamed up in an attempt to trap Jesus. 


They began with flattery saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth;” then they asked their question hoping to get Jesus in trouble with the Roman Government.

The Romans had a lot of taxes; the Temple tax, Land, tax and the Imperial Tax which was actually a tribute to Rome, for the privilege of being oppressed.

Pastor Jerry quoted Richard Brant. “We have a duty to support Caesar as long as Caesar is doing what he is supposed to do.  We do not owe Caesar our total loyalty when Caesar oppresses.

The denarius was the coin used to pay this Imperial Tax.  It had the value of a day’s wages, and to the Jews the coin was offensive. On one side there was a graven image of Caesar, and on the other side an inscription declaring that Caesar was divine. 

 “Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?” they asked Jesus.  The Roman soldiers were standing near by, and a crowd was gathering.  Jesus was in a hard place, but he saw through their divisive scheme, and asked for a coin, the denarius.

His answer, “Give to Caesar what is his, and unto God what is His.

The tables were turned on the accusers.

God is the creator and sustainer of us all.  God created us, and we are God’s coin.

What belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God?  These things are separate.

Taxes have nothing to do with religious commitment.  The Law is the Law and we have a duty to support our Government.

There may be another meaning that we should consider.  “No one can serve two masters.”

Jesus was not describing the coin, which was clearly against the second commandment.

Who in our story possessed such a coin?  Certainly not the poor disciples, but it was the rich religious leaders.

The coin was made by humans.  In Genesis we read that God created humans.

The Big questions is: Whose image is on us?

That which bears God’s image belongs to God.

We must use responsible wisdom with our finances, and certainly the church needs our support - - but - -

God is not after your money, but He wants YOU.

Come Onto Me
 
This post is shared at Charlotte’s Spiritual Sundays
 

The Lord is Your Shepherd





THE LORD IS YOUR SHEPHERD
By Roy Lessin  


He doesn't drive, He leads.
He doesn't starve, He feeds.

He doesn't abuse, He affirms.
He doesn't confuse, He confirms.

He doesn't quit, He remains.
He doesn't deplete, He sustains.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Tires



 
Tires do wear out, and our pickup truck had made it across country and back plus other traveling. 

My dad decided he would provide us with a gift of four new tires and paid to have them installed. 

After Robert inspected the tires already installed on the truck, he confided in me that although he appreciated my father’s kind gesture, he knew that the tires were the wrong size for the wheels.   
Gift Horse

He hoped that perhaps the tires would be okay so he drove his truck for several days and all was fine. 

Then one very hot Summer day, Robert needed to travel to another city close by.  After he had been gone for awhile, I received a telephone call from him. 

He told me he was at a tire place in that town and was replacing all four of the new tires with the correct size. 

Due to the heat of the day, the tires could not take the pressure placed on them, and all at once, NOT ONE but all four tires went flat. 

We never told my dad what had happened, because he had been so happy to be able to give us this nice gift.
 
There are times when the old saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” might just be true.

In life when it comes to God and his blessings,  His Gifts are always to be trusted. 

The Bible promises us in Matthew 7:22  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Rejoice in the Lord Always !


 
 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Be Wary Of Leviathan


 

"Be Wary Of Leviathan"

Guest post by Troy Goode, Providence, RI

The Leviathan Spirit has many characteristics, but it mainly manifests itself as pride. The very word "Leviathan" means "to twist."

Leviathan is deceptive because it preys upon very real hurts and wrongs that have happened to you.  

Your pain is not imagined; you were actually wronged, but Leviathan is seeking to make you fix your gaze solely on your problem; so you never pull back from how you were wronged and pray the heroic prayer: "Lord, heal ME!" 

This is a season of the great reconstruction. A time when God is building a new force of elite soldiers that will ascend their mountain of culture but also possess the character to stay on top and release God's love and healing in a manner that brings glory to Him.  

God is purposefully poking you where it hurts and forcing you to deal with internal issues you've masqueraded and hid behind for too long.
4 Keys To Confronting Leviathan

1) Come In The Opposite Spirit. At the root of your vulnerability to Leviathan is authentic hurt and anger. The Bible says we are to be angry but not sin.

Here it is critical that we acknowledge our anger but intentionally forgive and not give too much energy to thinking about how we were wronged.

2) Create A Healthy Environment. The old adage is true, "misery loves company," but during these critical times we can't be surrounded by people who will "co-sign" and enable our dysfunction.

We need friends that will hold us accountable and tell us the truth about ourselves even when it hurts. The Bible says the wounds of a friend are faithful. We don't need fans...we need friends.

3) Be Teachable. Leviathan is especially dangerous for leaders and leader-types, because they are so used to having the answers for everyone's problems that they struggle with seeking answers for themselves.

Leaders think they always have to be tough, that they have to appear strong, and those attributes work against them when they are the ones under God's magnifying glass and in need of help themselves.

4. Fixate on God’s Promises. God is always good, and Scripture teaches us everything works together for the good of those that love God and are called according to His purpose.  

We must focus on God's promises to come at the end of all this reconstruction. We can't get sidetracked by the pain or how badly we were wronged.

God is working on us to bring us to a better, more sustainable place. Ultimately He's taking us from glory to glory, and that must be our main focus.

 Excerpt's from the Post by Troy Goode, Senior Pastor
New Dimension Church Providence RI

Sunday, October 12, 2014

REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS ?

 

 
During the Sunday Service, I gleaned from Pastor Jerry’s sermon as he read from Philippians 4:1-9. 
 
Paul was writing from prison, yet even in his situation he was rejoicing in the Lord. 
 
In his letter he urged the Christians to be of like mindedness and not to argue; not to worry or be anxious, but to present their needs to God in faith believing that they would receive.  Paul also advised them to be cautious about their thought life.
 
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 
 
Pastor said there is an old Chinese proverb that says:
“May you live in interesting times.”
 
Today we worry about many things, terror, disease, our planet, our health and our family’s health.  It only takes a moment to understand crisis that others are going through here and world wide and it makes our problems seem small.
 
Pastor mentioned that he had just re-read the classic book “Grapes of Wrath” set during the great depression, and the incredible issues and treatment by fellow Americans.
 
Back to Paul’s letter 62 AD to the Philippians, as he told them to rejoice in the Lord Always and not to worry.
 
Jesus also admonished people not to worry or be in fear.
 
We might say, “That is easier said than done.”
 
The Christians all had problems of their own and Paul was in prison, a terrible dungeon, yet he was able to rejoice in God.  He rejoiced nine times in different ways.
 
Before Paul received Jesus he was successful, well educated, respected and looked up to.  He was willing to give all that up to follow Christ Jesus.  He counted the loss of all things as nothing compared to the peace and blessing given to him by the Lord.
 
Sometimes it is difficult to rejoice always.  Thankfully we have assurance in the Living Word of God.  We can invest our time in prayer and worship and practice thankfulness.
 
We can’t live in constant anxiety.  Do we want an inner calm?  We can learn to put our mental energy into productive thoughts as we remember the proclamation of Paul in verse 8. 
 
Maybe Paul is right and we can mature to discover peace even in tough times.
 
We have good intentions to pray, but our mind goes off in all directions as we think of things we need to do.
 
Paul encouraged the members to get along with each other, to do good works and to rejoice, not worry and bring their thoughts into subjection.
 
It is important to be concerned and not forget about the needs of the world and of others close by.  There are troubles in our church as we face the future. 
 
The main thing is - - if we excessively worry we fail to feed the poor and go about doing the things we need to do.
 
At times we need to read the newspaper or watch the news to at least keep up with what is going on in our world and in our town so we know how to pray. 
 
We do live in interesting times.
 
 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What is Fornication?


"If Everyone is DOING IT does that make it right?"
(Famous words  from my Mother !!)

The following question arrived in my e-mail:

"Hazel, can you help me to find the scriptures/passages in the Bible that talk about sex before marriage and people living together unmarried? Thank you."

Perhaps the question should have been: What does the Bible say about Fornication?

Before I can answer that question, we need to lay some ground-work. 

First God changes not and what he said about morality and his plan for sex within marriage from the beginning is still truth for today.  The language changes as the Bible does not use the exact words “Sex before marriage” or the words, “Living together outside of marriage.” 

What the Bible does speak about is sexual sin, immorality, fornication, adultery in all its forms and says to avoid at all costs.

Many say, but we are living in the 21st century and we now have laws that allow us to do things the Bible says is wrong. 

We can argue and try to make excuses to fit what we desire to do, but the bottom line is; to be immoral and to sexually fornicate is a sin.

Many have suffered bad experiences in the past with unfaithful marriage partners.  Paul gave a simple way out for new believers:  Acts 21:25 As for the Gentile/new believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.  Hebrews 13:4

Let us examine the definition of the big - - F word:  FORNICATION?

It is voluntary sexual intercourse between a man and woman who are not married to each other and is a common type of fornication.  Adultery is also a type of fornication.

Fornication thus includes not only premarital sex, living together without marriage and also adultery, homosexual acts, incest and prostitution.

Thou shall not commit adultery is one of the TEN commandments.

In every one of its forms, fornication is sternly condemned by the Mosaic law among God’s people.

Fornication is also mentioned many times in the New Testament
Acts 15:19-20  “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles (new believers) who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
“But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.” —  I Corinthians 7:9

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.  Hebrews 13:4

Romans 1:28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.

I Corinthians  6:13   You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

I Corinthians 6:18-19  Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of  the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

I Corinthians 7:2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.

2 Corinthians 12:21  I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.

Galations 5:19-21 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:3  But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Colossians 3:5 Therefore shun, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

I Thessalonians 4:3  It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;

Jude 1:7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

Revelations 2: 14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality

Revelations 9:21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

ADULTERY—“Conjugal infidelity. An adulterer was a man who had sexual intercourse with a woman he was not married to, either a married woman or one who was engaged to be married. A woman who did the same thing was an adulteress.

Adultery is FORNICATION. The Bible regards adultery as a great sin  and a great social wrong. 

“But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It is better to marry than to burn with lust.”  I Corinthians 7:9 

 Hebrews 13:4  Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. 

Question: "Why is living together before marriage considered LIVING IN SIN?"

There are numerous Scriptures that declare God’s prohibition of sexual immorality. 

See the above list of Scriptures already mentioned.  

The Greek word translated “sexual immorality” or “fornication” in these verses is porneia (from which we get the English word pornography), and it means literally “unlawful lust.”  

Since the only form of lawful sexuality is the marriage of one man and one woman.  

Genesis 2: 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 

Matthew 19: 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 

Then anything outside of marriage, whether it is adultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, or anything else, is unlawful, in other words, sin. Living together before marriage definitely falls into the category of fornication — sexual sin.

Lust is an inward sin which leads to a falling away from God.  (Rom 1:21) 

Did you know that we’re commanded to avoid sexual impurity in nearly every book of the New Testament and of the Old?

“And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other.  Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved.”  Romans 1:27

I Corinthians 7:2  But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 

Footnote:  many of the scriptures were researched from ChristianAnswers.net

Another great place to research is Christianity.about.com
If someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. -Galatians 6:1
I am so thankful that God is a God of Mercy and when we come to him in repentance, He is ready to forgive.  Each of us has sinned in some form or manner, so - - If you are pointing fingers about now, you might want to read this post: 
 



 








 

If you are pointing fingers about now, you might want to read this post: 





Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Theology 101



The director at our Bible school had graduated from the Dallas School of Theology. 

He was teaching us a course on Theology and asked us to cross out certain paragraphs in our book.

He told us that when he attended seminary, many times he would study the material in order to pass the “Test” needed to get his grade. 

Then he would pray and ask the Holy Spirit to wipe his memory clean from all the negative teaching that came very close to an atheist point of view.

He urged us to read the Bible and believe that it is God speaking to us personally.  To also believe that it is true at face value and does not need to be explained away as some will try to do.

Another friend of ours attended a similar Seminary of Theology, located in the SF Bay area in California.  He needed his degree so that he could apply to the military and become a Chaplin.  He chuckled as he told us that he was positive that most of his professors were not "Saved" or “Born Again” and possibly were atheists.

I have been in church and Sunday School for many years, along with daily reading my Bible.  I also know what it is to hear from God when He speaks with that still small voice.

Many years ago, on a Wednesday evening our Pastor had just returned from a “Leadership training.”  As the words flowed from his mouth, it was like fingernails scratching on a chalk board.  The one thing I remember was a statement that if in your heart you felt the Holy Spirit was directing you to do a certain thing, but the Pastor forbid you to do this; then you were to stop and obey the Pastor.  
 
Whoa there - we should listen to our Pastor but NOT if he is telling us to do something we know in our heart is wrong.  (I filed what he said that night, under "Things to forget.")

If you read certain books by well know authors, or attend a church where the leaders graduated from such a school of theology, they are always looking for hidden meanings.  You may discover that instead of Truth they teach some of the theory’s learned at their seminary. I wonder if they fail to read their Bible for simply what it says?

Jesus is a Prophet
 
John 4:29 The woman at the well said about Jesus: "Come, see a man who told me everything I've ever done! Could he possibly be the Messiah?" 

John 1:48-50 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” 50Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”

Think about this, We understand that Jesus was recognized as a Prophet, teacher, healer and Messiah.  Understand that a Prophet can know the past and the future. 
 
Is it so difficult to believe that Jesus was able to foresee events when He prophesied about His death and resurrection. 
 
Take that a step further – Could Jesus know before it happened, that a Man carrying a jar of water would lead the disciples to the upper room to celebrate the Passover? 
 
Yet Ray Stedman and others who graduated from Dallas Theological School and other seminaries tell us that Jesus manipulated this event and prepared the man with the jar of water to be there and told the man ahead of time to take His disciples to the room in question.   
 
In error they also say Jesus in advance placed the donkey and colt where He knew the disciples would find them. 
 

I believe Jesus saw into the future even if it was an hour away.  He did NOT maneuver and set up the stage.  He knew in advance what would happen !!
 
Matthew 17:27 Jesus said, "Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto the tax man for me and thee." 
Probably some would say Jesus put the money in the fishes mouth, threw it back and  somehow made sure Peter caught the right fish.  I would say Jesus KNEW before hand that this would be so.
 
Something that hit me hard was when one of our learned former pastors began to explain the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah and said it was the sin of not being “hospitable.”
 
Now think about it.  The Sodom city fathers requested that Lot send the angels out to them so the men could spend the night with the angels in a homosexual way. 
 
I suppose you could call that being in-hospitable. 
 
Then Lot was being just as wicked when he offered to give the depraved men his virgin daughters for the night as a trade off instead of the angels. 
 
There are many scriptures both old and new that tell us homosexuality is a sin. This is only one of the many scriptures; Jude 1:7  Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

It pays to bring your Bible with you to church and to also give attention to the Holy Spirit.  Realize that you are listening to a man and should weigh all he says against your Holy Bible and your spirit. 
 
Jude 1:4  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
 Please read the Bible for Yourself and Study comparing Scripture against Scriptures