Don’t Do It Yourself

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 He (Saul) waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come …, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him.  Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered … I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me …, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.  But now your kingdom shall not continue. (1 Samuel 13:8-14a)

                Saul falls victim to temptations we all face in our Christian walk. As soon as circumstances developed in a way that he did not like he took matters into his own hands. He was impatient when Samuel didn’t come when expected, he was discouraged when all of his men had scattered, and he lost focus of God’s direction when his focus shifted toward the army mustering against him. He made the decision to trust in his own power over the power of God found through obedience. God had a plan for Saul to rule as long as he was obedient to God’s rule over His chosen people. If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king. (1 Samuel 12:14-15) But his self-sufficiency led him away from God and bypassed the plans for his prosperity.

                No battle will ever be complete unless it is won through God. Our human efforts leave trouble incomplete. It is why we find ourselves in struggles repeatedly. If we submit our plans and allow God to fight for us He will bring those troubles to completion where we would continually fight and grow weary. Don’t let the circumstances you see pull you away from what God’s will. Don’t let an impatient soul drive you forward while God is setting up the victory for you. Walk with God as He develops a victory that glorifies Him and His provision for you. Let God’s timing lead you and find rest in the anticipation of the upcoming victory. Die to yourself daily and establish Jesus as your Lord. Give control top the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Let the plan He has for you exceed your wildest dreams and destroy forever your biggest fears.

Put the Creator before His creation

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     The world is focused on what they can see and touch. People who don’t have a correct view of God fail to realize that the things we cannot see are much more important and just as real to us if become aware them. The things we see will fade and turn to dust in time. The things we cannot see are the eternal things that have no end. They are also the only things that can bring real fulfillment to the empty places in our lives. People who focus on the things of this world are empty even when they accomplish what they set out to achieve. This is clear because they are always looking to seek even more, they lack the satisfaction we all desire. What they fail to realize is that fulfillment is only found in God and His work which we can only see when we look to Him. He placed an emptiness in us that can only be filled by Him. He desires that all of His chosen look to Him. This is clear in scripture when He calls His people to follow no other god or idol. for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14) God want the recognition from His people. He wants the unconditional love He gives as part of His very essence to be returned in the form of worship and obedience. God wants all glory and praise to be focused on Him alone. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. (Isaiah 42:8)

     The bible uses the concept of money to convey this to us. As we look to scripture I want us to take the word money and allow it to be replaced with whatever other part of creation might fit that place. Anything that gets in the way of you serving God as your only master fits this criteria. It represents anything you seek that might draw you away from your purpose in God. He designed you for a specific purpose. When you seek things other than what God has for you draw your attention away from a calling that will exceed anything you could ever imagine. Refuse to follow God’s creation over God the Creator. Let your Lord lead you in the things that are eternal and come with an everlasting joy and peace. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24) Don’t fall victim to the pain and hardship that is inevitable when you seek the lesser things of this world. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:10) Let all of your hopes and faith fall upon your Father, the Creator of this universe. Submit your life to God as He leads all things to serve His will. Let your desires be His desires and your will align with His. Only then can your life fall into alignment with the things that we cannot see, the things that are eternal, the things God will bless us with. When God is truly the one we worship, every other part of life can take its rightful place.

Tempted in All Ways (2 of 4)

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Stone to Bread

At first glance, we see a hungry man being tempted to feed Himself. His response is from scripture: …that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:3) This temptation represents something that covers the majority of us are tempted with every day. Another way of seeing this is, Jesus was being tempted to seek worldly comfort instead of that which comes from God. This also represents our tendency to bypass the correction and growth God desires for us to walk through in order to be in submission and reliance on Him. People try to sooth their pain and frustration with worldly things like drugs, alcohol, food, people, etc. People sinfully seek a reward without the work and process that God desires to grow our spirit in the times of need. We should look to God, His provision and His Word to sustain us as He leads us through difficult times meant to help us grow in relationship with our Creator. God will always give us the provision we need to walk the path that He has illuminated for us. It is when we lean on the lesser provision of this world that we are drawn away from our Sustainer to seek the things that will perish. The desire to resort to our own strength and power haunt all of us in our fallen nature. We can’t appreciate the process of the timing of God. If we really think about it, something as simple as turning a stone to bread covers the majority of the temptation we face. If we were in a constant relationship with God and His will, we would be the source of abundant spiritual fruit where sin cannot abound.

Image of The Lord’s Servant (Conclusion)

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(2 Timothy 2:24-26)  And the Lord’s servant must (1)not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, (2)able to teach, (3)patiently enduring evil, (4)correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

When the Lord’s servant is able to become active in the right way as described in 2 Timothy, God is able to grant them what they desire. That may be a changed heart that leads to repentance, but they may serve a bigger purpose than we can see. It is our job to lay God’s groundwork so that He can glorify Himself, through His will being accomplished, through His chosen. Adopt the qualities the Lord offers you just as He has adopted you so that these qualities could be yours. Don’t look past your purpose but serve God’s kingdom and let His bigger and better plan come to fruition. (Matthew 5:14-16) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Image of The Lord’s Servant (3)

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(2 Timothy 2:24-26)  And the Lord’s servant must (1)not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, (2)able to teach, (3)patiently enduring evil, (4)correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Patiently enduring evil

There is patience in love. Love is patient and love is kind when its source is the Lord. Evil returned for evil only magnifies the darkness of the world. It requires a selfless spirit fueled by Jesus to show patience when evil tries to cover up the love to which we are called. It is almost certain that resistance of one evil moment will not change a heart, but patience as the evil is drown out by God’s love creates real change. The light of God drives out darkness just as the deceiver will flee in the name of our Savior.

Image of The Lord’s Servant (1)

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(2 Timothy 2:24-26)  And the Lord’s servant must (1)not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, (2)able to teach, (3)patiently enduring evil, (4)correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

 Not Quarrelsome but kind to everyone

Don’t let a quarrelsome nature or a misguided passion turn you from a person or cause them to turn from you. Progress toward the power of God’s grace is made through our humility. Just as His power is made perfect in our weakness. A heart doesn’t change in a quarrel, only the emotional mind is affected. Hearts change in the presence of love in humility and kindness. The passion that leads us to defend the position of God will guide us into arguments if we are not careful. Rely on the love God gives you to overflow to every lost soul and let the kindness, which is a fruit of the spirit, develop fertile soil which God will use to do as He sees fit. Don’t step into a place God desires for Himself. God calls who He chooses to Himself for His glory. Let your kindness set the stage for God to act.

Marks of a True Christian (6 of 12)

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Serve the Lord

Service of the Lord is an abandoning of self in its most complete form. Serving God requires that we keep our eyes on our purpose in His kingdom. We must allow God to fill us with His spirit and allow Him to mature the spirit and guide us. Our fallen nature inclines us to try and lead ourselves by what we can see and understand. How much more fulfilling is our service to God if we accept what our all-seeing and all-knowing Lord leads us in? How much joy and peace can we find than if we rely on a God whose love for us will bless us beyond our own imaginations? Truly serving God requires a selflessness that looks out of place in this selfish world. The light that shines from a selfless believer draws attention to the focus of our servitude. Our service gives glory to God. We were created to give God glory. Do it in service to the Lord.