Tuesday, December 20, 2011

GOD'S UNEXPECTED GIFT

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed…”
Luke 1:46-48

This is the season when people are excited about opening those festive looking packages to see what special gift has been selected and wrapped just for them. It’s a time when gift giving and receiving is on just about everyone’s mind. There are some, however – the ones that God gives – that often don’t look like good gifts to the natural eye, because they don’t come in beautiful wrapping. God’s gifts are often intangible, and He covers His special presents in ways that are most unusual.

At this time of year the world sets a stage for us that often does not match what we are experiencing in our own lives. We are bombarded by commercials and shows about people having wonderful gatherings and other festivities. All the while some of us look forward to yet another time alone. Even if we are in the company of family and friends, we can feel alone and lonely. Depression is high during this season.

But this feeling of aloneness is one of God’s most precious gifts. Oftentimes He Himself will orchestrate those solitary times. Why? Our Father, in His love and wisdom, knows that the greatest gift that we could have is a close relationship with Him. Times of aloneness and loneliness are opportunities for us to draw ever closer to Him…to reach out to Him for the kind of comfort, love and support that no human could possibly give to us.

The world system is so magnetic that we don’t realize how attracted we can become to it. This can lead to dependence on what we can see, hear, and touch. But God desires that we embrace His kingdom – a kingdom that is not of this world, so He arranges times when the dependence on the world’s trappings is removed, howbeit temporarily, so that we can focus on what is truly important.

Think of Mary on that first Christmas. She was given a precious Gift – being chosen as the mother of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. But her gift came wrapped in isolation, suspicion, gossip and even threats as people in her village found out that she was unwed and pregnant. I am sure that Mary felt alone and lonely during those times, even with Joseph by her side. There was no one else who could identify with what she was going through…no one, that is, but God Himself. Thankfully she embraced that Gift fully and clung to the Father, and we have all benefited from her willingness to do so.


Two thousand years ago, while all of Jerusalem and Bethlehem were preoccupied with the activities of the census, God sent His Greatest Gift – the King of kings – hidden in the strangest of packaging…
  • His King-sized bed was a feeding trough for animals
  • His birthplace and first throne room was a cave in a field.
  • It wasn’t the skilled hands of a doctor or midwife, but the rough, shaky hands of a carpenter that held Him as He took His first breath
  • His first visitors were not the elite, but the lowest in society – shepherds who had been tending their flocks
Nothing in the coming of Christ was beautifully wrapped.

Yet this most precious Gift was the Saviour of all mankind!

Has God given you an unexpected and unusual present this season? Has it come in a wrapping of pain, solitude, uncertainty of the future, or loss of a dear one? Will you ask the Lord to help you look beyond the “packaging” so that you can see the treasure that He has given to you?


Have a God-filled Christmas - full of the Father’s eternal gifts of love, peace and joy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'VE BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH!

We all need to be encouraged at times. Here's a powerful song that does just that!
It's worth the time it may take to load.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

OH! WHAT A NAME! - 2. AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH


Heb 12:2 - Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We often quote this Scripture, but do we really understand what it means to call Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith?


AUTHOR
In the natural, every author who writes a good script includes the following elements:
  • The main characters and supporting characters
  • The setting(s) where the story unfolds
  • Conflicts that arise
  • How each conflict is resolved
  • Lessons learned by the characters and how these lessons help to mold each of their lives
  • An author is one who originates, composes, or creates a thing
As the Author of our faith, Jesus says, “Let there be….”, and orchestrates situations in our lives that are opportunities for our faith to grow.

As Author Jesus also takes the lead, setting the example with His own life of what a life of faith should be.

FINISHER
Follow in Jesus' Footsteps
In the natural a finisher completes a job, making sure that every detail of the original plan is revealed in the finished product

As the Finisher of our faith, Jesus is our example of the highest level of faith.
He shows us how faith is raised to its perfection.

In your personal walk of faith, Jesus is there at the beginning as your Author, and He is there at the end as your Finisher.


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. 
Jer. 29:11

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

OH! WHAT A NAME! – 1. ALPHA AND OMEGA

What makes Jesus' Name so powerful? After all… there are many others who have been named Jesus (pronounced hay-soos). The name Jesus means 'God is salvation'. Two other names in Scripture - Joshua and Hosea - have the same meaning, but these names have no power. So what is it about this Jesus that when we call His name things begin to happen?

We get a clue from the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and gave him a specific instruction concerning the child that Mary was carrying…

thou shalt call his name JESUS: 
for he shall save his people from their sins.
Scripture says that this fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy…
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, 
and they shall call his name Emmanuel, 
which being interpreted is, God with us.

Notice that the angel told Joseph to call Him Jesus, but the prophet said that His Name is Emmanuel. Herein lies the power of that wonderful Name. There are over 200 names and titles that are connected and interwoven into Jesus’ name, each one giving an indication of His character, His purpose and His authority. In this series we will look at a few of these names and titles to gain greater understanding into this most powerful Name.

JESUS - ALPHA AND OMEGA

Rev. 1:8I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.  

ALPHA means first or beginning
John tells us that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

Here we see another name for Jesus – The Word.
  • The Word was in the beginning. 
  • The Word was God.
  • Therefore Jesus = The Word = Alpha and Omega = God!!
Do you know that nothing starts without Alpha being there? Alpha made all things and is in every beginning…including yours.

Psalm 139:14-16 “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

Regardless of the circumstances of your conception and birth, know that Jesus–Alpha was there overseeing your formation and orchestrating every moment of your life.

He’s there with you now….at the beginning of every situation in your life. Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus-Alpha Himself begins every beginning. He’s there at the beginning of your day, at the beginning of a marriage, at the beginning of a new assignment, at the beginning of each new trial….you name it. By the time you get to it, He's already there!!


OMEGA means last, ending, final.
Not only is Jesus at the start of every thing, He is also at the end.
  • He was there as you were formed in the womb and He’ll be there at the end of your days.
  • He was there at the beginning of your troubles (even though He Himself didn't cause it), and He's already there at the end of it.
  • If you love Him all things work together for your good (Romans 8:28). Truly He never leaves you nor forsakes you!
Jesus-Omega is the Amen in everything. He has the final word!!

In Genesis 1 Alpha was there to command, "Let there be...." and when the command was obeyed, Omega looked at the result and said, "It is good."

At every genesis in your life Alpha again says, "Let there be....", and when you obey and cooperate with His will He is there as Omega, ready to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. It is good!"

Let us worship Jesus  
Alpha and OmegaThe First and The Lastthe Beginning and the End.


Friday, October 7, 2011

A MOST POWERFUL TESTIMONY!!

This video is evidence that God has a perfect plan for each of us. Watch the amazing testimony of Christopher Coleman.

Friday, August 26, 2011

AS A LITTLE CHILD


And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2,3

What does it mean to be converted?
  • To change from one state to another
  • Conversion comes when you change in the way you think, speak and behave
In order to be converted you have to know the characteristics of a little child. Here are just a few.
A little child...
  • Loves unconditionally. He is not prejudiced. He loves just because
  • Receives true love readily without suspicion
  • Is innocent and defenseless
  • Forgives readily and doesn’t hold grudges
  • Is excited about life and has uninhibited joy
  • Lives in the now. He is not concerned about what happened in the past, or what might happen in the future
  • Finds his identity in his parent
  • Has a pure heart with no ulterior motives
  • Prays and worships from a pure heart
  • Believes in the impossible
Jesus never asks us to do something that He Himself wouldn’t do.
He had the heart of a little child.

Notice that Jesus was talking to the disciples who were already saved. They believed that He was the Messiah. Yet He told them that they had to be converted. It is possible to be saved, yet not converted. That is why Jesus told Peter, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Luke 22:31,32

Heaven is filled with saints who have the heart of a child. The Father hears our heart and not just our words.

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. Hebrews 11:4
  • God heard and saw in Abel’s heart: “Daddy! Look what I brought for You!”
  • How do you bring your offerings to the Father?
  
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. Hebrews 11:5
  • God heard and saw in Enoch’s heart: “Daddy, what You doing? Daddy, I wanna come with You. I love you Daddy.”

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Hebrews 11:7
  • God heard Noah’s heart: “My Daddy said it’s going to rain, so I’m going to build this ark even though people mock me. I trust my Daddy.”

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Hebrews 11:8
  • God heard Abraham’s heart: “My Daddy’s taking me on a big adventure! We’re moving to a new place. He told me all about it and it sounds exciting!”

What can stop you from having the heart of a child?
Simply put...your own reasoning. Thinking too much, rationalizing and having your own agenda are all hindrances to having the true heart of a child.

The reality is...
  • The more mature you become as a Christian, the more of a child’s heart you have to exhibit.
  • Someone with the heart of a child may seem insignificant in the natural. But God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.
  • Those who have the heart of a child are the most powerful in the Kingdom, and the most feared by the enemy
  • The heart of a child is pure. It is the pure in heart who will see God.
Do you have the heart of a little child?



Friday, July 8, 2011

A CALL TO OBEDIENCE

Other than love, obedience to God was probably the other major principle that Jesus taught about most often. However, we live in a society that is so focused on being "politically correct" that the concept of obedience has become obsolete.

Jesus showed that love and obedience go hand in hand. He said, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.”

There is a belief system out there that subtly encourages and entices us to disobey and disregard God and His commandments. It’s called secular humanism.

According to their website, secular humanists “find insufficient evidence for the claim that some divine purpose exists for the universe. They reject the idea that God has intervened miraculously in history or revealed himself to a chosen few or that he can save or redeem sinners. They believe that men and women are free and are responsible for their own destinies and that they cannot look toward some transcendent Being for salvation.”

Unfortunately, secular humanism has infiltrated the church. Today God’s Word is often treated like a buffet dinner. Many feel that they can choose what they want (blessings and prosperity), and leave out what you don’t want (tribulation and suffering). But obedience is a command of God, not a suggestion. God expects us to obey because He loves us and knows what’s best for us. He knows His plans and He also knows the enemy’s plans and strategies.

How do people disregard and disobey God?
  • Compromise – partial obedience. God calls partial obedience rebellion. He says it’s as bad as witchcraft.
  • Rationalizing – why it’s ok for you not to obey. Some people reject God’s commands, rationalizing that a loving God wouldn’t punish people for disobeying Him by sending them to hell
  • Having your own opinion. The western world is dominated by democracies – governments where the people have a say. But God’s Kingdom is a theocracy – He rules.
  • Anger – outright refusal. Jonah refused to obey God’s command to go to Nineveh, because he was angry with them.
  • Rejection of the person who delivers the word. Jesus was rejected because many saw Him just as Mary’s son

What are the Consequences of Disobedience
  • Judgment from the Father. John 12:47-48
  • A ruined life. Luke 6: 49But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
  • The wrath of God. Eph.5: 3-6
  • Lack of intimacy with God
  • Engaging in greater disobedience which leads to even greater bondage to satan
  • Loss of the blessings and promises of God
  • Loss of eternal life. 2 Thess 1:8-9

Some People who disobeyed God
  • Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. They were cast out of Eden and suffered spiritual and physical death
  • Lot’s wife disobeyed God’s command not to look back. She turned into a pillar of salt
  • Jonah refused to go to Nineveh, and ended up in the belly of a great fish
  • King Saul disobeyed God's command to kill all the Amalekites. He lost the throne as king of Israel and went crazy

    Why Should We Obey God?
    • It shows that we love Him and want to please Him
    • To be a vessel of honor
    • To be effective in the work of the Kingdom by setting an example for the next generation. We have disobedient children because we sometimes set an example of disobedience by our own actions
    • Obedience to God ensures our effectiveness in spiritual warfare. Disobedience can’t expel disobedience; rebellion can’t expel rebellion
    Jesus is our example. He learned obedience through the things that He suffered. Obedience begins in the heart, not with your actions. God knows if you really want to obey Him or not, but thankfully He has provided the Holy Spirit who helps us to obey.

    What are the Rewards of Obedience
    • Success Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
    • Good healthProv. 4:20-22 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
    • The indwelling and empowering of the Holy SpiritJohn 14:15-16. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
    • The indwelling of the Father and JesusJohn 14:23. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
    • Long lifeProv 10:27. The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
    • Eternal LifeJohn 5:24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
    • Joy John 15:10-11. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
    • Deuteronomy 28 – Blessings wherever you go; your children blessed; your business dealings; your investments; your travel on the roads or by air; protection and victory during the enemy’s attack

    Those Who Obey Receive Great Rewards
    • Abraham obeyed God. He left everything familiar to him - his home and family. But he became the father of many nations, and the father of faith.
    • Moses obeyed God. He rejected the Egyptian lifestyle, choosing instead to follow God's directives to challenge Pharaoh. He became the deliverer of the Israelites, and was known as God's friend.
    • Joshua obeyed God. He refused to side with the 10 spies who brought back a bad report about Canaan. He obeyed when God told him to go in to the Promised Land. As a result he received not only the Promised Land and all God's promises.
    • Mary obeyed God. It wasn't easy or convenient for her. Obedience is seldom convenient. However, she became the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
    • Jesus obeyed the Father, even unto death on the Cross, and gained salvation for all mankind. As a result all authority was given to Him
    I pray that when God gives a command, we will hasten to obey!

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    JUST A TOUCH

    The Touch of Love
    I watched a video recently in which a newborn baby was pronounced dead by the doctor who then placed the infant on his mother’s chest so that she and the father could say their goodbyes. However, two hours later the doctor returned to find the baby alive – all because the mother continued to give him the touch of love. The doctor himself had to admit that it was a miracle. If this is what can happen with human touch, how much more will a touch from the Lord do!!



    His Touch Removes Stigmas
    Reaching out to the Homeless
    Matt. 8:1-3
    When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.  And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.  And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

    It doesn’t matter what the affliction is – physical, mental or spiritual. One touch from Jesus can give hope.



    Healing Touch
    His Touch rebukes the spirit of infirmity

    Matt. 8:14,15
    And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.  And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

    Jesus’ touch is so powerful that it can bring healing and wholeness.



    Childlike Faith
    His Touch of Blessing
    Mark 10:13
    And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them…..

    Jesus' touch is a blessing to those who will come to him in childlike faith. 




    Sometimes you have to reach out to touch Him


    Matt. 9:20-22
    And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:  For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.  But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

    Reach out and touch Him by faith.


    Hands of Protection
    His Touch removes fear
    Matthew 14:29-31
    So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him....

    Fear has torment and comes from the enemy. One touch from Jesus can remove that fear.

    Your Hands...........His Hands
    For most of the unsaved world you are the only "Jesus" that they will see. Will you be His hands extended - to touch the rejected, the afflicted, the vulnerable, those who are afraid - in love?

    And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 
    Matthew 10:7-8


    My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 
    1 John 3:18

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    What Are You Really Seeing?

    This powerful video produced by Fellowship Bible Church is a wake-up call to all of us..........a reminder of our true call as Christians.


    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    THE DISCIPLE'S PRAYER

    Author Unknown

    I cannot say "OUR" if I live only for myself

    I cannot say "FATHER" if I do not endeavor each day to act like His child

    I cannot say "IN HEAVEN" if I am laying up no treasure there

    I cannot say "HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME" if I am not striving for holiness

    I cannot say "YOUR KINGDOM COME" if I am not doing all in my power to hasten that wonderful event

    I cannot say "YOUR WILL BE DONE" if I am disobedient to His word

    I cannot say "ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN" if I'll not serve Him here and now

    I cannot say "GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD" if I am dishonest or seeking things by subterfuge

    I cannot say "FORGIVE US OUR SINS" if I harbour a grudge against anyone

    I cannot say "LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION" if I deliberately place myself in its path

    I cannot say "DELIVER US FROM EVIL" if I do not put on the whole armour of God

    I cannot say "YOURS IS THE KINGDOM" if I do not give the King the loyalty due Him from a faithful subject

    I cannot attribute to Him "THE POWER" if I fear what men may do

    I cannot ascribe to Him "THE GLORY" if I'm seeking honour only for myself
    AND

    I cannot say "FOR EVER" if the horizon of my life is bounded completely by time.

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    REVIVAL!!

    The video below shows how the power of God is moving mightily to bring in an end time harvest in Brazil. If it is happening in Brazil it can and will happen in your city and in your country! Let us all pray for revival in our land!

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    THE SOUND OF THE KINGDOM

     This article was originally posted in 2009.

    Thy Kingdom come, 
    Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
     Matthew 6:10
    But the hour cometh, and now is, 
    when the true worshippers shall worship the Father 
    in spirit and in truth: 
    for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 
    God is a Spirit: and they that worship him 
    must worship him in spirit and in truth.
    John 4:23-24

     Each nation has its own unique qualities that make it stand out from others. The laws, the way people speak, their social etiquette, even their money distinguishes them and sets them apart. So does a nation's music. The music that is indigenous to Jamaica, for example, is reggae, and to Trinidad it is calypso, soca and chutney. Rap, rhythm and blues, and country music are distinctly American.

    So too, the Kingdom of God has its own distinguishing features. Hence the reason why the citizens of the Kingdom are called 'a peculiar people', 'set apart' and a 'holy nation'.

    It is vitally important that we, the sons of God, embrace fully every aspect of the culture of God's Kingdom. Some features are easily distinguishable. The law of the Kingdom of God for example, is love, and we can look to Scripture to guide us in this law. But there are other features of the Kingdom that are not as easily discerned. One particular area is music, and I believe that it is vitally important that we learn and adopt the sound that is unique to the Kingdom of God.

    The music of the Kingdom originates in the heavenly realm – not on earth – and serves only one purpose - to glorify God. It does not have an American sound, or a Caribbean, Hispanic, Asian, African or European vibe. No, the sound of worship that fills the Kingdom is as unique and distinct as each of its other characteristics. It's a sound that sets it apart as reserved for the King of Kings Himself.

    I believe that in this season when the manifestation of the Kingdom of God is imminent, we must re-examine what has until now been accepted as worship music. The pure music of the Kingdom is not a sound of a mixture of the secular and the sacred. Sacred words joined to an originally secular sound are a mixture.

    God requires that we worship Him "in spirit and in truth". A good beat or a catchy tune may be wonderfully inspirational or entertaining. Unfortunately, today many of our most popular Christian songs minister to the people instead of ministering to the Lord.

    Is it any wonder that despite the abundance of Christian music being played on the airwaves and in Christian gatherings the presence of God is sadly lacking? God inhabits and manifests Himself in true worship, and it is in His presence that souls are saved, hearts and bodies are healed and people are delivered from all kinds of oppression.

    I have personally witnessed the impact that pure worship, played through a cd player, can have on a demon possessed person. This person was manifesting demonic activity, wild-eyed and spewing curses for hours. However, as soon as that pure worship was released into the atmosphere the demon left and the person regained his composure.

    The presence and miraculous power of God is the only factor that draws unbelievers to Him. We need to reject the idea that the only way to entice them is with inspirational songs that have a familiar cultural sound.

    It is time now to diligently seek and tap in to the Kingdom of God, and let the sound of the Father's music come on earth as it is in heaven.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    ISSUES OF THE HEART: 6 - Run to Reconcile


    But when he was still a great way off, 
    his father saw him and had compassion, 
    and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 
    Luke 15:20

    Picture yourself as the father of this prodigal son.

    Months, maybe even years ago, he had suddenly demanded his inheritance. It pained you to grant his request, but you obliged, and gave it not only to him, but to his older brother also.

    It has been a heartbreaking time because of this breach between you. The pain that you have felt far outweighs any fleeting spells of anger. You’ve tried your best to make life as normal as possible, but that nagging image of him walking away, creating an ever widening gulf, has never been far from your mind.

    Then one day as you stand outside you see a small cloud of dust on the path in the distance. You know that someone is coming to your house, though you can’t quite tell who it is. But then as you look closer you recognize the shape of that body. You have never forgotten that unmistakable walk, even though it’s much slower than the last time you saw it. It’s him!!

    Forgetting your advancing years you take off in full gallop to meet him, willing your aging legs to move faster, and ignoring the protesting pains in your body. You are undaunted by the stares of neighbors and servants who are all witnessing this scene, and wondering if you will once again be subjected to another public humiliation.

    As you finally reach him you gather him into your arms and kiss him over and over again, tears of joy streaming down your face. You’re oblivious to the dirt and sweat that cake his unwashed body. It doesn’t even dawn on you to consider what his reaction would be. All you know is that you’re together again.

    THE FATHER'S LOVE
    This father had every right to be hurt and angry. He had suffered because of his son’s words and actions. Yet his reaction to his son’s return can only be described in one way – love without restraint. He didn’t wait for an explanation, an excuse or an apology. He made the first move in repairing the breach. He ran to reconcile.

    Can you picture our Heavenly Father doing the same with you? Without hesitation He draws you into Himself and offers you all that is His. His servants - the angelic host in heaven - break out in an impromptu party because you have come home! To the Father your motive for turning to Him does not matter. He knows that His unconditional love covers a multitude of your sins, and that in His presence there is healing, restoration, forgiveness, peace and joy.

    Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins. Proverbs 10:12
    Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10

    There is no doubt that this father would have been tremendously hurt because of his son’s actions. He suffered...
    • heartbreak
    • disappointment
    • humiliation
    • unmet expectations
    • financial loss
    • loss of contact
    • lovelessness
    • the son's indifference to his feelings and welfare
    • unanswered questions
    • abandonment

    Yet this man disregarded his anguish and ran to reconcile with his son.

    The action the father took was as much for himself as it was for the son. In reaching out to the prodigal the father set his own life on a course of healing and restoration. He knew that he would not be whole unless he reconciled with the very one who caused him so much pain.

    MY TESTIMONY
    Years ago there was a person who had caused me tremendous emotional pain, and for a long time I walked around with very silent, very subtle resentment and bitterness towards this individual. I thought that as long as we stayed clear of each other and I wasn't reminded of the offense, then all was well. I was a leader in the church, yet I was unaware that this breach had actually caused a domino effect.

    One day the Holy Spirit convicted me, and I picked up the phone, called and forgave this person, saying that as of that moment it was as if the offense had never occurred....and I meant it. Mind you, I could only have done this with the help of the Holy Spirit Himself!

    After that conversation I literally felt a weight lift from me – a weight that I never knew I had been carrying all along. I also hadn’t realized that the resentment that I had been harboring had affected those around me. This bitterness had spread like a cancer, affecting other relationships in my life. That was the domino effect! But once I repaired the breach those relationships improved also.

    OFFENSES WILL COME
    I’m sure that like me, someone has caused you pain by their words and/or actions. As long as we are in this world offenses will come (Luke 17:1). Maybe even now, as you read this article, the situation is yet unresolved. Can you relate to some of the suffering that the father endured?

    Sometimes you and I are the ones who commit the offense. At that time guilt, embarrassment, rationalization and fear may tempt you to do nothing, and pretend that all is well. But the Lord still requires that you obey His Word.

    IT'S A TEST
    Your reaction to a breach in a relationship is actually a test of your love for the Lord, not just for the individual you’re at odds with. Jesus said that if you love Him you will obey His commandments.

    Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words… John 14:23-24a


    Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23, 24

    For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 5:14-15

    Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation 2 Corinthians 5:18

    WHY RUN?
    This father didn’t walk slowly, he didn’t hesitate, nor did he stop in mid stride. He ran and kept on running until he reached his target. Why run?

    In the natural running bridges a gap quickly. It allows you to get from your starting point to your destination with speed. In a race, the fastest runner claims the prize. Think about it…………you hardly ever see a lazy runner! Runners usually have a goal to reach and they focus on their target. This father was serious about reaching his goal, so he ran!

    The same is true in the spiritual. Running to reconcile with someone is an indication that you are serious about  obeying God’s command. It also prevents the enemy from stepping in and doing further damage to the relationship. It's hard for satan to hit a fast moving target!

    In hurrying toward his prodigal son the father outran his own personal hurt. He outran the spirits of doubt, accusation, anger, resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness that would have hindered him had he lingered.

    I pray that as you listen to the song below, it will inspire you to
    run to reconcile!

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    ISSUES OF THE HEART - 5. What is Your Motivation?

    “But when he came to himself, he said,‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him,“Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
    Luke 15: 17-19


    It seems as if this young prodigal son had finally learned his lesson, doesn’t it? He had wasted all of his inheritance. There was an economic recession caused by widespread famine, and as he pondered his dire situation he decided to go back to his father. But did he really have a change of heart?

    The issue at hand is his motivation for returning home. Did he miss the fellowship of his brother and his father? Did he realize his folly and regret asking for his inheritance ahead of time? Did he want to make amends for the heartache he caused?

    Jesus’ parable doesn’t indicate that any of the above possibilities is true. This young man’s own words show that he was motivated by one thing – his desperation to end his crisis. His belly was empty. He could find nothing to eat, and he knew that at home there was plenty to be had. So he decided to return to his father in order to have his need met.

    Notice also that he planned to ask his father to make him a hired servant. This is a key point, and shows the son's true intentions. You see, there were two different kinds of servants - a hired servant and a bondservant.

    HIRED SERVANT
    A hired servant was someone who worked for pay and was not obligated to the boss beyond the performance of his job. In today’s time he would be like a day laborer or a temporary employee. There was not necessarily a close relationship between the boss and the servant, nor was there a long term commitment.

    The hired servant’s reward was his salary which he could use as he pleased. His life was his own. His boss could not intervene. In short, the hired servant performed a task, and the boss paid for services rendered.


    BONDSERVANT
    Master piercing bondservant's ear
    A bondservant, on the other hand, was a slave who voluntarily committed to serving his master for the rest of his life, even after he was legally free to leave. He gave up his right to determine the course of his life.

    But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever. Exodus 21:5,6

    This ceremony sealed the covenant between the master and the servant. It signified that the bondservant was not going anywhere, would be permanently attached to his master and would become a member of his household.

    The very act of piercing the bondservant's ear was a testimony of the relationship between him and his master. It indicated the bondservant's submission and trust in his master, and it showed the master's responsibility for the bondservant's wellbeing.

    Unlike the hired servant, the bondservant was not paid. The basis for the relationship was simple….love. The bondservant’s first words were, “I love my master…” However, because of his relationship with his master he had access to things in his master's household that the hired servants didn't.

    IT'S ABOUT MOTIVE
    In asking his father to make him a hired servant this young prodigal was requesting to be received back, but on his terms. This was not about love for his father or true repentance for his errant ways. It was simply a means to an end. He needed a solution to his current crisis.

    BONDED OR HIRED?
    The word “bondservant” is used several times in the New Testament. At the beginning of each of their epistles the following men identified themselves as bondservants to Jesus Christ – not hired servants.

    "Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi" Philippians 1:1

      "James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" James 1:1

      "Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" 2 Peter 1:1

      "Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ…" Jude 1:1

      JESUS - THE ULTIMATE BONDSERVANT


      Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8



      Notice that we are told to have the same mind of Christ. It is a mind of
      • humility,
      • exquisite obedience to God and
      • death to self.
      MODERN DAY HIRED SERVANTS
      In many pulpits today the focus is on what you can get from the Lord. In other words, what will your payday be like. Especially at the beginning of the year many ministers spout empty promises to desperate people with itching ears.

      Sweeping declarations are made like “this is your year for breakthrough!”, or “this is your year of abundant blessings!”.

      Often a person must do something to ensure the blessings and breakthrough are received…... give a "love" offering, purchase a product, attend a conference. The motive is the same – perform a task supposedly to appease God so that you can guarantee your payday and avert a crisis.

      MODERN DAY BONDSERVANTS
      Like Paul and the other New Testament writers, modern day bondservants have distinctive characteristics.
      An awl used to pierce a bondservant's ear
      • Their lives are not their own, but they have been bought with a price.
      • They are motivated by love for the Master, not a desire to have their felt needs met.
      • They are willing to obey God and do whatever He desires, go wherever He sends them.
      • They understand that their success is not determined by material wealth or their personal comfort level.
      • They trust the Master for their provision and protection.
      • They are prepared to endure persecution.
      • Their aim is to be more like their Master.

      WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION?
      We don’t know if this prodigal son eventually had a change of heart. But Jesus said that we can know all people by the “fruit” they bear in their words and actions. Time will always tell what the true motivation of a person is.

      If a book were to be written about you, which of the following two opening statements would more accurately describe you?
      • ____________________ (your name) a hired servant who professed Christ
      or
      • ____________________ (your name) a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ
      Copyright © 2015 AudreyCharles. All rights reserved.