“Don’t Mess With My Sacred Cows!”

Although I wrote this particular BLOG 4 years ago, I thought it worth reblogging it…just because of this time of year’s celebrations.

The WORD Detective

Is Expediency Permissible?

“Nothing is more curious than the self-satisfied dogmatism with which mankind at each period of its history cherishes the delusion of the finality of its existing modes of knowledge” ~ The Philosophy of John Dewy.

As I get older in life, I have found myself getting more dogmatic about what I am seeing in a lot of churches.  Although I am now in a church environment that feels…more comfortable.  I have lived in this part of Washington State now for 10 years and have been associated with five different backgrounds of doctrine; I am definitely not complaining, but stating my desire of  ‘a better way of doing things’ philosophy.  I really hate change, so changing churches really isn’t part of my make-up.  So what is the problem here?

Some people are terrified of change. 

Any deviation from “the way it has always been” rocks the foundations…

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Getting Too Big For Your Britches

The origin of my title, ‘Too big for your breeches’ or ‘too big for your britches’, is an American phrase, and one I heard growing up during the “instructional” moments as a young boy.

If you are unfamiliar with the metaphor, here is one meaning of the phrase:

“Conceited; having too high opinion of oneself.”  [The New Roget’s Thesaurus]

It is first found in print in An Account of Col. Crockett’s Tour to the North and Down East, 1835, written by Davy Crockett:

davy_crockett_by_william_henry_huddle_1889

“I myself was one of the first to fire a gun under Andrew Jackson.  I helped to give him all his glory.  But I liked him well once; but when a man gets too big for his breeches, I say goodbye.”

THIS BLOG’S SCRIPTURE VERSES:  Jeremiah 45:4-5  New Living Translation (NLT)

[4]  “Baruch, this is what the LORD says:  ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted.

[5]  ‘ Are you seeking great things for yourself?  Don’t do it!  I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go.  I, the LORD, have spoken.”

This message from God was given by Jeremiah to Baruch in a time of great personal discouragement in the scribe’s life.

WHO WAS BARUCH?

baruch-serving-jeremiah-320x400According to Josephus, Baruch was a Jewish aristocrat, a son of Neriah, brother of Seraiah ben Neriah, and chamberlain of king Zedekiah of Judah.

Baruch became the scribe of the prophet Jeremiah and wrote down the first and second editions of his prophecies as they were dictated to him.  [ See Jeremiah 36:2, 32 ] – [See footnote [i] ]

Because of his background and current position to God’s prophet, it seems that his own personal aspirations had not been fulfilled.

Boy, I’ve been there before!

His DESIRE to seek great things for himself had met without success, leaving him dejected; passed over for promotion:

Jeremiah 45:3 (AMP):

“Woe is me now! For the LORD has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and sighing and I find no rest.”

It’s at this point that, through Jeremiah, God asks Baruch a soul-searching question:

V. 5:  “And you should seek great things for yourself?”  Seek them not!”

God’s WORD to Baruch is a strong message and play’s a role familiar in normal human life today, and yes, even in our churches–that, of having to take second place, having to play second fiddle to an already established assembly.

Considering all that Baruch was doing to make Jeremiah’s prophecies permanent by recording them for posterity, it’s not surprising that he seems to have expected to share at least some of the prophet’s rewards.

When realization set in, Baruch couldn’t hide his frustration, slipping into despair, “groaning and sighing”–whining all along, as he wrote down Jeremiah’s words from God.

Have you ever found yourself muttering while in service for God?  “GUILTY!”

Many people today, who profess FAITH in Jesus Christ, have been caught up in the COVETOUS spirit of the world in the “more for ME” or “great things for ME” philosophy.

The Prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:10):

“Oh, that You would bless ME and enlarge MY border, and that Your hand might be with ME, and You would keep ME from evil so it might not hurt ME!”

Though God granted Jabez his request, his prayer was not a petition in behalf of anyone but himself.  No thought for anyone but himself!

Oh, how it would be good today for Christians to consider God’s admonition to Baruch “…seek not”.

Somehow, some way, we’ve lost sight of the motto “God first…Others second…Self last!”

Living in the last days…

This just might be my opinion, but in these last days, we should all strive, as children of God, to live on a plane much higher than our own selfish ambition.  In this materialistic generation, the tendency is to put both the youth and adults into slavery.

The Apostle Paul’s reproach in Romans 15:1-3 tells us…

[1]  WE WHO are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak;  [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others]  and not to please ourselves.  [2] Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually].  [3] For Christ did not please Himself [gave no thought to His own interests]; but, as it is written,  The reproaches and abuses of those who reproached and abused you fell on Me.  [Ps. 69:9.]

Lets look at Scripture and do some COMPARISONS of the “great things” the world can offer WITH… the “greater things” God provides for His children.

FIRST, let me share some “GREAT THINGS” we shouldn’t seek:

  • Great Worldly Honor – 1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV):

[25]  “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”

rewarded-saint

Great Worldly Riches – Acts 12:21-23 (NIV):

[21]  On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 

[22]  They shouted,  “This is the voice of a god, not a man.”

[23]  Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Christians should NOT SEEK Worldly HONOR, RICHES and POWER to the neglect of one’s soul.

The things that the WORLD offers are but temporary in nature whereas the things of God endure forever!

“Yeah, BUT…I have needs as much as any non-believer,” you might be saying to yourself.

Even when thinking about the temporal things, the child of God is promised in being supplied with every need.

God really promises His children ALL of their needs?

Matthew 6:33 (AMP):

“But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then ALL these things taken together will be given you besides.”

Now, let me share the “GREATER THINGS” God has in store for us.

  • Far greater HONOR – 1 John 3:2 (AMP) and James 4:10 (NLT): 

1 John 3:2:  “Beloved, we are [even here ans] now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He (Jesus) comes and is manifested, we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is.”

James 4:10:  “HUMBLE yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”

“True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us” ~ Tryon Edwards.

  • Far greater RICHES – Romans 8:16-17 (NIV) and [See Proverbs 22:4]:

[16]  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

[17]  Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Far greater POSITION & POWER – Revelation 3:21 (AMP):

[21]  He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down besides My Father on His throne.”

Feeling “too big for your britches” lately?

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING–Get over yourself–get into God so that you can start living a LIFE bigger than you are and experience the BLESSING of God, so that you too can find your REAL value in the eyes of the LORD as Baruch did.

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GOD’S BLESSING FOR YOUR LIFE

 


Footnotes & Credits —

Footnote [i] :  Wikipedia – Baruch 

Photo Credits:  Google Image Search.

Commentary:  Enduring Word Bible Commentary Jeremiah Chapter 45.

Bible Translations:  New Living Translation (NLT);  Amplified Bible (AMP); New International Version (NIV); English Standard Version (ESV).

Is There A Specific PLAN God Has For My Life, Or, Is This All There Is?

Scripture Study:  Luke 1:68-79

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LUKE 1:76 (ESV):

[76] “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,”

Have you ever wondered why you are doing what you’re doing in life–in your job, in your retirement, in your ministry?  I often thought to myself, “LORD, is what I’m doing right now, really your plan for my life, or is it my plan?”  How can I know and be assured what my “lot” in life really is?  Great questions, but what are the answers.  Can the Book of Life, God’s Word, the Bible, give the answers?

God had a PLAN or the son of Zachariah and Elizabeth, an older couple” in the church.  

Zachariah was a priest of the division of Abijah (one of the 24 sections of priests) and Elizabeth was of the lineage of Aaron.  Both were “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless”  (Luke 1:6).

All should know that God always has a PLAN by which He works.  That PLAN isn’t on the same timetable as ours.  God puts His PLAN into action when it’s the right time.

During your lifetime, I’m sure you can recall the times you asked God to help you get that promotion or that particular job or position.  How about the time you wanted to buy that certain home and the deal didn’t go through–“Yes, Yes, and Yes!”  Maybe you remember your high school days when you had your eye on a certain young man or young lady, but a relationship never developed and you couldn’t understand why.

God has a SPECIFIC PLAN in life for you and a SPECIFIC PLAN for my life.

NOW HERE IT IS:  We can accept His PLAN or, we can by-pass it and do what we want.  The PROBLEM with doing our ‘own thing’ is we’ll suffer the consequences.

If we are impatient and choose to leave God out of our lives, we’re headed for a disaster.

On the other hand, if we consult God concerning our issues; our doubts, our uneasiness in making the right decisions…asking Him to guide us, listening closely to His response, and then patiently waiting for His PLAN to unfold, we’ll be in for a VICTORY.

Zachariah and Elizabeth were a devoted couple and a good example for us tom exemplify.

zacharias-elisabeth-praying-mann_1163845_inlThey were dedicated to each other and by the same token, dedicated to God.  

They followed all the rules, regulations, and commandments of the Lord.  The words they expressed to other people in normal everyday communication were words they lived by.  They didn’t live one way and then live their personal lives another way.  People could tell just by looking at them, they were “blameless.”  There was nothing in the world that indicated dishonesty or deliberate sin in their lives.  Their names would never appear in tabloid news.

Zachariah was truly devoted to carrying on the priestly duties assigned to him.  Scripture tells us:  “As was the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter [the sanctuary of] the temple of the Lord and burn incense” (Luke 1:9 AMP).

I had to look up the meaning of the word “LOT”.  According to “The American Heritage Dictionary”, the word “lot” means “An object used in making a determination or choice by chance.”

We might think of making a CHOICE by rolling dice, pulling the short straw, or even flipping a coin.  In the days of Zechariah, priestly duties were assigned by “lot.”  Each of the priests were required to spend a week in the Temple two times a year.  Keeping the incense burning on the altar of the Most Holy Place was a top honor for the priests for a Temple Priest could offer incense only once in his lifetime.  What a great honor that must have been.  Someone said, a modern comparison of a priest burning incense in the Temple is like the local pastor today filling in for Billy Graham.

As Zachariah was praying and burning incense at the altar, God’s PLAN kicked in.

Zachariah and Elizabeth were going to have a baby.  This was the beginning of God’s PLAN for their parenthood.

The angel Gabriel said to Zechariah,  “Do not be afraid, Zachariah, because your petition was heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you must call his name John [God is favorable]”  (Luke 1:13).

Gabriel went on to say in VERSE 14:

“And you shall have joy and exultant delight, and many will rejoice over his birth”

Look at what Zechariah and Elizabeth will have–not only a son, but they will have JOY, EXULTANT DELIGHT and people will observe their rejoicing hearts.

This is a WIN/WIN situation here.  Don’t you think it’s wonderful how God works through His PLANS, fulfilling them at the right time?

Now this PREGNANCY didn’t exactly happen at the time Zechariah and Elizabeth would have liked it to.  It didn’t occur at their requested timing, because it wasn’t in the PLAN God had in mind.  What Zechariah and Elizabeth seemed to forget is the same thing you and I forget.  

If we really want our PRAYERS answered, we must keep our minds open and remember, that our God is an expert in bringing the impossible to light.

GABRIEL not only told the elderly couple [verse 7: “both were far advanced in years”; John Wycliffe, The Wycliffe Bible] they would bring forth a son and his name would be John, but…“he will be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit even in and from his mother’s womb” (verse 15).

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God’s wonderful PLAN was unveiled to Zechariah and Elizabeth; that they were living God’s PLAN for their lives, and John would follow through to announce the coming of the Messiah.

All of this was a bit difficult for Zechariah to take in and believe, so he questioned how this could be.  There is a difference between asking God a question about His plans, and “questioning” His plans.

Because of DISBELIEF, his “questioning,” Zechariah wasn’t permitted to speak until the baby was ready to be named.

I can remember my wife and I having nightly discussions after dinner, discussing names for our first-born.  Since technology hadn’t come into play regarding sonograms–knowing if it was a girl or boy, we devised two lists:  BOYS – GIRLS.

debbie_watson_miguel_landa_karen_1965
TV Series, KAREN

The “how about’s” started with names from our favorite television shows.  Then family names we liked from both families, to suggestions from friends and parents, and the list went on, and on, and on.  We finally decided after choosing AMY for almost 9 months, if our first child is a girl, we liked the 1964 television series, KAREN, played by the actress Debbie Watson.  I don’t know whether everyone we knew agreed with the how we chose the name, but we were sure!

So our first daughter was named KAREN MARIE, with the same middle name as my wife’s.

And that’s my story.  I’m sure you have your own story.

Zechariah and Elizabeth’s gathered friends and family wanted to end the disagreements going on about name choices for the new bay, so they decided to ask Zechariah what the baby’s name should be.  Now that’s “no duh” decision.

Since Zechariah was “mute”, they made signs to him concerning what the child’s name should be and he asked for a tablet to write on.

He wrote without hesitation, “His name shall be John.”  At that very moment his tongue was loosed so he could talk.

God’s PLAN was in action and moving right along as scheduled.

God opened the mouth and lips of Zechariah and he began praising God.

Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, divinely inspired, and began to prophesy.

Have you ever had moments in your life, like this one?

God had forgiven Zechariah’s failure to believe and the little bit of distrust he held in his heart.

When we start LIVING GOD’S PLAN for our lives–believe His Word, placing our trust in Him.   We’ll end up praising God, as Zechariah did.

ZECHARIAH’S WORDS OF PRAISE, Luke 1:68-79, are a SONG.

The FIRST 8 verses deal with SALVATION and will appear in the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

The SECOND part of the SONG (verses 76-79) refers to the ministry of John, the forerunner of Christ Jesus.

God had a PLAN for John and John lived that PLAN.

God’s PLAN was to use John to PREPARE the people of the day to recognize and accept the Messiah when He appeared on the scene.  John preached God’s message!

You and I are players in God’s PLAN, as well.  We were in God’s PLAN from the time of conception.  

We may not realize it, the situations we face, the struggles we encounter, the detours we come upon, but all are part of God’s PLAN for our lives.  We perhaps haven’t recognized it as of yet, but God’s PLAN is there!

We are LIVING God’s PLAN when we witness for Christ, when we love others, feed the hungry, visit the shut ins.  When we step out in FAITH, God will work in our lives revealing His plans for each one of us who trust in Him.

Paul said, “He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you”  (Philippians 1:6).

John lived the PLAN God had for his life–he PREACHED a message of CONFESSION of SIN; REPENTANCE of SIN, and SALVATION through Christ Jesus, the Messiah.

We too, need to follow God’s PLAN for our lives of confession, repentance, and acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

003-john-baptist  

And NO, we don’t have to wear John’s clothing of camel’s-hair, wear a leather girdle about our waist, live on a diet of locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4).  That was John living out God’s specific PLAN for John.  

God’s PLAN for us is specifically designed for only us to live out.

Then, and only then, will God’s PLAN for us be complete, because we will be able to spend eternity in His Kingdom!

 


CREDITS:

Photos chosen:  From Google IMAGE Search.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted in text (ESV – English Standard Version).

 

Don’t Forget The Gravy!

GRAVY makes everything taste better!  

“Chicken fried steak without the gravy is a slab of old beef going through a mid-life crisis” (by Michael Park).

gravy_1

I never really thought about why I started liking gravy so much.  I think it began when I was a child during the holiday feasts at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  One of the benefits of the unforgetful feasts, for me, was the GRAVY.  I wasn’t much of a fan of turkey, so I needed plenty of gravy to make the meat palatable to my liking.  But as long as the GRAVY bowl was in my hand…pouring it on the cornbread dressing, the mashed potatoes, was an added benefit.

So before my mother would seat herself at the dinner table, she would shout from the kitchen “Is there anything else we need?”  And either my dad, my brother or myself would shout back to mom, “Don’t Forget The Gravy!”; as she entered the dinning room smiling…with the GRAVY bowl already in her hand.

The word “GRAVY” used in a slang manner refers to something extra–an extra bonus.

PSALM 103  “BLESS THE LORD, O MY SOUL”

[1] BLESS  (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise)  the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!  [2] Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits.

In other words, VERSE 2 could say,  “Praise God and don’t forget about His good gravy.”

The Bible tells us about ALL the EXTRAS that come along with following God.

Many people accept JESUS as their Savior because they’d rather not face the alternative to heaven.  Some call it “fire insurance.”

Someone will get SAVED just because they don’t want to go to hell and, that’s not a bad thing.  But in the process, they’ll continue living out their life without knowing about the added BENEFITS.  Sure, they’ll go to heaven when they die, but their life may be a living hell!

God wants us to experience heaven when we die, but He also wants us to have an abundant life here on earth, to the full, till it overflows! (John 10:10 AMP)

And that is one of the reasons you get the GRAVY!

PSALM 103:2-6 (NIV bible)

[2] Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.  [3] He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases;  [4] He redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion.  [5] He satisfies my desires with good things, so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  [6] The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

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HERE’S THE GRAVY.  In addition to getting to go to HEAVEN when you die, God does a number of extra things for you.

He FORGIVES ALL your sins!

We’ve ALL sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).  And when I have sinned, I feel GUILTY–I feel messed up.

Well, how do you feel when you’ve been FORGIVEN?  You most likely feel much better.  The passage here not only says that God will forgive our SINS, but later on in the Psalm, He blots out your transgressions (sins) as far as the east is from the west, meaning that He chooses not to remember your SINS.

Isaiah 43:25 reminds us,  “I, even I, am He Who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”

You see, if you did me wrong, I’d most likely be able to forgive you, but it would be very hard for me to forget it ever happened.  And every time you’d see me, it would have the potential to make you think about the very thing you did and you’d have all those feelings of GUILT all over again.

BUT God forgives AND forgets!  

The enemy may try to remind you of your SIN, but rest assured, once you CONFESS, God has forgiven and He has forgotten.

He HEALS [each one] ALL your diseases.

PSALM 103:3
PSALM 103:3

I hate being sick and in pain.  Well, God hates it when you’re sick and in pain, too!

He hates it so much, that He’ll take it away.  He’d rather you be healthy and whole than suffering through some sickness.

One of the EXTRAS included in Salvation is healing.  God wants you to feel good! He wants your body in good shape!

Isaiah 53:4-5:  [4] Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God.  [5] But He was wounded for our transgressions,  He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needed to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.

Have you ever laid out of school (played ‘hooky’) of school because you were ‘too sick to go’?  Yep, I have have too.

Have you ever faked being sick?  You know, put the thermometer under the lamp next to the bed when mom walks out of the room; then she comes back in and your temperature is 105!!  I tried that once and when mom read the thermometer…she knew:  “You’re not sick, you’re dead!”  She knew I’d been faking it.

Well, if you’ve been sick before, stayed home from school or work because of it, you didn’t know about this GRAVY.  Because if you knew that God HEALS ALL (not “some”) of your diseases, you would pray for yourself and go!  Now that’s stepping out in FAITH!

God is the God who HEALS ALL your diseases–don’t forget it!

VERSE 4:  REDEEMS YOUR LIFE FROM THE PIT –

“What PIT?”  “When did I fall and how deep is it?”

The “PIT”, referred to in verse 4, is symbolic of destruction or corruption; anything that’s going to bring you down.

So when you are SAVED, you don’t have to worry about the “PIT.”  You’re REDEEMED from it, meaning that if you find yourself in a pit, you’ll quickly be ble to get right out.

“Why then, do I feel stuck sometimes?”

Well, maybe you don’t know about this BENEFIT, or you forgot about it.  Because if you knew that God REDEEMS you from THE PIT…you’d find the way out of it.

VERSE 5:  RENEW YOUR YOUTH LIKE THE EAGLE’S –

Have you ever been so tired that all you want to do is just collapse somewhere, anywhere and catch 40 winks?  Boy, I sure have!

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You’ve been up since 6 AM, getting kids out of bed in preparation for school, off to work yourself.  Then, after coming home, a meal to get on the table for everyone, a 7 PM meeting at church, choir practices, youth group gatherings, etc., etc..  I’m worn out just thinking about those times.

You need some strength!  God will hook you up!

Isaiah 40:31 (AMP):

[31] Those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.

Not only is this talking about physical strength, but strength in other areas too.

You may feel that you’re at a point in life where you just don’t feel like trying. Everything you’ve tried hasn’t worked out so far, so you think, “What’s the use?”

Well, you need some strength to press on until you overcome obstacles holding you back.  And God will help you run the race of life without giving out, giving in or giving up!

He’s given you the VICTORY and the STRENGTH that makes victory come to pass.

Psalm 103:6 (MSG):  “God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet.”

Has anyone ever done you wrong?

A PERSONAL STORY–

Many years ago, while living in Southern California–I’d been married six years, with three children–five and three year old daughters and three month old son.  I had received an exciting offer for a new job, which I accepted, so my wife and I decided this was the time to make an offer on our first home.  I informed my new employer of our decision, letting him know of the financial impact and the security of the job.  While the house was in escrow, we moved what little furniture we had accumulated into our new home.

My new job was part of the  same industry I had been a part of for some time, so all I needed was acclimate myself; get to know the people.  In fact, the president of the company’s secretary I knew from previous employer.

One late afternoon, Sally (not her real name) pulled a chair next to my desk,  asking if she could get my opinion on a dilemma she was facing on the job.  Although surprised,  it was almost time to go home,  so I said sure.

Her story was the president of the company wanted her to attend a business related dinner and late evening with important customers that evening and she didn’t want to go.

“So, don’t go” I told her.

“I can’t tell him ‘no'” she replied.  I was somewhat baffled by her answer and the sad expression on her face.

“So, why can’t you say no Sally?”

“Well,” there was a long pause,  “because I’ve become the company prostitute”, her chin now lay shamefully on her chest.

“Sally, you need to learn to say NO!  There’s no job on earth that’s worth you giving up your reputation and body for.  NONE!”

“I’ve have already lost my reputation and I need this job.  What can I do?” as she began to weep.

“Sally, you need to tell him the way you feel.  Let him know that you love your job and you will always be a loyal employee, but not in the manner they’re using you. If your words fall on deaf ears…as hard as this might be…  QUIT!”

As she slowly got up and went back to her desk, she thanked me for listening. But I had a gut feeling, my words went on deaf ears.  She wasn’t going to say “NO.”

The next morning at 7 AM, the office manager walked up to me and said, “Clear out your desk.”  I thought he was kidding.  But he wasn’t. “Clear it out, NOW!   After two months on the job, I was fired.  And the new house?  We lost the house, and what I thought was a great opportunity…had vanished.

I phoned the CEO of the company the next day, trying to get down to the reasons of why I was fired.  His answer was short, but he promised that his son (the president), would call me and explain.  That never happened.  I was filled with every emotion–mad, sad, and…vengeful!  This wasn’t fair to me or to my young family.

But it didn’t end here.

Two years later, I learned that Sally and our conversation had been heard by the company executives.  They weren’t going to fire Sally, so the obvious was left.  I had to go!  How dare I mess up their exclusive customer benefits.

And a side note to the story, the president, the son of the CEO, the man who hired me and fired me, had been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon against his own father, and was spending the next 14 months in a jail cell

“God puts victims on their feet”

I learned from this experience that I don’t have to try and devise some sort of revengeful plan.  I just know that God’s going to deal with it.

I’m not saying God’s going to strike somebody with lightning because they stabbed you in the back.  But I am saying that God will work on your behalf and make sure you get double for your trouble and everything will work out for your good.

So, Come Get the Gravy!

 


CREDITS –

Photos:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP), unless noted in the text.

 

 

Has GOD Become A By-Product In Our Conversations?

SCRIPTURE:  JEREMIAH CHAPTERS 11-13 (you will need your bible!)

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JEREMIAH’S CIRCUMSTANCES has gone from his own shelter to the town square; from the square to the SANCTUARY; from the sanctuary to the streets to proclaim God’s message to Israel.

Jeremiah lived in a day where there was no LOVE for God, no LOYALTY to God and, therefore, no light from God.  God had become a by-product in their conversation, a burden on their conduct and a curse in their community.  It was a day of SENSUALITY, SENSATIONALISM and SIN.

Listen to God speaking through the prophet’s lips, Jeremiah 7:24:

[24]  They would not listen to and obey Me or bend their ear, but followed the counsels and the stubborn promptings of their own evil hearts and minds, and they turned their backs and went in reverse instead of forward.

It was to this people Jeremiah was sent to be God’s prophetic voice, pleading God to a prodigal people.

Luke 15 tells a story we are all familiar with, of The Prodigal Son–a son who disowned his father and lived life on his own terms.  The word “prodigal” means, extravagantly wasteful because of “loose living” i.e. a debauched, profligate lifestyle  [Strong Concordance, Ref. #811.  (asotos) ].

MY STUDY in Jeremiah 11-13 is not a picture of a single son gone amok, but of a great number of prodigal people.

Chapter 11:1-17 – Broken Commitments

People are prodigal because of their broken commitment…or better stated perhaps, no commitment at all!

When reading through the verses here, pay close attention to the word “COVENANT” ( vss. 2, 3, 6, 8, and 10).  Covenant is a word that means AGREEMENT, or pact or alliance.  This isn’t a new covenant but the same one made with the forefathers of yesterday (Exodus 19:3; 24:3).

God’s COVENANT is both relational and conditional.

God had never failed to keep His end of the bargain, but the people had.

That brings us to our own commitment.  Look at the words in Scripture “Hear”, “Listen to”, “Tell”, “Proclaim”, and “Follow”.  It means to HONOR it!

F.B. Havergal wrote,  “Faithfulness to principle is only proved by faithfulness in detail.”

A professor in class one day stated, “You can either take this class seriously, or, you can take it over.”

Many in Jeremiah’s day, like many people today, never want to take COMMITMENT seriously.

And, a lack of COMMITMENT manifests itself in several ways:

  •  THE PRAYER CLOSET [King James Version] – MATTHEW 6:6 (AMP):  “But hqdefaultwhen you pray, go into your [most] private room, and close the door, pray to your Father,  Who is in secret; and your Father,  Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open.”

A “PRAYER CLOSET”, “private room” might be a daily commute, a bench in the backyard, a walk in the neighborhood, or the kitchen table.  The point is, that the “closet” is free from interruption, and listening ears.

“One concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.  He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion.  He laughs at our toil, mocks our wisdom, but trembles when we PRAY” ~ Samuel Chadwick.

  • THE BIBLE – Jesus tells us to “Search the scriptures…”  (John 5:39)

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What would you say of a doctor that never read a medical book, a lawyer who never read a law-book?  Then what about a Christian who never reads the Bible?

Charles Spurgeon said, “There is dust enough on some if your Bibles to write “damnation” with your fingers.”

THE CHURCH-HOUSE – The Scriptures say “Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the Day approaching”  (Hebrews 10:25).

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Something is drastically wrong on Sunday mornings when we have to beg our crowd to come to church to hear about the Good-News.  

I’ve noticed over the years, when they do come in the Fall/Winter months, the local teams jersey’s are faithfully worn and the smart phones apps have live feeds of the big game for a quick check of the score.  It got to be such a Football Celebration rather than a Christ Celebration on Sunday mornings, a local pastor has now placed signs in the lobby reading “SPORTS FREE ZONE.”

THE OFFERING BASKET – “The basic question is not how much of our money we should give to God, but how much of God’s money we should keep ourselves.”  J. Oswald Sanders

JEREMIAH 11:9-14 – Severe Correction.

As to COMMITMENT, when we aren’t reminded constantly and don’t take it seriously, we will be severely corrected.  I think my folks said the same when growing up at home.

VERSE 11:  “I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape.  Although they cry out to me, I will not listen,”  (NIV)

See the word “DISASTER”.  For the LOST that means Hell and for the BELIEVER it means that you lose your influence.

The Great Commission doesn’t say “teach” but “teach them to observe”  (Matthew 28:20).

JEREMIAH 11:18-23 – A Bloodthirsty Crowd on the Scene.

Tell people about misplaced trust, misguided theology and misleading teachers, people get hot under the collar  (See Proverbs 9:7).

Often, they resent criticism, will leave the assembly, or…react in revenge!

I noted 3 things in this passage of Scripture:

Their Place (11:21, 23; 12:6):  Family & friends of Jeremiah.

PREACHING, TEACHING the TRUTH doesn’t always make you popular with your audience.

Their Plot (11:18-19):  Jeremiah was a bit naive.

He quickly found out how cold, ruthless and inhuman some people can be.

Their Punishment (11:22-23):  It is obvious that Jeremiah is human.

He didn’t deny his anger or desire for justice, neither did he take matters in his own hands.  Jeremiah cast himself on God’s MERCY,

We need to understand the contrast between Jeremiah and Jesus.  How do we handle a PLOT?  We do what Jeremiah did and carry it to God.

JEREMIAH 13:1-7 – Defiant Contempt.

In studying this chapter note:

The Parable (13:1-7):  It’s self-explainable after reading it several times.  The BELT became ruined, rotted and contaminated.  It was fully useless.

It is a picture of the condition of God’s people.  How did they get that way?

Their Pride (13:8-11):  They had lifted up themselves and left out the Savior.

PRIDE is what got Satan expelled from Heaven and the people exiled from the land.

PRIDE lead to their idolatry, immorality and irreverence.

PRIDE has been called the vice of fools and the ruin of nations.  Hello, America!

Their Pain (13:14, 21-22, 26-27) – [READ]

BLINDED & CONFUSED (Chapter 12):

The Anguish (12_1-4):  JEREMIAH was coming close to concluding that God’s not fair. He seems to think that maybe God has been hoodwinked by these people.  They talked of God alright, but were never influenced in their decisions.

Jeremiah 12:2 b. :  “You are near in their mouths but far from their hearts.”

The Answer (12:5):  I thought it was interesting that God didn’t console or answer Jeremiah.  His answer was “You think it’s bad now, what will you do when it really gets serious? ”  Cheer up Jeremiah,  “the worst is yet to come!”

That’s what you have tom put up with when it come to “prodigal people”.

JESUS IS CALLING…

Calling the prodigal.

Come without delay.

Hear, O hear Him calling,

Calling now today.

 


CREDITS

Photos:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.

Bible Dictionary:  VINE’S Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White Jr.

Commentary:  Halley’s Bible Handbook New Revised Edition.