Devotions

To go from calm to chaos in a few minutes is anger outside and inward.Jesus took the sea from chaos to calm in seconds by His authoritative Word. His Word must flow through us and move the obstructions from us.

James 1:19-20 reminds us to be quick to hear (listen to what each other is saying),slow to speak and slow to anger; for anger does not work the righteousness of God.

II Corinthians 3:13-18

Change – To cause to be different after transforming. To give a completely different form.

Is it bad? No, it depends who’s in charge of the change. The Lord doesn’t change – Malachai 3:6.

Unveiled face, not under the law of Moses. Moses’ glory faded but God’s won’t.

“Meta morpheo” – change form and transform.

“Meta” is change after being with.
“Morpheo” is changing form in keeping inner reality transfigured.

I Corinthians 3:8-11

Culture – soil of a church. Build on someone else; Builder in Christ.
New plant – pastor plants culture with a vision.
Established plant – pastor inherits culture.

Because I was in church as an attendee to begin with and saw difficult transition of hope to hurt within a short time, I told committee that I don’t believe the appropriate response would ever be to plow people over.

To tend a garden, enrich the soil – be watchful in prayer as dirt is uprooted. In God’s time He will focus us upward – and outward. I see it happening. Not just patronizing people to get them to work.

To build on foundation, take heed. “Bleop” to look at, discern, be watchful. “Tekton” – chief artisan, idea, crafts structure.

Foundation word is “themelios” – belonging to foundation stone; laid down, First beginnings, principles. Word “laid” is “Keimai” – lie, be laid in ground. Word “grace” –“charin” – wise builder – architecture – master builder.

Another “builds” on it – “eporkodomeo” – build upon foundation; “eo”’ – is apt, fitting; “oikodomeo’ – build up, edify.

Take heed how we build in what manner according to His architectural plan.

Text: Judges 6:11 – 8:35

In this day of church growth seminars, where leaders are looking as to how they can “grow the church”, there are some checks and balances useful to keep in mind.

One of them is the cleansing factor and the other is the boot camp premise:

The cleansing factor is that which cleans out the church, giving it a better yield for righteousness and souls (righteousness should precede everything); the boot camp factor are those situations where the discipline of life and mind screen out those who are causing a clot in the body of Christ, and by that, they are inhibiting the growth of numbers and spiritual life.

In that spirit, the path of growing the church includes those times when it seems to be going backwards; numbers go down.

It is like the story of Gideon in Judges 6:11 – 8:35. Gideon was a judge and honored of the Lord (6:11 –12): “The Lord is with you, oh mighty man of valor”. This was said to him by “The Angel of the Lord” – that physical manifestation of the second person of the Godhead – The Son. More important than who comes – although numbers represent souls and we understand that, it is more important if God is with us. It is more vital to please God than man.

We may ask, as was asked here: If God is on our side, why are we having these difficulties (verse 13)? God’s presence, the presence of light and power, is going to expose darkness and force those shadows to flee. A better statement is this: Are we on God’s side? It’s not, Lord, bless what we’re doing, but Lord, help.

Here God doesn’t specifically answer that question, because it isn’t the issue. He tells Gideon: Go in thy might (I didn’t know I had any – you don’t know until you have to utilize it) – you will save them – verse 14. Have I not sent thee? Gideon is an apostle in this sense – one summoned by eternity to bring heaven’s message here.

He is to deal with the poor (vs 15 – a common thread throughout Bible), and the promise is that God will be with him as he fights, wins as one man. Gideon has the end of the story already…he will win when he fights as one man, but that one man has to be narrowed from a mighty group. For those who are dedicated to righteousness in following the Master, the battle will to fight as one; to do what God is blessing…and then the souls will come in.

First year – Interim: Turning over soil: discipline.
Second year – Supply: enrich the soil.
Third year – Official: plant seeds and water.
Fourth year – Growth: mature plant, strong stem and healthy leaves. Seed casings split open and we have new life – resurrection.
Eden – planted a garden.

Matthew 13:18 – 23: 4 types of soil

Sown on side of the road. – vs 18 – 20: never took it to the path of understanding.
Sown on rocky places – vs 20 – 21: no root in self – can’t withstand trials, hears but doesn’t do.
Sown among thorns – vs 22: worries choke or cut off the Word – no fruit.
Sown on good soil – vs 23: hears, understands, bears fruit and brings forth 30, 60, 100 fold fruit.

Mark 3: 13-15

We all pray out of our concerns, wishes, and burdens, yet as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ – and as church leaders, in particular, we are summoned by Christ Himself and vested with His authority in prayer.

God has been speaking to me privately about this lately – that I don’t need to just pray my will or wishes for the church and its people; I can pray with the authority that God has given to me as the shepherd on behalf of the need presented.

This would be the same for us as a Board, when we pray over people in the services, or our respective ministries and responsibilities. For instance, Sunday School teachers who minister to children would have a unique authority in prayer for them. Teachers can pray their desire for the children, but more importantly, God can enable teachers to pray in His stead.

In Mark 3, we find Jesus on the mountain, which is where the bulk of the important events occur in the Bible (the giving of the 10 Commandments, offering of Issac, the Beatitudes, the Transfiguration, Calvary, The Ascension). This reminds us that God speaks from the higher place, so we should always look upward to His vantage point.

Verse 13 says Jesus summoned His disciples. The word “summoned” is the Greek word “proskaleo”, meaning “to call to” Christ. A summons is a legal term in a legal process of calling one to court, and that summons cannot be refused. Notice that it says “Jesus called who He wanted”. Of course, Jesus loves everyone and wants all saved, but for those who will be ministering on His behalf, He summons those he wants. It’s great to be wanted by the Savior.

Verse 14 says that Jesus “appointed” the twelve apostles (now they are not only disciples which are “disciplined learners”kj after the Lordship of Christ, they are apostles meaning “sent out ones as envoys” for The Master). The word “appointed” is the Greek word “poieo”, meaning “to make, do, construct, make a different thing into two (that multiplying creation of God), and to change into another”. Those whom God appoints for service should first be touched by the message that they share; we should be living testimonies of the very words we present, for if it doesn’t touch us, how will it touch others?

Verses 14 and 15 highlight the first tri-purpose of Christ’s declaration of their apostleship: 1) to preach, which is the Greek word “kerusso” meaning “herald, proclaim, announce” (it wasn’t to do fund raising or even evangelism, per say). We first preach the resurrected and sovereign Christ in the vertical part of the cross and then focus on the horizontal bar of reaching out; 2) to have “authority to cast out devils”. The term “authority” is the Greek word “exousia” and means “power to act, moral authority”. It is the power of attorney on behalf of those who are in bondage, fetters, and chains. There are people who cannot pray for themselves, just as Lazarus needed another to take off his grave clothes. I was the medical power of attorney for my cousin because she could make a decision, but not recall it. According to the law, one needs to be able to reference their legal choices. Remember that in prayer we ask God and tell the devil. We never say: “demon, would you leave, please?” We don’t request; we command on Christ’s authority, although we must be careful to pray in a humble, contrite manner; 3) we add Matthew 10: 1 here, since it is relayed in this portion of scripture that Jesus says “to heal every kind of sickness”. How much of sickness is demonic sourced? It seems there is a connection here, but as the late Dr. Adrian Rogers said: “People are praying Christians out of heaven (meaning praying for healing as their only focus), as opposed to praying sinners out of hell”. While we do believe and trust God for healing – and will continue to take authority over illness, infirmities, etc., we know the balance of God’s word would remind us to pray for lost souls, as well.

The term “cast out” is the Greek word “ekballo”. “Ek” means “out of” and “ballo” means “to cast, throw, banish”. When we are faced with casting out demons – which Jesus knew these apostles would be facing shortly, we cast, throw them away from that individual and in Jesus Name, send them away. Let Jesus handle their new address.

The interesting contrast here are the “sent ones” or apostles, summoned by Christ to act on His behalf, versus the demons who are “sent packing” by the authority in Christ.

Please keep in mind that we all have hearts of prayer and that is wonderful. Just be ready to sense that power from The Author and pray His authority through His Word.

John Wesley became a missionary from the Anglican Church to the United States – specifically, the state of Georgia. He went back to England after a time period and still wasn’t converted himself. He had come to share the message of holiness, but it wasn’t until 1738 when he again was influenced by some Moravian missionaries, that he felt his heart strangely warmed and he became a believer at age 33.

Now, almost 300 years later, the Northern Province (the largest of the three provinces in U.S. and Canada) of the Moravian denomination voted to approve gay ordination and include a provision to revise their Northern Province Book of Order to include it.

Half of the million members of the Moravian denomination live in Africa. Couple that with the American Anglican denomination taking away a ministerial license of one who married his partner and then revised that decision. The same is occurring in the United Methodist denomination, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Church of Christ, etc.

It seems the wagons are circling around the denominational beliefs that came from or influenced John Wesley.

How shall we conduct our lives – personally and in ministry in that order. Philippians 1:27-28 reminds us of this:

In verse 27 the first word “worthy” is the Greek word “axious”, meaning worthily, in a manner fitting, suitable. It is the root of the word axis. We must be founded on Christ and His Word, not on the words of this culture.

The second word of “conduct” is the Greek word “politeuesthe” (pronounced pol-it-yoo’-om-ahee), meaning to “live as a citizen, fitting the world in which we live”. The words police and polite come from this root word. We should police our behavior and practice politeness as we disagree with the increasing debauchery coming forth.

The last word I’m dealing with is from the same verse: “strive”. It is the Greek word “sunathleo”, and it means “compete, cooperate”. The word “sun” means “with” and “athleo” means “contend, wrestle, engage”. It’s where we get our word athlete. We need to compete together – and like in marriage, we need to complete each other, more than compete, but we are engaged in this battle and we strive not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.

Let’s stay at the cross and follow holiness, without which we will not see the Lord.

Here is a quick word study on the word “encourager”. Inside the word encourager is the word “courage”. One might think you do not need courage to be an encourager, but that is not necessarily true.

Sometimes a person who needs encouragement does not see any ray of light or may even be hostile to positive reinforcement, so it takes courage to see beyond the playing field of sorts, presenting what God can do for that individual.

We also can encourage based on our own experience, though the Scripture tells us to encourage daily. Our experience is real to us, of course, valid as God uses the lessons learned. God’s Word, though, is full reality and needs no person to validate it; it is its own reward.

Just thought I’d send this to you as you are a cheerleader for so many. I know it is not always easy, but remember that God is cheering you on (so am I).

With your help, I can advance.
Against a troop – “gegdud’ – band, troop of robbers, soldiers.
With My God – My Elohim.
I can scale a wall and get on the other side.
To leap – “dalaq” – spring, leap over walls, brush, thorns.
Word for wall is “shur or shoor”.

German wings flight 449525, Airbus A320 smashed into French Alps. It was sabotage. The aircraft gently leveled its cruising altitude to 38,000 ft. The Captain of the flight hands command to Lubitz. Co- pilot who is left alone in cockpit. As soon as they reached the French coast, Lubitz initiated an unapproved straight-line descent. Quickly they reached the rate of up to 4,000 ft per second. Transponder data shows that the autopilot was reprogrammed during the flight by someone inside the cockpit to change the altitude.   It was a deliberate action.  He selected a lower and lower altitude – down to 100 feet – direction unchanged. Lubitz wouldn’t give the pilot access back into the cockpit even though he could hear the pilot at the door; double locks inside the cockpitControllers sent electronic squawk – code 6700 – opportunity for emergency landing; no response, though breath of co-pilot is hear as stable, no medical emergency. The plane went from 38,000 ft. to 100 ft. into Alps; suicide by plane.

Sometimes we having “done all” to stand and sometimes to pursue enemy, soldier, or weapon, using change. Eph. 6:13

Never get too comfortable when things are going good. Don’t be cynical, but be aware so you can advance.

John 21:20-22:

“Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved (John the Apostle) following; which also leaned on His breast at supper, and said “Lord, which is he that betrayeth Thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus: Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me”.

Don’t try to fit them into your plans; be ready to yield them to God’s plan.

I am heartbroken that I could not have been there for our beloved Ed, who we affectionately call King Edwin the First. Ed was number three (3) on the hit parade of the charter membership of Roslyn Park Wesleyan Church. The one English word that captures him is “gentleman”; gentle of the heart and soul, never forgetting his faith, family or church family, Brigadeer Boys and other outreaches.

The Greek word that comes closest to meekness (one of the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:23) is “praus”. This word means great strength under control, and no spirit of revenge and is balanced in temper and passion.

Read Psalms 25:8-14 and you will see why I include Ed among Moses, Abraham and our Savior, Jesus, whose meekness will bring you through this passage of time. King Edwin the first passed into life with the King of Kings on Halloween, the very night years ago when he and others were almost arrested outside a cemetery. We are forever changed by the influence of this man who prayed in King James language and never stopped seeking souls for the Master. I am proud to have been his pastor.

Love never dies.

Daniel 1:1, 6-7; 3:19-25

Three types of fire:

Ground – through the soil, where the fire enriches organic substance;
Surface – through dead brush and removes debris field to lessen combustion;
Crown – hits to the tops of shrubs and trees, removing shade and clear view of sky.

Three Hebrew children:

Shadrach: Babylonian name means: Command of Moon God. Hebrew name Hananniah means: Yahweh is Gracious.
Meshach: Babylonian name is variation of Mishalku: Who is What Aku is (one of the gods of Babylon). Hebrew name: Mishel means: Who is like Yahweh?

Abednego: Babylonian name means: Servant of Nebo/Nabu (another god of time).  Hebrew name is Azariah (Yahweh Has Helped).

These names remind us that the gods of this world work out of the moon or night and have no light, plus we will learn who the real God is, and how only He can help. We’ll understand Yahweh here as the person of Jesus Christ – name Jesus means “God helps”.

We’ll also see how the fire will protect the history/heritage of the Hebrew men, while burning up the shackles and debris in the way, and this fire will also clear the sky, so Yahweh is the Only One seen.

The anger and rage of Nebuchadnezzar means: be agitated, quiver, shake, perturbed. He was combustible in himself and the fuse was his pride.

Throwing them into the fire, he sees the fourth person – God in human form, Jesus Christ – the pre-existent Christ.

I received word that our concern for the firefighters of the city of Spring Lake Park has made an impression on the Fire Chief.

The Fire Chief was talking to the associate Battalion Chief, who happens to be my sister-in-law Barb’s nephew (I didn’t tell Barb or my brother what we are planning on doing, because I wanted it to go through the proper channels first) and the chief said this:

“For a pastor, she’s pretty cool”. I have relayed to both the police and fire chief that, as the leaders of their respective rank, they have more stress and need additional prayer support and we want to thank them personally, as well. I am grateful that my brother and sister-in-law could hear this independently of me, so it is another testimony of the great heart of this church. I couldn’t be so cool if I didn’t have so many “fans” (so sick).

No matter when I am able to facilitate this barbeque – and the subsequent relationship of prayer support, God is preparing the soil of their hearts to know they need rescue from time to time.

Thanks for your support of this effort and we’ll trust God’s timing and open doors to the helpers of this community.

Scripture: II Corinthians 3:5

It is easy in church work to think that it all depends upon us, and while God’s call and gifting put us in His place of stewardship, it is vital to remember that there is a supernatural component here; namely, that the Lord prepares and presents us to fulfill our service to Him.

In this portion of scripture, it says:

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves….” The word “sufficient” is “hikanos” – meaning, “sufficient, fit “, from “hikos”, “to arrive, come to reach, attain”.

Who helps us attain – reach our place of service? Christ!

It says that we do not “reckon” ourselves as fit or sufficient. This is not brow beating or negating our life or gifts. Humility is not putting ourselves down; it is lifting up Jesus and bowing to Him. Acts 10:15: “Do not call unclean what I have cleansed” – includes us.

Our fitness is from “the” theos – the God (again, the definite article).

In the Greek word ”hikos”, think of the word “hiking” – a spiritual fitness of sorts. Who gets up the mountain, sustains us in the valley, and places a level place ahead of us?

Who makes us equal to any task He puts before us? He does, because we are yoked together with Him and He does the greater work.

That’s the spiritual component.

Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2

After reflecting on last weekend’s double header, as well as many of the functions we’ve held at the church, it dawned on me as to one word that I can see as a definite description of our collective purpose here: hospitality.

And while you may initially think that this is more social than spiritual, please listen first to what the scripture says and see how it may reflect us more than you think:

Romans 12:13 has these main words –

We are to share with the needs of the Lord’s people. The Bible is clear that we meet the needs of the House of God, as well as outside “needs”. The word needs is the Greek word “chreiais”, meaning “business, necessity, what’s needed for sustenance”. It is the same word Jesus used when he said for them to bring the donkey – “I have need of them”, in Matthew 21:3. It is in keeping with the shepherd’s psalm, as well “…I have everything that I need….”

To “share” is the Greek word “koinonountes”, from “koinoneo”, meaning “have a share of”. We are not to give everything away, but to share what God has given. It is the same word from where we get the word “church” (koinia) – “fellowship”.

Hospitality (notice word inside is hospital) is the Greek word “philoxenian”, meaning “a love of strangers”. “Philo” is the love of a friend, and “xenos” means “stranger”. This church has historically invited people into their hearts and homes, trying to be a rest stop on the road of life.

It says we are to practice it. “Practice” is the Greek word “diokontes”, meaning “put to flight, pursue, aggressively chase, as a hunter”.

Hebrews 13:2 adds this; doing this, we may be entertaining angels unaware. “Entertain” is the Greek word “xenizo” means “receive as a guest, surprise”. It comes from the word “xenos”, meaning “foreigner”. Here the host is startled by the recipient.

It is similar to Genesis 18:2, where Abraham serves The Angel of the Lord.

Let’s be in prayer how the Lord wants to reveal Himself further in our midst.

Related to the Music Recital at Living Springs – Saturday, May 3, 2008 – 3 p.m.

How many of you, that are music students, have accidently sat on your music and squashed it, making it look like an accordion? Can you imagine sitting on an instrument and ruining it, deforming it?

There was a trumpet player named John Birks Gillespie, who one night had some musicians over at his house. Now John was a fun- loving guy, who when he played the trumpet, had cheeks that looked like he had two bubbles of gum blowing up in each cheek. They always looked like they would pop at some point. Anyway, at his house that night, someone accidentally sat on his trumpet and bent the bell upward.

Now this instrument was his livelihood and he could have looked down in anger and terror, but Mr. Gillespie, aka Dizzy, known for his fun-loving antics, picked up the trumpet and started playing it. He found that he liked it even better, because the bell turning upward helped him hear the sound quicker.

Therefore, Dizzy had his new trumpet designed that way and he became famous for that trumpet.

Do you know that we each are an instrument meant for God’s use, but that sin flattened us and rendered us deformed? So God looked down and took His Son Jesus to the cross, so He could fix the sin problem and in so doing, turned the bell of freedom upward, so we would look to Jesus for our salvation.

Upon accepting that gift that Jesus gave us, we become an instrument used by God to bring Him praise. People can still see our crushed side sometimes, but only God can make Amazing Grace to come forth from broken lives.

Sin flattened us, but Jesus brought us back to life. Let’s be an instrument for His glory! Calvary cleared the way for God to hear us. Let’s hear His Word today!

Luke 5:1: People pressed in to hear the words of Jesus.
He stood by a lake – Genneseret in Tiberias – John 21 :1 – in Galilee.
Saw two ships. Saw them as pulpits. Went to Simon Peter’s (vs. 3) washing nets.
Go farther out He asked.
Taught him to go beyond comfort zone.
Requested Simon. In vs 4 – go deep – haul big.
Verse 5 recounts Simon saying Master = word is “Epistates” = commander in authority. “We toiled all night. We know the area.“ – word is” Kottla Jautes” – work hard, struggle, strive. Simon continues, “We took nothing”… – word is: “dudev ou” = nothing; but at Your authority I’ll let down the net.”
Only thing Peter did was to clean the net. He didn’t know who was going to use it.
Word net = “diktua” = purpose to catch fish.

Our part is to stay clean.

What is the Holy Spirit telling us? In the right area, go deeper, deeper in Me, under My authority. When I tell something, do it.

God uses our frustration to show His excellence.

D.L. Moody said “I’d rather be able to pray than be a great preacher.”

Jesus Christ never taught His disciples to preach, but only how to pray.

It’s not telling God; it’s inviting Him to take control.

P – Place
R – Reason
A – As
Y – Yield
E – Everything
R – Returned

Preaching is the word; prayer is in the wind.

In Matthew 6:5, 6  the word for pray:”proseuxomai’; “pros” is towards, exchange; “euxomai” – to wish or pray.

Nature reminds us that when trees or plants bud and flower, there will be pruning in the near future. Too many thick bushes of growth weigh down plants and keep new life from occurring.

P = Puncture
R = Rip (that was going good)
U = Under, out of sight
N = Notice it – it doesn’t look orderly
E = Eliminate – remove deadness

Deadness that wears us down – Galatians 6:9

Word – “ekkakeo” – faint, weary.
Word- “ek” – out of;
Word- “kakos” – inwardly bad; negatively influenced, exhausted; spiritless.

Don’t give up – “ekluo” – loose, release, succumb to.

Galatians 1:16-17

This portion is Paul’s recollection of his call and subsequent seeking of the Lord.

This epistle, written 17 years after Paul was converted (2:1, 1:18), was a letter dealing with resisting the remnants of the law, which had been fulfilled in Christ.

Paul’s journey here reflects that three years after a point in his new life, he went to Jerusalem to acquaint himself with Cephas – Peter, and the Lord’s brother, James.

Paul knew that he would need reference from the leaders of the early church.

Afterwards, the Bible says he did not go back to Jerusalem and meet with the leaders there, nor did he go to Damascus to be instructed by the disciples there.

Instead, he went to Arabia, a peninsula of Asia, near Africa – a district south of Palestine. Arabia is 1/3 size of the continental USA.

It is the region where the giving of the law occurred at Sinai, as well as the wilderness wanderings.

I find it interesting that when Paul goes to dwell on his call, he doesn’t go to the religious center or to those with whom he will serve.

He first goes to the wilderness, so to speak, to hear from the mount of God, on behalf of the followers who are wandering in the wilderness of returning to the law. The wilderness was the journey from the law and bondage in Egypt; God wants us to go forward personally and as a church.

Arabia, by the way, is a place where frankincense and other perfumes come from, as well as pearls, coral, oil, dates – many riches in life that exemplify the rich character and quality of God’s work in man.

It is my first focus – to hear from Him first, and then see how He will verify and witness it through His people. There’s nothing wrong with networking or encouraging one another, but the will of God and its revelation is the highest priority.

Remember that ANYTHING you share with me goes directly to Jesus. I never think about it again; only to pray as to how I can help you release any negatives and pursue the positive.
Turn any shame into names. List them down and then go to the scripture and find verses that fight those bad labels. God wants you to see yourself as He sees you – with love and tenderness, forgiveness and mercy. Particularly write down any phrases used against you in your past. Is that how God sees you?
Don’t worry if you don’t see yourself differently immediately. Your victory will come as you see yourself through God’s eyes, not others and not even your own.
Keep this visual in mind: Don’t get into a “car” with anyone trying to control you. In other words, they do the driving and you go along for the ride (only it’s not a good ride). You can say no to them; always saying yes to Jesus and freedom.
Forgive by name those who have hurt you in the past – and then leave it in the past. It won’t help you in your future.
We all have some blame for things in our lives, but not all of it is our own. Extra thought: Put these in three categories, much like separating your clothes for laundering: a) One group is for those things we chose to do – let the blood of Christ cleanse them; b) One group is for the things done to us – hurts, betrayal, etc. Those things shouldn’t be mixed in with our responsibility, or the lines get blurred and we begin to blame ourselves for everything; c) One group is for those things God has forgiven and restored – they would be the whites, because we are washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Be angry and sin not, so remember that some anger is healthy – as long as it doesn’t explode or implode on you. Identify the source of the anger and realize that you can be mad about the way you’ve been treated.
End each day with how God ended His creative work: It is good. Don’t include yesterday or tomorrow. Today God has been faithful and again, He’s loved you from before our beginning. Today was good. God is good. He’s doing a great work.
Finally, write down any questions you have; thoughts that come to your mind that may be helpful in understanding things.

Hebrews 13:4, I Corinthians 6:9-11; Jude 1:4

Here is a short study of some terms Biblically presented:

Hebrews 13:4: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

I Corinthians 6:9-11 word study:

“Sexually immoral” is the Greek word “pornos”, meaning “fornicator. Man who prostitutes himself”. It comes from the “pernao”, meaning “to sell off”.

“Image worshipper” is the Greek word “elidolotatres”, meaning “to worship an image, whether self or something else”.

“Adulterers” is the Greek word “moichos”, meaning “a married person being faithless to their spouse”.

“Effeminate” is the Greek word “malakos”, meaning “soft, soft to the touch”. It means a male – or female -submitting their body to the unnatural lewdness. Notice this word has the same root as the word feminine.

“Homosexuals” is the Greed word “arsenokoites”, meaning “a male engages in sexual behavior with a male, sodomite”. The word comes from the two words: “arrhen” = a male and “koite” = mat or bed. It describes the person and the behavior.

The list continues with these: An abuser of themselves with mankind, thieves (kleptai), coveters (pleonektai = one desirous of having more), drunkards (methusos – drink to intoxication), revilers (loidoros = abusive language, injuring another by denigrating others), swindlers. They are all injurious to self.

Jude 1:4

“Lasciviousness” is the Greek word “aselgia”, meaning “wanton lewdness, conduct shocking to decency”. It comes from a word meaning: “brutal”, as it can include violence and debauchery.

In the I Corinthians 6 portion, remember that the 11th verse is the victory verse. It is possible to not be that person when we are washed, sanctified, and justified in Christ.

In Christ there is always hope, when we put Christ first.

We do know one thing, however, and that is this: we make the best of whatever circumstance is in front of us. Therefore, I trust you spent the day enjoying extra time with your family, building your faith in one of many ways accessible, and looking at the snow that stopped the Twin Cities and outer regions with a sense of the wonder that Calvary brought.

May the snow remind us all that”…though your sins be scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). When snow falls as the flowing blanket from the throne of God, it makes barren trees rich with beauty and covers dirt and messes made by man. By its white sheen, it lightens up the night and gives us a great illustration of the “white linen, which is the righteousness of the saints” (Revelation 19:8)

We were homebound because of the snow. In view of the shedding of the blood of Jesus, we are also home bound – we have a way out of the depth.

What is never postponed or adjusted is the fact that the love of the family of God continues, regardless of nature’s surprises.

To end with a bad pun: there is s”no”w way to keep our family down. The snow reminds us, instead, of how precious each one is: we’re like an individual snow flake – one of a kind, yet together glistening for Jesus and showing the world that we shine for Him.

This Scripture is Isaiah is a part of a portion that is referring to the Israelite’s return from captivity in Babylon, and has a further view to the future of salvation and redemption for God’s people.

The word “spring” can mean these things as a verb: 1) To move upward or forward in a single quick motion or a series of motions, leap: 2) To move suddenly on or as if on a spring; 3) To appear or come into being quickly; 4) To issue to emerge suddenly; 5) To extend or curve upward, as an arch…..It can also mean this as a noun: 1) An elastic device, such as a coil of wire, that regains its original shape after being compressed or extended…..6) A small stream of water flowing naturally from the earth; 7) A source, origin, or beginning.

Many of these meanings can be derived from this intent. The source or origin of the springing up is God, who seeks to restore His people to original form by freedom from captivity, and then acts on it by putting

seeds of His Word and promise into the ground of faith and what seems out of nowhere, new life springs forth, its focus being upward.

The verse tells us to “behold” – hold in your vision – wait for it. God says He will do a new thing (original says “will do something” – chadashah). Now it will spring forth. Spring is the Hebrew word “tsmach”, which means “to grow, bud, sprout”. There is evidence of new life coming. One doesn’t need to see full growth to know that life is being revealed.

The passage beyond it also adds to the thought and says there will be a way in the desert (road is Hebrew word “derecho”, meaning, “way, road, distance, journey”). God will provide a path of access in the desert, and rivers will flow from within it. God, again, will change the nature of the place – desert will be watered; the sand obscuring a road in the wilderness will be pushed away and passage will be seen.

We begin with this thought: You do not have to fight. There are times to battle, seek out a resolution or solution, but there are times God tells us to merely “stand”. Galatians 6:22-23: “Stand ye therefore in the liberty, wherewith Christ has made you free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage….”

There are moments when we realize that we are not to fight, because it is not our fight. It is God’s authority or purpose being called into account. God is the Commander-in-Chief, so He will fight for you.

As we move through this verse, we find ourselves in a standing position. As a soldier, one would stay where you are and hold your ground.

This means to hold the area with prayer and awareness;
Also means to be in a place of watchfulness, as the enemy in on alert;
And, means to stay busy doing what He’s called you to do. Take up your position and be where He left you. Adam and Eve moved from the place of God’s call and relationship and it made them question God.
When you take a standing position, especially in warfare, you have a singular sight, are generally on a higher plateau as a watchman, and here, you will see the deliverance brought about by God Himself. He’ll stand up for those who stand for Him.

A “Made in the USA” label supports the United States economy. In a CNBC report it says that Federal regulators say some labels are deceptively used to boost business.

When I was in Bible school (at Calvary Bible College in Minneapolis), I was taught that as students we were to do our own work first by searching the scriptures, praying through them and letting the Holy Spirit work it through us. Then we could seek out the commentaries, aids etc. getting
other’s thoughts about the passage.

As a church we want the “Made at the Throne of God” label, not re-using recycling imported thoughts. Ideas are good and welcome, but is it living at the Throne for us?

In our world the sun fades things but in 1 Peter 1: 4 our inheritance will not fade away, but it is labeled perpetual, enduring throughout eternity. It will never lose its luster. Our fruit will remain.

I was talking about January 28th, 1986 when the shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into launch, with the first civilian – a teacher on board. I’ve thought through the years how so many school children were watching because of Christa McAuliffe, and the horror they witnessed when she taught them life doesn’t end the way we expect, often.

It reminded me of the commission that was set up to study the failure. I boiled it down to three main areas and how they can relate to our lives personally, as well as in church life.

They didn’t listen to the issues of temperature. They had warnings from engineers who told them that the shuttle would not operate in low temperatures. In fact, they only had test data from 40 degrees and higher and the shuttle launched in 18 degrees. This commission failed to report that the shuttle was never certified in temperatures that low, in fact. What can we learn? Ignoring temperatures of cold (cold to people and/or the Lord) or hot (with anger, etc), can put a relationship in jeopardy. We need to look out for each other in this perilous world.
The O-ring seals in the right solid rocket boosters failed at the launch. NASA knew this from 1977 and didn’t do anything about it. This detail was ignored. While we shouldn’t obsess on every detail, this would have been one to pursue. Here the O-ring failure caused a breach in the joint it sealed. The very thing it was supposed to protect it fractured. That allowed pressurized hot gas to reach the outside hardware and external fuel tank. Remember that inside seals/protectors unattended to will only go outside – outward and hurt those we are close to. What was determined was that they actually needed three O-rings, not two, in that region. It made me think of marriage and any covenant contract; the third party is the ring of devotion from God, and if He is not in the center, that ring will not seal or protect the joints/connections of our lives.
There is no escape system in the shuttle. The determination afterward was that several crew members survived the initial breakup of the aircraft, but because there was no escape capability, they plunged to the earth and soared into the bottom of the ocean. This caused the pieces to bend away from each other and thus, provided a gap where the gases would leak. I Corinthians 10:13 tells us how to escape temptation, though we can view it also through the relationship model. We have an escape plan when we deal with the details, check the temperature, and realize that God wants us to go through the issues and not just escape the lessons. Sometimes as servants/counselors/care givers, we actually try to fix the situations instead of letting that problem take the person to a desperate place where God can be God. We have to look for the exit signs (like the red color on all exit signs – red is the color farthest away from the eye). God gives, so we personally and the church collectively doesn’t implode or explode. We don’t want to be picking things apart; rather, we want to be picking ourselves up and letting the Lord seal us with the Holy Spirit. That seal cannot be unbroken by outward events or issues.

Read Romans 1:21 & Colossians 3:15 and make a list. Here’s Pastor Jean’s list:

T – Today (as Roger would say) is the only day given before us.
H – Home – provision, safety and shelter.
A – Attitudes You’ve helped me change.
N – New changes that show God never changes.
K – Knowledge of salvation & the Bible; it’s a garden that should grow.
F – Family, friends and fellowship.
U – Unity in our seeking of the Master.
L – Living Springs Church family (or your congregation).
N – Need God always.
E – Enjoy His creation.
S – Serving Him.
S – Surrender to His best (He has no other)

Psalms 106:10-15: “So He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. And the waters covered their adversaries; not one of them was left. Then they believed His words: they sang His praise. They quickly forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but craved intensely in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. So he gave them their request, but sent a wasting disease among them”. (New American Standard Version).

The last verse of the rendering I prefer is this: “He gave them their request, but sent leanness to their soul.”

God makes all the effort in our lives and asks that we continue to trust Him, even when things seem to be so close to our grasp. Let God be in charge. He will give you more than you can get on your own.

Here is the image I gave to you: if a room is dark and we can either walk around in its darkness and feel our way around, or we can turn on the light.

I John 1:5-7 says it this way: “And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”

Open the Bible and keep it open. Read it daily and put your name in it, so you can see how it relates to you. For example: John 3:16 would sound this way: “For God so loved (your name) that He gave His only begotten Son, that if (your name) believes in Him, (your name) will not perish – which means to amputate from God eternally, but (your name) will have eternal life.”

Exodus 17:12

Do you notice when a plant or flower is wilted, you know it is not bowing down to you; it needs lifting up, which mostly includes watering it?

Moses found himself in a situation. In the rearview mirror was the opening of the Red Sea, miraculous manna fed, and now the water coming out of the rock for those complaining of thirst (“God granted them their request, but sent leanness to their soul”) – Psalm 106:15.

Yet their complaining weighed on him and when the Amalekites came to them (verse 11), Moses knew he had to be on the top of the hill with the staff of God in his hand. As long as his arms were up and extended, the battle went in the favor of the Israelites, but when the battle went on and Moses’ hands became weak, he was unable to maintain his posture by himself. Consequently, the Israelites were losing at that dip of strength.

What can we learn?

No leader is on the hill by his or herself. Moses had Aaron and Hur with him. Whenever any leader thinks they are at the pinnacle alone, they really need prayer. The wise leader is surrounded by “yes” people – “yes, Lord” people.
Moses grew tired – the Hebrew word “kabel”, meaning “heavy, weary”. There is a heaviness in spiritual life and warfare and can be exhibited physically.
Aaron and Hur gave him a stone to sit on. Stone is the Hebrew word “eben”, meaning “stone, stones” for natural use, like a pillow or seat. To “sit” is the Hebrew word “yeshab”, meaning, “to sit, remain, dwell”. It’s not just plunking down, but remain committed and taking seated position of teacher, finisher.
They held up his hands. The Hebrew word “tamak” means, “to uphold, grasp, attain, support.” They were the supportive beams for Moses’ position.
Victory is in upraised hands: Hands of worship, surrender, and growing in the direction of the sun (Son).
In this protection, Moses’ hands remained steady until sunset. The Hebrew word steady is “emunah”, meaning, “firm, fidelity, steadfast”. There is something vital about remaining firm in our convictions, with fidelity of life and spirit, and being unmovable. We need each other to accomplish that.
Sometimes the complaints are a burden to our spirit and can inhibit us from fighting more valiantly in the real battle – the battle for souls and the glory of God.
He remained steady until sunset, the beginning of the new day. Let’s keep our strength during this day and time of service.
Remember that the real need here is this: When Moses’ hands grew weary, it was the staff of God that went down too. Let’s keep the sword on top.