Friday, June 12, 2009


"And the L-RD said unto Samuel.........they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them." I Samuel 8:7

Rejection is something that cuts to the heart. I think all of us have experienced rejection at some point in our lives. It is human nature to want to be loved, accepted, have our opinions considered and valued. Rejection hurts.

Our L-rd understands rejection.

Consider these Scriptures:

I Samuel 10:19a---"And ye have this day rejected your G-d, Who Himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations...."

II Kings 17:15a---"And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He testified against them; and they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the L-RD had charged them, that they should not do like them."

Isaiah 53:3---"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not."

Jeremiah 8:9---"The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the Word of the L-RD; and what wisdom is in them?"

Luke 17:25---"But first He must suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation."

Mark 12:10---"....The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner...."

Those of us who are trying to do right and live for the L-rd are going to suffer rejection! If people reject the L-rd, they will reject us as well. We are in good company if we are rejected for doing right, and for speaking the truth of the Scriptures.

The thing to remember, though, is what G-d reminded Samuel----that the people were not rejecting him, but they were rejecting the L-rd G-d, Jehovah!!

And so it is today as well.

All of us who are saved are called of G-d to something. We may not all be in "the ministry" in an official capacity, but we are all called to be witnesses of the Truth. We are all called to be separate from the world and to live for the L-rd in whatever capacity He deems to use us.

The problem is, that so many, many of us who call ourselves Christians have not grasped that; or we do not want to acknowledge it.

Instead of fearing G-d, and living accordingly, we fear the world and its rejection of us!

Hey--it's OK to be rejected by the world! It's far better to have favor with G-d!

But, sady, I think more often than not, we are like those in Samuel's day who:

...followed vanity and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the L-RD had charged them, that they should not do like them."

That the Word of the L-rd is constantly being rejected by Christians is evidenced in the lives of us who claim to be believers!

Whether we realize it or not, most of us are Christians of convenience. Our priorities are self-centered, not G-d-centered. We are in the Word so little, that the enemy has blinded our eyes to our malnourished condition.

Look again at the above Scripture---the Israelites went after the heathen that lived around them even though G-d's command to them was to not do like them. They hated G-d's prophets and persecuted them terribly. But it really was G-d Whom they hated and rejected!

Just for the sake of consideration, let's observe what the heathen do today. You fill in the blanks here.

Now, think about the average Christian life today.

Are we doing any different than the heathen around us? Most of us today have a very cavalier attitude toward many things that the L-rd holds sacred:

* Meeting together on the first day of the week---this wasn't a duty or obligation of drudgery---this was the highlight of the week for the early believers! Hebrews even commands us to meet together even more often in the last days!

* Considering our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit----yet we abuse it with various substances and adorn it with pagan symbols and worldy attire that screams out anything but "Holy unto the L-rd"!

* Speaking things that bring reproach upon the Name of Christ, whether foul language, inappropriate joking, hateful things from our hearts, deriding those who try to do right.

* Aligning with causes and others who hate G-d and His laws in the name of tolerance.

* Participating in activities which draw our hearts away from G-d, and set us up to stumble.

We attack those who step on our toes spiritually. Pastors who preach against sin get maligned as too old-fashioned. Bible teachers who warn against worldy alignments are labeled as judgmental and unloving.

People flock to churches that provide entertainment and feel-good messages, while Bible-preaching churches find that Christians---even their own members---cannot endure G-d's Word because it is esteemed so little.

Those who would not think of missing work or being late Monday through Friday find it difficult to arrive for a 10:00 am Sunday School class.

Please, let's be honest with ourselves and with the L-rd, and repent----for the time is truly at hand, dear Friend.

Paul said, "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Paul knew well how the Israelites treated G-d's prophets. He knew that the same held true for him. He reminded those Christians in the book of Galatians that they were not angry with him, but with the Truth of G-d's Word!

The Bible warns us of the consequences of this kind of rejection! Something we seldom consider. If we did, perhaps we would conduct our lives much differently.

I Samuel 15:23---"Because thou hast rejected the Word of the L-RD, He hath also rejected thee from being king."

II Kings 17:20---"And the L-RD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of the spoilers, until He had cast them out of His sight."

Jeremiah 6:19---"Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it."

To whom much is given, much is required!

Those of us who have been so blessed, should remember from Whom those blessings flow!

Our blessings are to be used for the L-rd, not squandered on our own lusts.

Those of us who have been given and entrusted with much need to remember that we also have much to lose, as did Israel!

Hosea 4:6---"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...."

This lack of knowledge was without excuse. The Israelites had the Scriptures and the Prophets of G-d. It wasn't that they were deprived; it was a lack of their own choosing. They heard the Words of G-d, but didn't listen.

Isn't this like so many of our churches? The Word of G-d is taught and preached---but where are G-d's people? Whether they are elsewhere physically or mentally, they are rejecting G-d's Word. But we, too, are without excuse!

The Israelites, G-d's chosen people, rejected the Word and refused to heed and obey it. Let's look at the rest of Hosea 4:6:

"....because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee....seeing thou hast forgotten the law of they G-d, I will also forget thy children."

Oh the consequences of rejecting G-d's Word in our lives!! Not only did the L-rd reject His own people.....but He also forgot their children!!!

How many of us have prayed for our children's salvation, and then prayed for G-d's favor upon them as they grow up? As parents we all want our children to be happy, do right, have G-d's blessings. But, this doesn't happen because our children are so wonderful, and cute, and bright, and talented, and precious to us!

G-d's blessings upon us and our children are a direct result of how we respond to His Word.

Do we treasure it? Not as some sentimental good-luck charm, but as the true, Holy, powerful Word of G-d?

Do we read it? Do we heed and obey it's precepts and teachings? Do we make it our very life?

We would do well to consider what the L-rd says in Revelation 3:15, 16:

"I know thy works, that thou are neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."

We are today, in this Laodicean age, lukewarm Christians. We want to ride the fence. We want the blessings of faithfulness without being faithful. We excuse ourselves and rationalize our behavior. A dangerous thing.

We reject the teaching and the preaching of the Word, perhaps without realizing that we are doing so. But the end result is the same.

Why do we do this? Because we despise G-d's Word and do not esteem the L-rd as we should. Our flesh wants to be pampered and to have the favor of the world. How unlike Moses we are! Hebrews 11 reminds us this of Moses:

"Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of G-d, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.

By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible."

When the time comes that we must either stand up for our faith and take rejection and even persecution, or do what is convenient, rationalizing our motives, just what do you think we lukewarm Christians of today will do?

We must examine our hearts! Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not eat of the king's meat. When the time of temptation came, Daniel withstood the temptation. He had already purposed in his heart----he didn't wait to make up his mind when temptation was thrust upon him.

G-d knows the truth of our hearts. After all, He is the One Whom we will stand before and give an account. We may fool others and even ourselves, but we cannot fool G-d!

If we are Christians who are on the fence, neither cold nor hot, going through the motions, not really in the battle contending for the faith alongside our other brethren, we are, in fact, rejecting G-d's Words. When the time of testing comes, we will be no different than the Israelites, offering up their prophets to the enemy, and trying to blend in with the heathen.

We need to remember Who we are rejecting.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Are you sleepy?

I Thessalonians 5:6---"Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."

Most would agree that we live in uncertain times. Not only is our economy in flux, but so are our laws by which we are governed! Not only in our own country, but in nations around the globe.

As someone once said, "The times, they are a changin'."

Normally, most folks resist change when it's thrust upon them. But it seems that many folks these days are hardly aware enough to resist the changes we are facing on the world scene! They just seem to go along with things as if everything is going to remain the same, and the status quo will be maintained.

Unfortunately, the church, the body of Christ, is caught up with the rest of the world in this strange malaise. Our eyelids are growing heavier and heavier; we struggle to stay awake to watch and pray, to stand and obey.

Remember when our L-rd Jesus Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane? He told his disciples to, ".....tarry ye here, and watch with me". What did they do? Not being able to stay awake, they slept!

The L-rd had been warning them recently about his death. He had tried to prepare them. But it just didn't sink in. Even though the L-rd had been their constant Companion for three years, they seemed clueless regarding His ultimate mission. They didn't sense the importance and significance of His request to watch with Him. So they slept.

It's interesting that we are commanded again and again, throughout the Scriptures, to watch!
Now, I ask you, How can one watch if one is asleep? Do you think a sleepy watchman is a good watchman? What happens when a guard falls asleep while on watch duty?

The consequences of sleeping on duty are serious, and the punishment also. The enemy is allowed to creep in and attack, wreaking havoc, gaining ground. A guard who falls asleep on duty is derelict in his responsibility which is a betrayal of his fellow-soldiers! His self-indulgent behavior risks the well-being and very life of his compatriots.

Are we not told that we're to be good soldiers of Christ? Yet, we sleep on.

I Corinthians 16:13---"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."

Colossians 4:2---"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving."

II Timothy 4:5---"But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions...."

Not only are we to watch, for our own sakes----but we are to watch for the welfare of others, also.

Friends, we have a responsibility to be watchful for one another. Yet, what troubles me is that oftentimes there is such little concern for others within the body. Many of our congregations name our prayer requests in church each week. But how many of us really carry those requests with us throughout the weeks and months, faithfully bearing each others' burdens? We may take up space in a pew, sing a few hymns, listen to a sermon, but are we really part of the fellowship? Do we care for one another as the Bible instructs us?

Love is an action verb! The disciples said they loved the L-rd. He asked them to watch with Him....but they slept.

We say we love the L-rd. But are we any different in our behavior? It's one thing to say we love the L-rd, another to live it. We say we love one another, but do we demonstrate that love? Are we more concerned for others than ourselves?

We are also to watch for His appearing!

Are we asleep when it comes to that, too? I fear that many of us who call ourselves Christians think little about the L-rd coming in the clouds for us. Why, if more of us had that on our minds and hearts, wouldn't we see more faithfulness in church? Wouldn't we see more unselfishness among the brethren? Wouldn't we be living as if the L-rd were coming back any minute?

Instead, we are so caught up in this world system. Our jobs and pleasures and various other time-consuming (or wasting) activities consume our thoughts and energies. Meanwhile, we barely make time in our week to worship and think upon G-d and His Word. We are more busy earning a living, spending money, entertaining ourselves, being sidetracked by the enemy, that we, in all honesty, do not give the L-rd the priority He should have in our hearts and lives.

Not only do we suffer the spiritual consequences of that, but so do our families and churches.

No.....we indulge ourselves in sleep. Even though the L-rd has been trying to warn and prepare us.........we sleep on our watch.

Revelation 3:3---"Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know the hour I will come upon thee."

I Peter 4:7---"But the end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

On One Condition.......

How many of us parents have used that phrase with our kids? When they want to know if they can do something or have some treat, we reply, "On one condition.......that you clean your room first." Or...."On one condition......that you eat your veggies first." fill in the blank! :-)

Oh yes, any of us who are parents or teachers of children are well-familiar with that phrase.

Did you know that G-d uses conditions in dealing with us?

How often have we quoted the Scripture, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."? We quote that, claim that, and practice that, but most of us ignore, forget, or don't realize that we are omitting a major component of that instruction!

Yes, Friends.......I'm here to tell ya-----"Resist the devil and he will flee from you.....on one condition......

Let's look at James 4:7 in its entirety to discover that missing piece: "Submit yourselves therefore to G-d. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

What does it take to really submit to G-d?

Well, the verse prior to James 4:7 says this: "But He giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, G-d resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." order to submit to the L-rd, we have to humble ourselves. When we humble ourselves---put down our flesh, our pride, our self-will, stop demanding to have our own way---and really submit to G-d, then He will give us the grace to do right, to resist the devil.....and then the devil will flee from us.

Do you think the devil is going to flee just because we say so? No. He will flee when he realizes that we mean business with the L-rd: that we have died to self; that we stop being rebels; that our hearts are submitted to the will of the L-rd; that we get rid of the pride and stubbornness in our hearts. When we do that, the L-rd is good to give us the grace to be able to resist the devil.

Not in our own strength or in our own flesh, but in G-d's power. The devil knows the difference! He will flee when we stand in the power of G-d's might, as it says in Ephesians 6:10!!

You see, the armor listed in Ephesians 6:11-17 is G-d's armor----not our own!

Verse 11: "Put on the whole armor of G-d....." Verse 13: "Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of G-d...." Both verses tell us that putting on G-d's armor---His whole armor--- enables us to stand. We cannot stand---we cannot resist the devil---without G-d's whole armor on!

There is nothing having to do with our flesh: our talents, good looks, polished manners, clever thinking, IQ, etc. that will enable us to win that spiritual battle!

But did you know.....before we can put on G-d's armor, we have to take some things off!?

Romans 13:12 instructs us, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light."

Ephesians 4:22, 23 commands, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after G-d is created in righteousness and true holiness."

Colossians 3:8-10 also commands us to ".....put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him;"

Colossians 3:12-15 continues in this same vein: "Put on therefore, as the elect of G-d, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forebearing one another, and forgiving one another.......And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness."

Submitting to G-d is the act of putting off the old man----the flesh, with the sins of the flesh---and putting on the new man.

Doing that is an act of our will.

It's a choice.

It requires, first, a decision of our heart, then the action of our will.

When we do that, the L-rd sees that we mean business.......and the enemy does too!

Once we have put off the filthy rags of our old man, then we can put on G-d's armor, and stand, having done all to stand, in resisting the devil. And he will flee from us!

Our walk has to match our talk. We can know all the right things to say; we can even mean well. We can fool ourselves, and maybe even fool others; but we can't fool the L-rd and we can't fool the enemy.

We need to remember that!

In the end, it's humbling ourselves before G-d, truly submitting to Him in putting off our old man and our wicked, willful flesh so that we can put on G-d's whole armor that will help us win the victory.

Yes---on that one condition----we can resist the devil and he will flee from us!