Thursday, July 13, 2017

Killing Jesus

In Mark 15, we read of where Jesus was taken prisoner because of what the people said, ‘His claim to be God.’  He was presented before Pilate and although, Pilate was warned by his wife through a dream, Pilate chose instead to have Jesus crucified.

What led Pilate to his decision was his concession, his compromising, his desire, to give in to the people.  Verse 15 says, “Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.”  Jesus was killed because Pilate gave in to the people.  And this is what happens when you give in to the people.

When we compromise, concede, make room for, give in to what the people want; what we do, what we have done is killed Jesus.  We’ve killed His spirit living inside of us.  We’ve killed His will for our lives in that given situation, in order to appease the desire of someone else’s.

Religion, churches, spiritual leaders all over the world are giving into the people. Some are not preaching the Word God spoke for fear that the people won’t get excited.   Some are not correcting congregants for fear they might leave the church.   Some are allowing people to be in ministry, when they themselves are in no position to minister to themselves, carrying unforgiveness, harboring bitterness and the like, and leaving a trail of my way or no way wherever they go.

There is no power in the church these days and we find ourselves wondering why.   People are not being saved, lives are not being transformed, they are not being conformed, miracles are not taking place, healing is sporadic, because Jesus is being killed.  The spirit of the living God is being hindered.  God’s way of doing things, whether people like it or not, has been given second place to the opinions, to the feelings and thoughts of man.   There is no real power in many churches because God’s will has been killed.  Why would He abide in a place He is not obeyed?  Why would He manifest Himself when the desires of the people are what matters first?

But it’s not just happening in the church.  It is happening our homes.  In our personal lives.  We find ourselves lost, discouraged at not receiving the promises of God, because somewhere along the way we have given in.  To people.  Instead of studying our Word, praying, or seeking God’s face, we have chosen to  seek the face (or something else) OF someone else.  Instead of attending Sunday services and corporate church empowerment gatherings, we have elected to spend it at some other social setting, in the name of “spending quality time together.”  Anything that takes you away from God is not quality.   It’s distraction. Especially if that is what you used to do.  You have conceded, you have compromised and you have quenched the spirit of the living God leading you and guiding you into Truth.  All Truth.  Even thsst we refuse to see.

Instead of spending our morning singing songs of praise, we have elected to sing the praises of someone we want the attention of, albeit perhaps of a boss.  Instead of spending spare time sitting in the presence of God, we have chosen to sit in the presence of a computer or phone screen.   Ouch!! We are the “people” too, we give in to.

Instead of doing what we know to do is right, continuing to stand on the principles we have learned and was taught, like forgiveness, honesty and truth, we are satisfying the fleshly need of someone else, giving in instead to their warped feelings of injustice.   Instead of giving like we used to, we’ve began to give in to the cries of a loved one or even worse, our bills.  Chasing the dollar instead of attracting it.  The spirit of the living God has even been killed when it comes to our finances.  God said He would show us how to prosper.  It is Him who shows us how to get wealth. But it's in the spending time with Him, that is where and how we will learn.

Jesus is being killed.  Again and again.  Look at the state of the world.  Look at the politics, especially in this nation.  Uh-oh.  Leaders gave in to what the people wanted. They wanted a king.  Someone to save them from their problems.  Did he?  Or were more presented?  How many lives have been destroyed? How many families have been torn apart?  And how much more will come forth?   What has happened to the integrity of the office?  The integrity of this great nation, we call the United States.  Surely it has  become the “Divided” States of America.  Because someone gave in to the people.

Going forward, we cannot allow people to dictate what must be done or what we will do, especially when it comes to serving the living God.  We cannot compromise, concede or give in to the will of people.  It must be God’s will be done.  It must be God above all else.  Jesus first.  Otherwise, we will become guilty of exactly what Pilate was guilty of…  wishing to satisfy the crowd.  And killing Jesus.

Because God is real, I remain,

A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E
Copyright 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Questions, Anyone?

In our walk with God, if we’re honest, we can admit that we have our moments (albeit long sometimes) where we have questions.  We were believing God for something, waiting for a promise, expecting justice, and even found ourselves at a loss at unexpected turns.  I certainly have experienced them all, especially the one of late, with the loss of my son, Joseph and asked God a bunch of questions.  Still do in fact.

We present our questions to God, why this, how long, what now, and seemingly we do not get an answer (and definitely not the one we want).  In fact, often times God leaves us with a question.  In particular I am reminded of the many He asked of Job, starting with “Where were you when I created when I created the earth?” (Job 38).

But things don’t pan out the way we think they should and we ask our questions.  We act foolishly, we pout (naturally and spiritually), and throw our spiritual tantrums. Then we host a pity party, inviting God and anyone else who will listen to us complain.

And God in His sovereignty comforts us and allows to groan and moan for a time, but then He shows us the error of our ways.  And when we still don’t quite seem to get it, He simply leaves us with a question, just as He did with Job, and even more so as He did with Jonah.

In case you are not familiar with the story of Jonah, Jonah was a prophet of God who was told to go to the people of Ninevah and declare the Word of the Lord, that if they repent, they will be saved.  But Jonah did not think that the people were worthy of being saved.  Let me stop here.  Some of us have the same attitude.  God has delivered us and saved us from some things, bad habits that we had, bad attitudes that we had, the wrong way of thinking and doing things, SINFUL acts and we were considered to be unworthy, too.   And here is a news flash, we still are, IN and OF ourselves.  For it is by grace we are saved, not of works, lest any man shall boast.  That means in spite of us and who we thought we were, God yet saw fit to count us as worthy.  Worth saving.  Hallelujah!  But, like Jonah, we have this way of hanging condemnation over other people’s heads, becoming JUDGE and JURY to what they have done or are doing and making them feel as though they are not worthy to be saved.  Wrong!  God saved you.  He saved me, (the wretched one that I was), surely He can save someone else.

Okay, moving right along... This is where Jonah was.  He believed that the people were unworthy of God’s deliverance.  So instead of doing what God told him to do, Jonah figured he’d run.  And so he ran, right into a storm, which landed him smack dab in the belly of a fish.

But let me stop there for a minute also, because Jonah ran away from what God told him to do.  The Bible says when Jonah was instructed to go to Ninevah, he paid his fare on a boat that was on its way to Tarshish, the opposite direction.   And twice the Bible says, ‘to flee the presence of the Lord.’  Jonah must have thought that Tarshish was a place where God does not dwell.  In doing research about this, it was believed by some scholars that the spirit of prophecy was evident in the city of Nineveh because God had a work to do there, so when Jonah decided to flee, he thought he would be fleeing from the spirit of God breathing upon him to go and preach the Word.  But if God tells us to do something, it doesn’t matter where it is, God will be there.

We can’t run from God’s spirit.  The psalmist David said, “Where can I flee from your spirit? Even if I make my bed in Sheoul you are there.  You are everywhere.”  Side note.  Sheoul is a dark place.  It is considered to be hell.  That place where evil resides, where evil is practiced.  On earth, that place where you do your dirt.  God sees it.  He sees you.  From the minute details of lying, bitterness and anger to the acts of lust, fornication, unforgiveness and murder (whose spirit did you kill with those judgmental words or gossip?) There is no hiding from God.  He will ALWAYS find you. Don’t forget HE SEEKS and saves those who are lost (or even in this case, hiding).

Anyway, back to our issue at hand.  Being the forgiving God He is, God delivered Jonah and gave him a second chance to go and make it right.  “Declare My Word to the people,” God said, “that they may be delivered.”  This time Jonah obeyed and delivered the Word, a Word of warning to the people that their city shall be overtaken.  And after hearing the Word, the Bible says, “the people fasted and repented.”  We have tob stop here, too… what do we do when we receive a cautionary word from the man of God (or woman God sends), do we turn around or do we turn against?  Around (change our ways) or against (them), talking about them every chance we get.  Do we just get it right or leave the church?  I'll just leave that one right there.  That's between you and God.  But God already knows...

Anyway, when God saw that the people turned away from their sins, He delivered them and after He had done so, Jonah had an attitude.  With God. The Bible says in Jonah 4:1-3, “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”

Then God shows him an object lesson.  God is always about teaching us and causing us to see things from His perspective, molding us to be more like Jesus.  As Jonah sat pouting, and angry at God for saving the people, God allows a tree to grow to keep Jonah from the heat.  In the midst of our spiritual tantrums, God is YET merciful, as He is with Jonah.  And then God allows a worm to eat away the tree.  And Jonah is once again upset and expresses it.  So God simply asked him a question and left Jonah alone, “Should I not have pity on them, as I have had on you.”  Hear the Word of the Lord:  “Until you can answer God’s question, He will not answer yours.”  For there the book of Jonah ends.

Many of us, myself included, have asked God many questions.  We have our whys, hows, whats, ifs, ands, buts.  Excuses on top of reasons and reasons on top of excuses why we can’t, or why we won’t do something.  And God being the merciful God He is, does for us, anyway.  Provides shelter from the storm, makes a way of escape, delivers us, provides for us.  And too often that is just not good enough for us.  Oh, it serves us for a time.  But we have short memories.  Things don’t go our way and we forget. There really is Truth in the Scripture, “forget not all thy benefits.”  For if we remembered them we wouldn't ask our questions. But we do, so I will say it again, until you are ready to answer God’s question, He will not answer yours.

Have a question, ask it, but be prepared to answer, FIRST.

But God is real.

A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E

Copyright 2017