Wednesday, August 24, 2016


  Not loving the Lord God and His truth is what sent the Hebrew people back into a wilderness of trial and wanderings. That was not what God had in mind for them. Just listening to God's word and following would bring great benefit and joy. But that wasn't the result and it wasn't God's choice but theirs.
  Forty years passed and it's time to bring the next generation back into the promises of God full of hope. Before entering what God provides, there had to be some things put before them as a warning so they wouldn't follow the same path as their parents and grandparents. It was a matter of life and death for them. God gave them seven "ites" to destroy completely. They were the Hittities, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, the Hivites and Jebusites. (Deut. 7:1-2) These nations were to be removed in favor of His people and they were greater and strong than Israel. God promised to be the power to remove these nations if His people would listen and heed. These "ites" God knew would influence them away from Himself to follow their teachings and thoughts. These "ites" were a great danger to their spiritual survival. These "ites" had different beliefs. These "ites" ended up taking Israel away from God and His promises and they eventually were destroyed.
  This is a very difficult lesson for us to learn today with all the teaching and books floating around in our religious world. There seems to be little discernment and if we speak of "contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) it gets people into an uproar. But if we would be a people seeking, searching and listening to the truth as spoken from God, the gain for us is great. In our nation, voices are speaking all around. Believe this. Believe that. Here's a new writing with new insight. Just as Israel faced their "ites" we too have many "ites" facing us. The struggle for truth and spiritual survival remains the same today. The truth from God's word seems to get lost. Preaching/teaching from God and His word gets lost in all the stories and videos. The "ites" aren't driven out and as they have rested among us, truth is obscured. Many aren't bothered. Many believe it's part of God. Peter heralded to the saints that there are going to be those who secretly introduce destructive heresies (II Pet. 2:1). What is a heresy? It's a self-willed opinion that is substituted for the truth! But it doesn't end there. Peter goes on to say that many will follow their sensuality and the way of truth, it will be maligned (II Pet. 2:2). Peter knew it. The other apostles knew it. Jesus knew it.
  I'm not saying I have all the answers but this I can say, just as the "ites" took down Israel and kept them from God's intentions we too have the same message of "ites" around us. God's word is no longer enough. His simplicity and purity have been made obscure. People are running everywhere to what's new and 'fun' while the word of God is limited or left out. When is the last time you sat down and just read the word of the Lord without any helps or your own ideas placed in it? Just simply read and  heed? Too many are wandering in the wilderness with no clue why things are the way they are. Listen to the truth of the Lord with all your heart!

Monday, August 15, 2016

"It Has To Be Gone!"

  It is amazing to watch people. People who profess their love for the Lord and dedicated to His service are really amazing to watch. They can really encourage you toward the Lord. There are others I have noticed over my many years that are controlling people. Not just in life but in the life of the church! Too many believe and think that everything has to go the direction they believe it should go. If someone doesn't follow their thoughts or wants, they find a way to get rid of such in the church. I have known congregation after congregation that can't keep a preacher and each and every time it is blamed on the preacher not able to get along. However as I have aged, some of those preachers that have moved on from these congregations were solid, well grounded lovers of God and His word. Those preachers refused to follow what the ones in control wanted! Those congregations died.
  People want to control and that's a fact. When you find a few individuals controlling things in the church, something is terribly flawed. When those who control everything don't get what they want there are stresses, strains and little love for the Lord's cause and His people. The more they couldn't control the more they fought for control. Have you ever tried to have a discussion with one who tries to control situations? They come across as angry and they become agitated that you express something different than what they want. They try to lord over you to change your mind or approach. There is no love in that as love "does not seek it own." (I Cor. 13:5) 
  What do we do when people try to control things within the church? Maybe they are elders, preachers or simply a few strong-minded members with strong personalities. Alexander the coppersmith harmed Paul greatly as he opposed the teachings of Paul (II Tim. 4:14-15) What did Paul do and teach about such people? "The Lord will repay him according to his deeds!" There lies the answer. No matter who does what the Lord is still Lord of everything and head over His church. I believe that with all my heart. I use to wonder why some congregations never grew much and some folded and you don't have to look far. The Lord shut it all down because there were too many controllers rather than one Lord. Rather than holding to the head the controllers act as the head.
  There are still things that pop up from time to time that people want to control but when you let go and give Jesus His rightful place, all arguing and stress are eliminated. Jesus will grow His church. If we would stop trying to "run the show" true spiritual growth will take place and we will all become more spiritual minded. Peace will prevail. The controllers think that by running off those who don't agree with them creates peace, they are self-deceived and in the process can't figure out why we never grow. You see, Jesus said the students will only become like the teacher. If the controllers are the teachers the body of Christ will reflect that. Jesus is the only One capable of growing, pruning and growing His fruit within us. We have got to stop the controlling, the nagging while trying to proceed the way we personally envision. That part of us has to be gone or we will die spiritually!