Thursday, March 26, 2015

Power and Love

Power and Love have over 400 people signed up to attend. If you'd like to attend follow link for registration. I attended the school in Toledo and it was off the chart.

Early bird three more days.
http://powerandlove.org/schools/2015oh/

SCHEDULE FOR THE 2015 OHIO

SCHOOL OF POWER & LOVE

NOTE:  If Power and Love for some reason changes our conference schedule,
the FIRST thing we do us update it here.  You do not have to call us to find out if
this schedule is accurate.  When we know, you will know.  Thanks!


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22

6:00 pm — Doors open for Registration
7:00 Worship + Session #1 — Tom Ruotolo — Open to the Public**

THURSDAY, APRIL 23

9:00 Worship + Session #2 — Robby Dawkins
11:30 “Love in Action” outside the four walls and lunch
2:00 Session #3 — Robby Dawkins
4:30 “Love in Action” outside the four walls and dinner
7:00 Worship + Session #4 – Bob Hazlett — Open to the Public**

FRIDAY, APRIL 24

9:00 Worship + Session #5 — Todd White
11:30 “Love in Action” outside the four walls and lunch
2:00 Session #6 — Todd White
4:00 “Love in Action” outside the four walls and dinner
7:00 Worship + Session #7 — Robby Dawkins — Open to the Public**

SATURDAY, APRIL 25

9:00 Worship + Session #8 — Bob Hazlett
11:30 “Love in Action” outside the four walls and lunch
2:00 Session #9 — Bob Hazlett
4:30 “Love in Action” outside the four walls and dinner
7:00 Worship + Session #10 — Todd White — Open to the Public**

**An Offering will be taken at these sessions

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wow! Presence + Outreach = Huge Fun!

We've started Presence, a gathering of people primarily from our DSSM school and from our Vineyard family, that meets every second Saturday, and every last Thursday night. 

When we gather, we seek to encourage the people who attend by giving personal encouraging words and to worship together giving honor and glory to our King.

This past Saturday was off the chart. After sharing a short teaching we paired up to pray for one another. I then asked people to look around the room and see if there was someone who they felt needed encouragement or needed a specific word. I also mentioned it was ok if someone received more then one word of encouragement. My friend Liz received five encouragements that were all saying the same from five different people.

We then worshipped and leaned into Presence. 

After worship we broke up into two teams the head to University of Dayton area and to Fairfield Commons Mall. Every person who jotted a note on their Treasure Hunt sheet met and encouraged the person they noted on their sheet. We also gave each team $40.


Guy with green hat: He was encouraged that his hands were given to him as a craftsman and creativity was being released upon his life. He openly wept. It seems he was discouraged. His profession? A mechanic and a wood worker.


Family: Encouraged that God cared for them. The lady ran out the door of Burger King to thank the team for praying for her and her family. She wept as she explained they had no money and the meal being paid for meant so much for her. 


Russian: Julia, who is a Russian transplant to the USA, noted on her paper, guy on crutches, knee. Her group saw the man go into a shop next to Burger King. They ran over to the guy and Julia began to speak to the man. He noticed her accent, then asked, "What is you accent?" She said, "Russian." He lit up like a light bulb. He exclaimed, I love Russia!" He had traveled many times to her country and.... pause for effect... spoke Russian. They had a great conversation and she prayed for his knee. The odds of this happening is like a bizillian to one.

Girl in baseball cap with hair pulled through the cap wearing a pink shirt: Yep.

Mother with stoller with dogs: No dogs, just a stroller with puppy dogs as part of the decoration.

A family suddenly had Slupries spilled on their just purchased clothing: the $40 went a long way to help repair the dissapointment and all the people received accurate words of encouragement.

More 

Huge day. Huge fun. Awesome Jesus!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Imperfect people reveal The Father's love...

What is God Space? It is a space that we create by faith. It’s an atmosphere or an environment where God’s goodness, power, presence, love, and kindness can touch another human being..

The messenger is the message. It's interesting that God choses to reveal His nature through imperfect people. He always will and He always has. He chose messengers to reveal His message. 

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ester, Daniel, Jesus, the Disciples, Martin Luther King, William Wilberforce, John Wesley, John G. Lake, Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, and people like you and me embody the message. 

Amazing is this grace. Awesome is the responsibility. Joyful is the privilege. We are stewards, entrusted ones, and great is His investment in us. He invests His love and grace into us in order to flow through us.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Notice, He didn't say we would do witnessing, but we would be His witnesses and be witnesses with power.

A witness: a person who has seen, heard, or experienced something: to have personal or direct cognizance of a fact, situation, event or a person. A witness is one who attests, authenticates, testifies (to), vouches (for), one who certifies as true. A witness is one who sees, declares what they have seen, heard and experienced.

Jesus reflected the Fathers love. He was the Light, the Revealer. The disciples walked with Jesus for three years; at the end they still didn't understand. They saw and heard what Jesus said and did. They saw His compassion, His anger, His love, His friendship, His power, and were soon to see His agony, then His glory. 

Bottom line if we really see and behold Jesus, we see and behold the Father.

Scenario:
Last discourse with the disciples. A last meal. Last words of encouragement. Last action before the cross... Washing the disciples feet. Last command... Love well.

He states, "If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? 

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!                                                              

Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. 

Or at least believe because of the works you have seen me do.“                                                        John 14:7-9 (NLT)

Jesus came to reveal the Father. 
All He was and all He did revealed, reflected and pointed to the nature and character of the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Gospel of John revealed seven signs, and seven I am's. They, (the words and works of Jesus) were written to encourage people to believe Jesus was the Son of God and pointed toward the nature of a loving Father.

The seven signs:
    Changing water into wine in John 2:1-11 
    Healing the royal official's son in Capernaum in John 4:46-54
    Healing the paralytic at Bethesda in John 5:1-18
    Feeding the 5000 in John 6:5-14
    Jesus' walk on water in John 6:16-24
    Healing the man born blind in John 9:1-7
    Raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-45

The seven I am's: I am
    "the bread of life"[6:35]
    "the light of the world"[8:12]
    "the gate of the sheep"[10:7]
    "the good shepherd"[10:11]
    "the resurrection and the life"[11:25]
    "the way, the truth, and the life"[14:6] and
    "the true vine"[15:1]

Jesus reflected the Father because He was with the Father. He only did what the Father asked Him to do. He only did what He saw the Father doing. Jesus reflected His love for His Father in His final act on earth by going to the cross. See the cross, you see the love the Father has for the world. You also receive a glimpse of Jesus's great love for His Father. He loved His Father so much that He gave it all. This is amazing love!

Jesus often went to a garden in the Mount of Olives to talk to His Father .  

It was His custom... He went to the Mt. of Olives... He would leave crowds, slip away, spend time alone in His Father's Presence. 

In the same way our life disciplines / habits / customs are stepping stones that move us forward toward knowing the Father's heart.

Good habits build a bridge to help us move from where we are, toward where we want to go.

The importance of Being
The messenger is the message. We reflect who we are and who we have been with. This is why it is so important to spend time in the Fathers presence and learn to be. 

When we serve someone we reveal the love and care of our Father. When we pray for someone we reveal the love and care of our Father. When we encourage someone we reveal the love and the care of our Father. We in a very real way reveal the Father's nature. Our good deeds reflect the Father's love.

For a couple of years I prayed daily. "Jesus, you reveal the Love of the Father, please reveal the love of the Father to my heart." I also prayed, "Father,  no one can come to Jesus unless you draw them. Father please draw me closer to Jesus."

I was expecting an encounter that would come upon me and give direct revelation of the love of the Father. I thought the revelation would come during my worship time, or my prayer time or at a special meeting.  

Over time I realized as I was praying for people, I was seeing the love of the Father reflected through what He revealed and what He gave to the people I was praying for. 

One lady returned and thanked me. "I asked you to pray for a job. I now have two great jobs! Thank you for praying." 

I marvel, "Wow! Father I see your nature. I see your love. You loved her so much that you met her need abundantly beyond all we could ask or think! You are truly a loving Father."

God's love for me was revealed not by some mysterious experience, (I'm all in for those) but by her need being met through an answered prayer... through me. He reveals His love as I serve someone, or when I stop for the one. Sometimes He reveals His love as I encourage someone with prophetic insight or by giving a gift to someone.

Here's the deal. God almost always reveals His love and grace toward people... through us, His imperfect people. This is both amazing and most humbling.

The message is the messenger. The messenger is the message. 


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Messenger is the Message.


What is God Space? It is a space that we create by faith. It’s an atmosphere or an environment where God’s goodness, power, presence, love, and kindness can touch another human being..

The messenger is the message.

My friend Marc Dupont often declares this statement. I've observed his life for many years and he attempts to live what he says. His message has power because he is the real deal. Marc, the messenger is the message. http://marcdupontministries.com/

Acts 2
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 


I love this statement, "all Jesus began to do and teach." I am so glad He is alive and doing amazing things among us, and teaching us today.

3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 


The text implies Jesus showed up in their midst from time to time.

Imagine, you are with the disciples, then Jesus suddenly shows up. "Hi, guys." Some probably wondered, "When will He show up? Will it be today?" I'm sure some were startled. Maybe someone said, "Jesus, you gotta stop doing this suddenly showing up. It startles me. No I didn't know what I was saying. Please keep showing up." I think we all love it when Jesus shows up and amazing things happen. 

Acts begins by proclaiming the Kingdom of God and Acts ends with Paul continually declaring, and teaching about the Kingdom. The principle of first and last.

4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: 


“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


Notice He didn't say we would do witnessing, but we would be His witnesses and witnesses with power.

A witness: a person who has seen, heard, or experienced something: to have personal or direct cognizance of a fact, situation, event or a person. A witness is one who attests, authenticates, testifies (to), vouches (for), one who certifies. A witness is one who sees, declares what they have seen, heard and experienced as true.


Trouble
A man receives healing when Peter and John were going along their way. It's interesting most healing, miracles happened as people were simply going along their way.

One thing followed the disciples... trouble. Trouble from the religious. They are being warned, stop talking, stop healing, stop being. One aspect they did recognize, and they took note.

Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.

This is how people become a witness. In order to become a convincing witness we have to have first hand experience of being with Jesus.

John summed it up in his writing.

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life- and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us- what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. (1 John 1:1-4 NASB)

Jesus often said, "If you have seen me you have seen the Father." Why? Jesus often separated himself from the business, and busyness of ministry and went to be with His Father. Jesus had a habit, He often went  to the garden to pray, and to the Mount of Olives. What He received from the Father He proclaimed and demonstrated.

The importance of Being.  


The messenger is the message. We reflect who we are, and who we have been with. 

This is why it is so important to receive first hand knowledge and experience from Jesus in order to Be.

The Father is the great investor. He invests into us because He loves us. He gives to us because it is in His nature to give. He wants to give to us. He gives us talents, abilities, skills, and gifts to exercise according to the faith He has given us

Matthew 7: 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,

how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you; sow who you are into others for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Pastors, leaders, and many believers often do, and do and do. It is most important that we position ourselves to receive, and have a hunger to receive more.

The reality: You can’t give away what you have not received.




It’s tied to the law of inflow, outflow.

Receiving and giving is like breathing. Living in... gaining strength, energy, insight, and grace, then living out... to share your strength, energy, insight and grace in toward the people of your world.





No inflow = no outflow.
 

If there is more outflow than inflow, it will lead to your downfall.

Matthew 10:8 (NIV)
Freely you have received; freely give.


The paradox: often we receive more when we give to others from our overflow.

Luke 6:38 (NIV)
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Context: Love, forgiveness, care. Giving and receiving is tied to stewardship. We are entrusted to steward what we have by giving what we have received

Give honor; you will receive honor.
Give love; you will receive love.
Give friendship; you will receive friendship.
Give life; and you will receive life.
Give blessing; and you will receive blessing.
You are blessed in order to be a blessing. 


Nations will be blessed because you are first blessed; if you give away what you have received.

Big Idea:
Your consistent time worshiping, loving and receiving from Jesus is what is most important.


Over time we begin to serve and give out of our overflow.

Psalm 73:25 (NIV)
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.


We don't spend time with Jesus in order to have power, love and healing. We spend time with Him because of who He is. As we spend time with Him, we then begin to reveal Him.

The by product of our time with Him is often love, power, insight, and blessing in action.

One of my friends is getting ready to make a difference here in Dayton. He needs people to help him move into a new arena of service. One very influential man wants to help. Why? Seems my friend has been noticed and watched for over five years by the man. He mentioned that he had seen my friend in action. He saw his heart and his selfless lifestyle. He wants to get on board because the message my friend speaks flows from his life. 

We are the message. What we have received we give. The messenger is the message.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You've just been kissed. Kiss Dayton.

You've Just Been Kissed



How's it works...

Here's how we've done the outreach in the past.

special connect card goes into each pack
tables are located at all exits, red table cloths and fun balloons create a fun vibe.
The two weekends just before Valentines day. Our teens and children’s areas pack thousands of Hershie Kisses into small zip lock bags with our special ‘you’ve just been kissed’ connect card. People grab several of the bags as they leave the weekend services and go about kissing the people Dayton during the week.
packed by our VKidz spreading the value of kindness
 Instruction sheet helps people know what to do

 A couple of years ago I went to the gym on one of my usual gym days. (My wife tells me it’s a good thing.)

When I arrived I asked the receptionist, ‘Have you been kissed today?’ She smiled and said, ‘Nope, not today.’ I then gave her a pack said, ‘Well you’ve just been kissed.’ She laughed and exclaimed, ‘You’re from the Vineyard right?’ I replied, ‘Yep. We are kissing people all over the city this week.’



Here's another example of what we've done:

On Valentines Day we head out to a couple of strip malls near the Vineyard. We take the packs of kisses, and several buckets of carnations. We pop into the businesses and head to the customer service desk and ask, ‘How many ladies are working today?’

We then count out the flowers and Hershey packs…and say, ‘We are from the Vineyard and you’ve just been kissed.’

Usually some of the other assistants are around and join in the exchange. Often, a male worker will ask for a carnation for his girlfriend or wife. Some guys say, ‘Thanks for the reminder.’


Most people are open, curious, laugh and catch the vibe.


One Vineyard group went to a high end Spa/Hair place, all of the working ladies gathered to receive their flower. ‘Who are you guys? Others exclaim, ‘This is so cool.’ Or sigh, ‘This will be my only present today.'Flowers and kisses were also handed out to the ladies who were becoming beautiful-er.


One of the team noticed one of the ladies getting her hair cut didn't receive a flower. So being the sensitive, thinking person she is, made an extra special effort to find another team grab a flower and run back to the shop...when she gave the lady the flower, the surprised and delighted lady exclaimed, 'You've just made my day! Thank you.'

Really? Made her day? Makes me wonder what one of her days looks like? Makes me wonder if she was ever loved, or had a caring boy friend, or had husband, or is now connected to an uncaring guy?


What's in a gift of a small flower and a pack of kisses?


I think serving others in a fun, creative way sends an upbeat message to the people in our stressed out world.Serving others often is a small action that sends a signal that says, ‘Hey, someone cares for you.’ The action preformed with genuine love somehow touches the heart.

My friend Scott, says, ‘Agape love revealed… means my love is demonstrated as I serve others through the choices I make, and by the actions I take.’ 

Process for Kiss Dayton:
4 weeks out: have connect cards printed (www.marketplaceprinting)

4 weeks out: order Hershey Kisses (snacc foods Cincinnati)

4 weeks out: order 4”X4” zip bags (BGR bags West Chester OH)

4 weeks out: order boxes of Carnations for pick up (Cleveland Plants and Flowers Dayton)

2 weeks out: have kids or teens pack the bags
 
Week of: have packs placed at all exitsValentine Day Outreach
3 days out: pick up flowers, cut stems and place in buckets of water so they will be open on the day

3 days out: design maps with instructions and contact phone numbers

3 days out: make name tags
3 days out: gather Kiss packs and place in a larger bags for transport or containers

Day of Valentines Day Outreach
Gather at 10am

Give Instructions: go to shops, go to check out or customer service, ask, How many ladies are working today, count out Kisses packs and flowers give to workers, Say,
‘We’re from the Vineyard and you’ve just been kissed.’ Also, be open to God's leading and offer pray with people as *God space is created. Divide up into teams Load up and head out.
After project head to Caribou Coffee, or Starbucks for download and great java.

 

Steve Bowen

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mindset, Mind set, It matters.

This last year was an interesting one. Began in February. Jesus began pruning me. I didn't find out what was going on until June. Then I began to see and understand.

It's been difficult, painful, and confusing all at the same time. When the penny dropped, "O that's what's going on." I decided I would continue; even kick up my time in the Big Room. Worship, wait, read, lay on the floor and play my guitar. I am contending for His Name and for His Fame. I have a ministry to an audience of One and am learning that He is all I need.  He is the One who rescued me and everything else is considered rubbish. (not there yet)

In the mean time, and it's been a mean time. I've fluctuated, getting some of  what I was supposed to get ... humility... and then being almost in despair. I can identify much with many Psalms. 

On a interesting note. I've seen more power in my life to help people and I have seen more healing and encouraging words flow.

Three Friends speak the truth i love:
Three people spoke into my life in this season. Jimmy, from Scotland, was real helpful. I'm grateful he is a kind straight shooter. I'm still learning I'm not "dead meat" yet. It's taking some time. Maybe that's why we are encouraged to take up the cross daily.

When you are fully dead, stuff doesn't bother you, or at least doesn't bother you as much.

If you are not dead, ego and emotion and self rise. I've been amazed how much self / ego / pride / death is in me especially when offended by situations, people's remarks and digging potatoes. See full post on digging potatoes: stevebowen.blogspot.com/2014/04/digging-potatoesa-way-of-life.html

Steven had a good word for me concerning my mind set. He encouraged me that my mindset needed renewing and changing. My mind was set on the wrong set of values. In other words, he told me I needed to repent in a nice way. 

Repentence is is changing your mind set which changes your attitude and actions. 

So, the next day became one long session of coming to Jesus and coming clean. You know it all, you see it all, you hear it all. I changed my mind by confessing and repenting. I'm working on a new set to think upon. I'm also reading Steve Backlund's book Victorious Mindsets thanks to Steven passing it on.

Marc and I then had a chance meeting which was really a set up. We talked for a couple of hours. He is developing some thinking around the danger of consulting your soul instead of connecting to the Life Giver. Easily done, especially if you have a series of pity parties, compaining fits, or don't tell your soul, mind, will and emotions to get a grip, or if someone offends you and you want rise up and get your own back. He emailed an article to me which I found extremely helpful and timely which is at the bottom of this ramble.

It interesting all three basically said, and are saying the same thing and bringing encouragement and correction to me in a way I can handle it. Two spoke to me face to face and spoke to me gently.

Jimmy lives in Scotland so, he kindly messaged and encouraged me.

All three I know personally, and I know they care about me and want me to end well. Ending well?... Actually I'm hopeful the best is yet to come. 

What I'm trying to say is that listening to people who care about you is important, as is the process of learning humility and allowing Jesus to have his way. Sometimes we think it's man doing bad things to us, when in reality it's the discipline and love of our Father.

Jesus spoke to his disciple "as they could hear him." Sometimes we become so entrenched in our own self and our sense of entitlement we can't hear anyone, much less change our mind. It's taken awhile but I think I'm now on track. I know these guys will let me know if I'm not and I'm grateful.

Here is the article: 


The Danger of Despair

Author: 
Steve Gallagher

Since time immemorial the devil has used discouragement to weaken believers’ defenses against the temptation to sin. Discouragement—which can befall the godliest of saints—can easily lead to self-pity. Once a person begins to feel sorry for himself, he becomes easy prey for the enemy. The lives of Asaph and Cain demonstrate two different and opposite ways to respond when things go wrong.
Asaph, a Levite, was appointed as worship leader by King David because of his great love for God and his ability to lead others into His presence. And yet, Psalm 73 recounts the story of how he became discouraged one day and nearly got himself into real spiritual trouble. “My feet came close to stumbling,” he later confessed, “my steps had almost slipped.” Asaph almost slid into a pit of depression and despair when he began to focus on “the prosperity of the wicked.”
“They are not in trouble as other men,” he lamented to himself, “nor are they plagued like mankind.” Asaph could not reconcile the fact that “the wicked” seemed to be blessed, while he seemed to have nothing but troubles. “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence; for I have been stricken all day long and chastened every morning.”
Asaph’s discouragement nearly set his feet on the slippery path of self-pity. With his attention focused on the prosperity of the wicked, he began to question the goodness of God. One more precarious step in this direction could have been disastrous, but Asaph was a man who knew his God. “When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God…”
Many years later, the prophet Habakkuk would struggle with the very same question. Ultimately, he too found the way out of discouragement by getting his eyes back on the Lord. “Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines,” he wrote, “yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.” (3:17-18)
Godly people discover that the way out of the discouragements of life is always by focusing their minds back on “the beauty of the Lord.” They understand that this world belongs to the enemy; that they were created for another world. Thus, rather than turning inward to self, they turn to the Lord in the midst of discouragement. Asaph’s entire perspective brightened when he got his eyes off himself and onto the Lord. “Whom have I in heaven but You?” he exclaimed. “And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Asaph’s and Habakkuk’s responses contrast strikingly with that of Cain. He, too, faced a difficult situation, but rather than respond in the right way, he became increasingly embittered over God’s dealings with him.
Cain was clearly a religious man, evidenced by the fact that he willingly arrived at the appointed time with an offering. Unquestionably, his sacrificial gift came at a very real and personal cost. Nevertheless, the Lord rejected his offering for one very important reason: Cain’s religious life was not founded upon faith, submission and love to the Lord, but in self-works.
“The way of Cain,” as Jude later coined it, denotes the underlying attitude of entitlement—that each act of sacrifice is a great gift to God deserving recognition and praise. There are many in the Church today who exhibit this self-centered agenda. When God withholds His blessing, or allows suffering of any kind into their lives, they start feeling sorry for themselves. “Look at all I have given up for the Lord,” they trumpet indignantly. “I go to church every Wednesday and twice on Sunday. I’ve paid my tithes for many years. And this is the thanks I get?!” Rather than seeing all that God has done for them, all they can see is what they have done for Him. Blinded by self-righteousness and self-pity, they view themselves as His benefactors, instead of sinful wretches unworthy of grace and mercy.
God, in His infinite holiness, must reject, and always has rejected, such self-centered religion. When He refused to accept Cain’s offering, we are told that Cain “became very angry and his countenance fell.” In other words, he plummeted into a depression. He sat down in a heap of self-pity and sulked—the first biblical instance of someone throwing a temper tantrum.
Cain’s attitude can be summed up in the distressing words of the unprofitable servant (in the parable of the talents): “I knew you to be a hard taskmaster.” And so God always seems to those who live in self-will. They fully expect Him to bless their plans and when He doesn’t—or when things go wrong—they rise up in anger with Him. He seems like a “hard taskmaster,” a demanding boss who cannot be satisfied. This attitude, if persisted in, leads to self-pity, which in turn, paves the way for deeper, more grievous sins.
The Lord saw that Cain was in great spiritual danger. In spite of the blasphemous accusations churning in Cain’s heart, the Lord graciously reached out to him. “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?” At that point, Cain’s situation was still comparable to those of Asaph and Habakkuk. Had he responded with the same faith, obedience and humility they exhibited, he, like them, would have climbed right out of his pit of despair.
The Lord then proceeded to show Cain exactly what to do, reinforcing His instruction with a warning of the danger he was in: “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Simply put, God was giving Cain a chance to repent of his attitude. If he continued in prideful self-will, he would be powerless to resist the provocations toward evil of the enemy lurking nearby. Cain, regrettably, chose to remain locked in a prison of SELF, nursing his “grievances.” Self-pity turned to anger, which quickly gave place to rage. And rage, pursued to its end, led to murder.
The temptation Cain faced, and ultimately succumbed to, was toward violence. Self-pity distances a person from the Lord and increases his vulnerability to the enemy’s lures. Once a person throws a pity party, he will find that he has very little strength to withstand temptation.
The next time you find yourself discouraged over some difficult situation, turn to the Lord. You will find that as you “set your mind on things above,” you will be lifted right out of the doldrums! On the other hand, if you start giving over to self-pity, beware that “sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you.”

Steve Gallagher is the Founder and President of Pure Life Ministries. He has dedicated his life to helping men find freedom from sexual sin and leading Christians into the abundant life in God that comes through deep repentance.
Copyright © 2014 by Pure Life Ministries. Permission is granted to use, copy, distribute, or retransmit information or materials on this page, so long as proper acknowledgment is given to Pure Life Ministries as the source of the materials, and no modifications are made to such material.


Friday, January 02, 2015

Sticks and stones, words...


 1 Samuel 16 David was going along with his servants and with his mighty men. As they were walking a man suddenly appeared ad began to curse David to throw rocks and dirt. David's men, and his servants all saw what was happening to their king. They also were stoned and had dirt thrown upon them. One of his mighty men wanted to chop the guys head off. David replied, "Let him be, perhaps he was to sent to curse me and perhaps God will hear him and bring blessing upon me." The cursing, rock, and dirt throwing man followed them from a hillside continuing to curse and to throw stones and dirt. They arrived dirty, weary, and bruised. David then refreshed himself.

Ever had rocks, dirt and curses thrown at you?

David a man after God's own heart.

David humbled himself, did not retaliate and acknowledged God. He knew that His God was swift to bless. In the midst of cursing and being pummeled by rocks, and dirt he still believed God was good. When they arrived at their destination David cleaned himself up and refreshed himself. I personally believe he paused to worship. 

Following Jesus may sometimes mean we will have stones and dirt and cursing thrown at us. Our response is all important. 

Jesus 
"Love Your Enemies
You have heard that it was said, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 
so that 
you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; 

for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28 NASB)

The word mistreat can mean: despitefuly use you, insult you, hurt you, revile you, or accuse you falsely.

Jesus our example
But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, 
that you should follow in his steps. 

He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:20-24 NIV)

Jesus endured much, think about His journey toward the cross, verbal abuse and anger was hurled at him continually yet, He humbled himself and kept (this was an on going act of faith) entrusting Himself to the One who judges justly. 

You who are without sin cast the first stone.
A woman was caught in sin, accused, condemned and ready to be stoned. The men were right according to the law to stone her for her actions, however mercy prevailed from the merciful One. Jesus said to her accusers "Whoever among you is without sin cast the first stone." They all left one by one. I often wonder how long He wrote in the sand? How long did it take for the men to realize they too had sinned and were worthy of being stoned?


Go low.
A year or so ago I heard through the grapevine that someone was defaming me, speaking bad things about me; generally running me down. People would come to and would begin to tell me what was being said. I would say, "Stop. I do not want to know." 

My spirit was troubled, my emotions at times were ragged, and I was very concerned. I decided to humble my soul and to pour out my heart to Jesus. I often prayed, "You see it all. You hear it all. You know it all." I chose not to confront and to entrust my soul to Him who judges justly and to extend mercy. I also prayed for mercy and grace for the person and spoke blessing.

Often, I simply worshipped, and many times I just laid on the floor. During this time I was attending a major conference. In the sessions of worship I knew I needed to go low so I found a place and laid on the floor.

During this season I also discovered He knew everything about me. He saw it all. He heard it all. He knew it all. I was humbled, convicted, yet loved. 

During one of my times of worship I saw the humility of Jesus while singing and meditating on Phil 2. I was undone. God became flesh and humbled Himself every moment He lived on the planet, then He went to the cross... for me. He was, and is the Humble One.

Such humility I see.
Such humility amazes me.
Such humility for all to see.
Such humility amazes me.
Such humility You gave it all for me.
Such humility, amazes me.

Stones, dirt, cursing and vengeance  are common. Humility, mercy, and trust, not so much.

As hard as is might be, especially when we are on the receiving end, we are called to something higher. KYLO