Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Good Soldier Of The Cross

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. (2 Timothy 2: 3-4)
During World War 2 there was a general in the British army by the name of Sir Bernard Montgomery, who was a born again Christian, and he was asked this question: "How do you interpret the Great Commission." His answer was this: "You do not interpret the Great commission, You just go do it!" That statement is so true and yet in this day and time there must be, in our churches, a vote for everything that we do. The church is not a democracy where the majority vote wins, The church is militant organization and its leader is Jesus Christ. He has given the church its marching orders and there is no room for discussion. Men listen to what they cannot control, but there is nothing that will stop a church that walks with the Lord. The footsteps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. We have marching orders and it is not open for a discussion or a vote. We are to go into all the world and preach the gospel. What do people not understand about that? We are on the battlefield for The Lord. We are soldiers for Christ. We are to put on the whole armour of God, not just part of it.
What the church needs today is some militant preachers. Preachers that are not afraid to be aggressive and confront sin. Just as a good soldier must live up to a certain standard so must our preachers and their sheep live up to the rules and commandments that are found in the Bible. A good soldier must be equipped for the battle and so does the preacher and his congregation. We must remember we are on the battle field for the Lord. A soldier has one thing on his mind and that is to do his duty. The Christian should have the same motive. We are soldiers for the Lord. The military comparison was one of Paul's favorite ways to give comparison to the Christian. There are demands that are placed on the soldier. His body must be strengthened so his strength will be equal to the demands made upon it. The Christian should be like the soldier. The idea here is not some type of Spartan way of life, but rather that we should be disciplined in our service for the Lord, just like the soldier does for his country. As Christians there are things we do not do. Just as a soldier of this country is not his own, a Christian is not his own. If a soldier ever found his self like some preachers, in our churches today, he would be court-martialed. The Christian Church, just like the army, is as strong as its weakest link.
This country does not need bigger bombs, more airplanes, tanks, rockets, or war ships. What we need is more militant preachers who will give marching orders to the church and the church obeys. Paul said: "Be yea followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.!" As long as the preacher follows Christ, then if we want to be in that church, follow him. We need militant preachers who will not compromise the gospel in any way. We have rock singers and country singers that sing in our church on Sunday and then sing in Hollywood, Nashville, and every other hell hole in this country throughout the week. How can you proclaim the gospel of Jesus christ and let this happen? Then we wonder why homosexuals openly parade down our streets, openly stand in our pulpits, why there are so many murders, why there was over 1 ½ million unborn babies killed last year, and why the divorce rate in this country is close to 60%., The nation that forgets God will be turned into hell, this is why our schools are hell, why our streets are hell, why some of our homes are hell. We have turned our back on God. We have compromised His Word and His laws. Some of the church world will tell you that the world is just misunderstood, but the truth is the world is our enemy and we cannot love the things of this world and God. We have to Choose this day who we will serve.
When the United States went to war, they went all out to win and win they did. A complete victory. But since the time of the Korean War and all wars after that the United States has compromised with their enemy and this has caused this country to lose strength and position in the world. The same is with the church. The church at the turn of the century was a militant church, but now it is compromising with the world. The world is in the church and the church is in the world. The is nothing that can stop a church that will not compromise the Word of God and is on fire for the Lord. We are soldiers for Christ and we must not forget that. There is a real enemy out there. We need preachers that are not afraid to stand up and proclaim the gospel. When a church stands up to the world, the world will listen. There is nothing that can stop a church that walks with God. There is no excuse what so ever for the millions of church members that leave all the work of taking The Great Commission to just a few who will obey.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sticking To The Plan

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)

We often develop strategies, and plans for our life, and then, some obstruction or hindrance will get in our way at some critical point. It always does sooner or later. What do we do, give in, or do we say – "Just stick to the plan!" Life is always sending us unexpected surprises, out of the blue, that can be bewildering but praise God, nothing takes Our Lord by surprise. He's the master planner. Our family might turn against us, our friends let us down, illness, afflictions, problems and "situations" on every side...God still has a plan, for you, and for me. We must just stick to the plan.

Joseph is a good example of life's surprises. It took Joseph 13 years of staying power, fortitude, patience and character-building for him to accomplish this part of God's plan. Joseph was as a slave into Egypt by his own brothers, betrayed by his own family and imprisoned for lies that were told on him, he must have questioned a lot where God was and what He was doing. Why was this happening to him. But finally, as a prepared vessel, ( Straight from the Master Potter) Joseph was put in the highest position in the land, second only to Pharaoh, and was commissioned to put into place God's plan for saving the people from the great food shortage and want coming to the world. So the Lord had bombshell of His own. Revealing himself to his brothers, Joseph summed it up brilliantly when he said: "
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, (Genesis 50:20) Joseph walked by faith, not by sight.

In order for us to bring the same thing about in this day,( to save many people alive.) When our situations and circumstances are hard to handle and downright impossible to explain, when things are easier said than done we need to remind ourselves, a bell should go off in our head that God said, “I know the plans I have for you.” Through these situations and circumstances we discover how faithful and sovereign our God truly is. He knows what we can handle and He will never give us more. When the test is completed, we come out with character, stronger in faith, more in love, more useful to Him, and ready for our next test.
The fact that we have problems is a sign that we also have a promise. It’s only a matter of time before God reveals His good intentions – so until then,
let’s stick to the plan! God’s plan.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Enter into The Rest

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11: 28-30)

One of the Ingredients of living in a world stained by sin, filled with sinful people, and exploited by Satan is that we will quite often come across stressful situations and circumstances. In fact, life can be so stressful that it can begin to harmfully influence and pressure us emotionally and spiritually, sometimes even severely. We can get stressed when we have too much to do and even when we don’t have anything to do. Stress comes not when we most expect it, but when we least expect it, and when we don’t even know where it is coming from. Such is the reality of being human. One day, soon, all the pain and sorrow and frustration will be gone, but in the meantime, stress will take its toll on us, and there is nothing we can do to avoid it entirely. Surely, we can avoid sinning and doing foolish things which can only increase our stress burden. But there are things outside of our control, things that we just can’t resolve. For example, we can’t force a person to receive Christ. We can’t make God heal a disability. We can’t force our leaders to seek God, use wisdom and honor in their decision-making. We can’t force employers to create work out of thin air when there is none. We are human, weak, not all-powerful, and not God. Therefore we will always have stress to deal with. However, for those of us who know Jesus Christ, we will always have a safe haven, a place of perfect rest, under the shadow of The Almighty.

The exact reverse of stress is rest. The rest, that we read about in the Bible, is a deep inner peace, contentment, and joy that goes beyond all circumstances and allows us to be re-energized on the inside. This rest is not a magical illusory state that temporarily lowers our blood pressure and allows us to escape the problems of this world. Rather, it is safety in the storm. It is having Jesus there when the waves crash and the wind howls. Rest is admitting that we are nothing but sheep who need a Shepherd (Psalms 23:1) for only in Christ from beginning to end can we have no need. Acknowledging our deficiency and trusting in His sufficiency is crucial and most important to being at rest. Rest will always escape any person who lives with a double-minded attitude. Rest will escape any who hides sin and evil intent in their hearts. Rest will never come to those who seek it in some place or person other than Jesus Christ. All other interest - money, early retirement, perfect health, a minute of media fame- is sinking sand. Only Jesus can provide what we are looking for, for only He is fully in charge of our lives. The only true safe haven is found in being in step with our Savior, following our closest Friend wherever He may lead.
Jesus never promised that He would make our lives stress free, for He said we will have trouble in this life. However, even as we go through the tribulations of this earthly life, He leads us into green pastures and beside quiet waters His pastures are green, lush, life-giving, and life-sustaining because He is our energy, our food, our sustenance, and our life. He leads us to still waters, waters that refresh and replenish, that cool and cleanse. He restores our souls. A accurate understanding of the restoration of the soul is vital to enduring stressful times. The restoration of the soul is not found by becoming better at getting what we want, becoming more talented in influencing people, or advancing in some selfish cause or agenda. The restoration of the soul is not a mystical encounter at a New Age class. God restores our souls by sanctifying all of its parts. He calms our minds by helping us to take sinful thoughts captive and to think upon what is good, right, and pure according to His Word. He refines the desires of our hearts by reminding us that, unless we seek His kingdom first, we will be all out of balance. He shapes and bends our wills so that we stop fighting and resisting the work of the Spirit in our hearts and finally humbly surrender and obey. So if we want rest, we must think right, want the proper things, and obey. We must also be taking in the Scriptures. When it says, “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul.” If we want our souls restored, we must be in the Word and allowing the Spirit to conform us to its truth. Rest is a Biblical principle and a privilege. Rest gives us renewed perspective, fresh direction, and a fired up passion and energy. But a vacation, holiday, or celebration will not restore the soul unless we turn to the presence of God by surrendering to Him in complete obedience and humility. We must delight upon His Word. Let us enter His rest so He can restore our souls and give us strength for the stress tests yet to come in this life