More To Know

Feb. 20, 2021

Genesis 1 records that when God created man on the sixth day, everything else was formed and in place. God had already prepared the environment for humanity. God made a world for man that was suitable. It was pleasant, fragrant, visually appealing and comfortable...not too hot, not too cold...just right. Genesis 2 shares more detail about the environment.

Genesis 2:4-6 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

4) Here is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created. On the day when Adonai, God, made earth and heaven, 5) there was as yet no wild bush on the earth, and no wild plant had as yet sprung up; for Adonai, God, had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no one to cultivate the ground. 6) Rather, a mist went up from the earth which watered the entire surface of the ground.

These verses tell us that only what God formed and what He wanted was there. That is not what we deal with today. If a garden is planted today, all kinds of strange vegetation appears that wasn’t planted. Instead of water coming down to water the earth, in Eden a mist went up from the earth. There was nothing in the ground that God didn’t want there so there was no contamination. There wasn’t anything foreign in the ground that would sprout up, run wild, to overgrow what God had planted and take over.

Genesis 2:7-9 (CJB)

7) Then Adonai, God, formed a person [from the dust of the ground  and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being. 8) Adonai, God, planted a garden toward the east, in ‘Eden, and there he put the person whom he had formed. 9) Out of the ground Adonai, God, caused to grow every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

When God placed Adam in the garden, everything was in order. No weeds. No wild or contrary vines wrapping themselves around good plants and choking the life out of them. We know, that for some reason, if left unchecked, the weeds will always take over the area. It never happens the other way where the productive, orderly plants outgrow and out produce the weeds and choke them out. It just doesn’t happen.

The text seems to suggest that when the earth began to be watered with rain coming down instead of mist going up, some type of contamination occurred. This could be because satan, the fallen angel, is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). It could be that the rain was tainted or contaminated as it passed through the air. As the prince of the power of the air, the enemy had influence in that realm. This is a possible explanation. Another thought is that perhaps it didn’t begin to rain until after Adam and Eve sinned. The ground being cursed was part of the consequence of disobedience or sin. This is recorded in Genesis 3: 17-19.

17) To Adam he said, “Because you listened to what your wife said and ate from the tree about which I gave you the order, ‘You are not to eat from it,’ the ground is cursed on your account; you will work hard to eat from it as long as you live. 18) It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat field plants. 19) You will eat bread by the sweat of your forehead till you return to the ground — for you were taken out of it: you are dust, and you will return to dust.”


But going back to chapter 2, before the fall, the point I want to make is that everything was in order.

The only missing element for Adam was a companion. And for Eve nothing was missing. Everything was there. Everything was in place. Everything was functioning as intended.

Genesis 2:18, 21-22

18) Adonai, God, said, “It isn’t good that the person should be alone. I will make for him a companion suitable for helping him.”

21) Then God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the person; and while he was sleeping, he took one of his ribs and closed up the place from which he took it with flesh. 22) The rib which Adonai, God, had taken from the person, he made a woman-person; and he brought her to the man-person.

God set them in a situation where there was no waiting. Our topic today is “The Purpose of Process” or “The Worth of Waiting”. Adam and Eve didn’t have to wait. Everything was instant and mature. It was immediately ready for use and enjoyment. God told Adam the trees in the garden were good for food and pleasant to the sight (Genesis 2:9). God didn’t tell them, “Now this isn’t the season for squash or cucumbers.” He didn’t tell them they would have to wait six months for oranges. The trees and fruit bearing plants were already mature. Adam and Eve didn’t have a two-year engagement before they could be together. They were husband and wife right away.

Because of this, I believe that ‘Right Now’ beginning formed an expectation in them that has been passed to all of their descendants. This is why it is uncomfortable for us to wait. I don’t want to go through the stages of the process. I would prefer for whatever I am expecting from God, for it to manifest on the spot, right now, no delay. The manner of living that we experience now was not the original plan. Everything was there. Everything was ready. Everything was already in its useful state. They didn’t have to wait for the flower to bloom, the tree to blossom or the fruit to mature. There weren’t any seasons of waiting in order to enjoy what God had provided.

When we reign with the Lord in eternity, that manner of living will be reinstated. What was lost through Adam and Eve’s disobedience will be restored. We will be comfortable again. We won’t be plagued with what is really foreign to who God created us to be. He did not create us to be sick or infirm or distressed or have mood swings or be in pain or suffer discomfort or be mistreated. All of that is foreign to who God made us to be.

But while we are here, we are subject to process and waiting. God doesn’t do anything without purpose. Even though it is generally not what we want to happen, the process has purpose and the wait has worth. They are helpful and valuable to us in this earthly realm.

In studying this topic, eight or nine benefits of waiting seemed to emerge. To help me remember them I am using this acronym: T-UPLOADS.

T is for Time. Time helps us develop Trust. Our hope and confidence in the Lord develop over time. It doesn’t happen all at once. We have to walk with Him awhile. Time offers opportunity for our Faith to grow and mature.

Psalm 27:14 NIV Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

U is for Understanding. Process encourages understanding. We generally have a much better grasp about a thing at the end of it than we did at the beginning. Life, marriage and parenthood are excellent examples.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.

Pride says, “Why should I have to wait?!?” Which leads to the next benefit of the process which is

P for Patience. Impatience is related to pride. Patience or longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit. We see that in Galatians 5:22.

L is for Learning. The Lord wants us to know things. None of us did the best job the first time we did something that required skill and knowledge. Through process, we repeat. Do it again and again. We should get better at it each time. This isn’t only for our own well-being. One reason we learn is so we can help and correctly instruct others.

O is for Obedience. If something is uncomfortable, we are less likely to want to do it. As we obey, it often becomes easier. There are blessings attached to obedience.

Isaiah 1:19 NIV If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;

O can also be for Observation. Some things we learn by watching. It isn’t necessary or advisable to experience everything firsthand. Paying attention to the process can be very helpful: watch what happens, how it happens, what affect is produced or observe the outcome.

Proverbs 12:23 NIV The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.

A is for Appreciation. If something is given to a person too quickly, too easily and too soon, there is little or no appreciation. Kids who get whatever they want, whenever they want, grow up to be unthankful brats. And it isn’t the child’s fault. It is the error of whoever is raising them. Wise parents know that a healthy balance needs to be achieved. God is a wise parent. Our Heavenly Father always does what is best for us.

Proverbs 20:21 An inheritance claimed too soon will not be blessed at the end.

D is for Discipline. Waiting helps develop discipline. It is a sign of maturity. I may want a new household appliance. But rather than taking out a loan or putting the purchase on a credit card so I can have the item right now, it is better to save the money and pay cash for it later. If I can discipline myself to wait, I will have saved so much in interest fees and the item is truly mine. I don’t owe anyone for it.

Proverbs 22:6 NIV Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 12:1 NIV Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.

It is very difficult for a person who has lived life without boundaries to all of a sudden start reigning in their appetites. There will be an internal rebellion and an intense struggle.

S is for Seasons. Through process and waiting there are seasons. Every season of life has benefits although many people prefer one over the others. Concerning natural earth seasons, some people prefer the chill of winter when the earth is quiet and the air is crisp. Others like summer when there is plenty of sun, heat, picnics and warm weather celebrations and activities. Others would choose somewhere in between those extremes. But seasons are important because each one requires something different. We prepare differently. We dress differently. We eat differently. We travel differently. It is important to know how to maneuver successfully in whatever phase of life we are in. Process and waiting are unavoidable aspects of this life.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4 NIV

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

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Jan. 26, 2021

In Luke 14 (NLT) Jesus makes Seven Significant Evaluations.

  1. In verses 2 thru 6 Jesus does a heart evaluation. Some of those present were more inclined to save an animal they owned than to see a suffering man healed of an uncomfortable and debilitating medical condition.

There was a man there whose arms and legs were swollen. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in religious law, “Is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?” When they refused to answer, Jesus touched the sick man and healed him and sent him away. Then he turned to them and said, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out?” Again they could not answer.

2. In the next set of verses, 7 thru 11, He measures humility and honor against assumption and arrogance.

When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! 10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

 3. Jesus advised the host about who to invite to these dinners and why in verses 12 thru 14. Jesus is prodding the man to examine his motives and his guest list.

12 Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

 4. Verses 15 thru 24 share a parable that has at least two purposes. One purpose is to illustrate to the host the points that Jesus just explained to him. The second reason for the story is that it models some excuses for refusal and the ultimate cost of rejection. Many are invited to the Lord’s supper. He has made all the necessary provisions. Invitations have been issued. The invited guests have been summoned to respond to the call that the time has come for them to partake of what the Lord has provided. The story reveals that the initial invited guests have more interest in their property, their possessions and people in their lives than they have in what the Lord God has provided and prepared for them. They have refused His grace and His benevolence. Verse 24  ends the story with a sobering, irreversible statement, “For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.” Jesus evaluated priorities with this parable and exposed self-interests.

15 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet[c] in the Kingdom of God!”

16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ 18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ 23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. 

 5. The next couple of verses, 26 and 27, detail and evaluate the qualifications of discipleship. The Lord Jesus must be first in your spirit, mind and heart… period.

26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

6. Verses 28 thru 33 warn the hearers to consider what following the Lord requires and to be resolute about that decision. Don’t be naive about what the determination will require. Make a wise, informed, unrelenting choice. You must be willing to relinquish anything and everything in favor of living completely for the Lord. Those listening are urged to assess the value and costs of loyalty and commitment.

28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

31 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

7. Verses 34 thru 35 discern and discuss spiritual significance.

34 “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? 35 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”

  This cannot be ‘taken away’. If a person no longer has spiritual significance, it is because they ‘let it go’. When this happens it is a very serious matter for at least four reasons.

a)   They cease to be usable in the Kingdom of God. Not being usable means the ability they had to make a difference is gone.

b)   Spiritual significance enables you to be useful in the Lord’s Kingdom. Once that influence is gone you no longer have the capacity to accomplish that for which you were created. You were designed to fulfill specific, God-ordained purposes.

c)    Letting go of your spiritual significance means you are no longer desirable. You are no longer wanted by those who need what you previously had to offer.

d)   The absence of spiritual significance means you are not necessary. With spiritual significance you are essential to the plan of God. Without it, you are in the way. Without it, there is no reason for you to be present. [Luke 13:6-7]

There is a television commercial where the person in the room isn’t noticeable because they are wearing the same pattern of clothing as the wallpaper they are standing in front of. The person appears bland, nearly undetected, camouflaged, they blend in with what is already there. Don’t blend in with the ways of the world. Identify your spiritual significance, develop and maintain it. Thank God for who He made you to be. Consider these Seven Significant Evaluations in your own life. Be wise. Be committed.

 Thank you for reading. Be Blessed!

Dec. 19, 2020

Ever since there have been people there have been varying opinions. With the increase in technology, we are, more than ever before, bombarded with people’s opinions: on social media platforms…which seem endless, on the news streams, on tv and radio talk shows, in-person conversations, magazines and newspapers. It just goes on and on. Many of those offering their view of things are doing so in an attempt to persuade others to see things the same way they do. Their objective is to sway public opinion. In this country we have recently been through this with all the political ads used to slam the reputations of the opponents. For most people, this excessive expression of opinion gets to be too much. Unless a person is prone to studying each issue for themselves, it is also confusing. We don’t know who to believe or who to trust.

We all have the opportunity every day to form opinions, to choose sides. Every day, multiple times a day, different industries are trying to get us to choose. Charmin wants to be chosen over Angel Soft. Spectrum wants to be chosen over Direct TV. T-Mobil wants to be chosen over Cricket. Birdseye wants to be chosen over Swanson, Banquet, Healthy Choice and Sara Lee.

We have many, many choices. We choose every day. Whose coffee do I want this morning? McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Tim Horton, Speedway, Keurig, Folgers, Maxwell House? The possibilities are endless. Many of the choices we make don’t have lasting consequences. But some do!

In our choosing, one choice has eternal consequences. We either choose the God Side or not. Just like our consumption choices are made multiple times not only in a day, but in a lifetime…our opportunities to choose the Lord are also made many, many times in a lifetime. We choose to please Him or not. We choose to obey Him or not. We choose to speak His heart or not. We choose to avoid ungodly environments and activities or not.

Every time we choose Him, our perspective is affected. Each time we choose to do things His way, without compromise, He reveals more of His perspective. His way of viewing things gives us a broader, deeper and wiser insight.

These are three biblical examples of the view from the God Side of a situation versus the other side.

Genesis 14:13-20 AMP

13 Then Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid! Take your stand [be firm and confident and undismayed] and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for those Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm.”

15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to move forward [toward the sea]. 16 As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, so that the sons of Israel may go through the middle of the sea on dry land. 17 As for Me, hear this: I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will go in [the sea] after them; and I will be glorified and honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and his war-chariots and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know [without any doubt] and acknowledge that I am the Lord, when I am glorified and honored through Pharaoh, through his war-chariots and his charioteers.”

19 The [c]angel of God, who had been going in front of the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them. The pillar of the cloud moved from in front and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. It was a cloud along with darkness [even by day to the Egyptians], but it gave light by night [to the Israelites]; so one [army] did not come near the other all night.

One observation about this event is that all the participants were in the same geographical location. They were all in the same area, the same land. One group wasn’t high up on a hill or mountain while the other was in a deep ravine or valley. The land was the same. The weather was the same. It wasn’t snowing over one group and bright sunshine with 80-degree temperatures over the other group. Same weather, same land but very different perspectives because one group was on the God Side and the other group wasn’t. The same cloud stood between the two groups. For the Hebrews that cloud was the Presence and protection of God. The cloud gave them light, help and hope. But on the other side, on the Egyptian side, that cloud was a barrier. It was a cloud of darkness to the Egyptians which prevented them from moving forward. The Egyptians couldn’t see. There weren’t any streetlights, no flashlights, no illuminations from cell phones, no cigarette lighters. They couldn’t see! Therefore, they couldn’t function. They couldn’t pursue and they couldn’t attack. All they could do was be still. The cloud prevented the Egyptians but it protected the Hebrews. Same cloud but a totally different perspective. It is always a blessing to be on the God Side.

The second biblical example is another very familiar occurrence in Jewish history.

Numbers 13: 1-2, 17-20, 23-33 This is what the unbelievers saw and said.

Joshua and Caleb believed God. This is what those who trusted God said. Numbers 14:7-9

Most of us know this story very well. All 12 scouts saw the same things. But two of them had vastly different perspectives than the 10. They all agreed that the land was luscious and bountiful and would be a wonderful place to live. But 10 of them looked at the challenges and had more confidence in the obstacles than in God, the One who sent them! But two of them, Joshua and Caleb perceived the entire scene very differently. Whose report will you believe? We will believe the report of the Lord! His report says that we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us! All 12 scouts were given the same assignment (Num. 13:17-20). All 12 traversed the same land. All 12 had the same 40 days to form an opinion. Forty in the bible is a time of testing. They all had the opportunity to exercise their faith, to build and strengthen it. They could have said, “WOW!! The Lord God has given ALL THIS to us!!!!!” But instead 10 of them said, “We are too weak to claim what God promised. It looks good over there. The land flows with milk and honey. But we are too small to possess it.”

Joshua and Caleb adopted God’s perspective. The others let the challenges influence their view even more than the produce and the fruitfulness they were holding in their hands. The evidence of God’s faithfulness was in their hands. They were holding the grapes, the figs and the pomegranates. God allowed them to actually taste the evidence of His goodness. They were eating and ingesting the good of the land the whole time they were there. They were taking in all of the abundance through all of their five senses. But 10 of them listened to fear. They believed fear. They trusted fear. They let one tactic of the enemy, fear, speak to them and crush the godly view. And because of their unbelief, they all died not receiving the promise. Only the believers, the ones who stayed on God’s Side in their thoughts, beliefs and actions experienced God’s promise.

The third biblical example is the cross of Christ. Those who observed Jesus on the cross counted it as a dismal and utter failure. But Jesus, the only One who had the Father’s perspective knew and saw the cross as the ultimate victory over sin and satan.

Mark 8:27 – 33 

This exchange reveals that Peter does not have the Lord’s perspective. Peter and all the other disciples only have a partial view of the truth. These followers have some understanding. Peter just expressed that he knows who Jesus really is. He just stated in Mark 8:29, “You are the Christ!” Peter’s declaration insists that he knows for certain, without any doubt, that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. Jesus is the Anointed One that they have been expecting.

But just a few verses later it is shown that even though Peter knows who Jesus is, Peter does not know the plan of God. God’s plan to redeem humanity from the power and penalty of sin through the precious blood of Jesus is not known to Peter yet. These disciples were on the God Side as long as it looked like the God Side agreed with what they expected to happen. They expected a different kind of victory. A different kind of bloodshed. Peter whipped out his sword when the soldiers approached Jesus in the garden and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. (John 18:10) But that kind of bloodshed was not reflective of the plan of the Father.

Just as in the other examples we have discussed, all the disciples shared the same experiences with Jesus. But Judas, the betrayer had a totally different mindset than the rest of the disciples. At some point he decided not to be on the God Side. He went completely to the dark side. Peter and the others thought they were on the God Side until the cross loomed large before them. They all saw the cross as a place of despair and defeat.

 Before going to the cross Jesus shared many truths with them. He is wanting to change their perspective. He wants to help them to see as He sees but He knows they won’t really understand until they are all on the other side of the cross. They won’t perceive what it really means to be on the God Side until some time after the resurrection.

John 14:1 Jesus says to them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…”. He has just told them some things that sound like the complete opposite of victory and they are distressed and disturbed. They may be wondering if they chose the right side.

John 14:27 Jesus said again, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled].

These are their thoughts and feelings on the ‘before’ side of the cross. Jesus knew they were confused and afraid and ready to hightail it out of there. Jesus challenges their fears and doubts and directly addresses their narrow perspective.

John 14:28-29 AMP You heard Me tell you, I am going away and I am coming [back] to you. If you [really] loved me, you would have been glad, because I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater and mightier than I am.

And now I have told you [this] before it occurs, so that when it does take place you may believe and have faith in and rely on Me.

Jesus knows exactly where they are. Similar to the Egyptians, the disciples are on the dark side of the cross. They are confused and afraid. But He, Jesus, is sharing all the information and truth of the Spirit of God to completely change their perspective. If they would and could believe all that He was saying, they would adopt His perspective, get a fuller view of what was happening and why. And they would move from fear and faithlessness to the God Side of the cross. If they could understand what was being shared with them, they would be moved from the dark side of doubt and depression to the glorious, victorious side of light and everlasting life!

Jesus keeps addressing their emotions and rattling their mindsets.

John 16: 5-7 AMP

But now I am going to Him who sent Me, yet none of you asks Me, Where are You going?

But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts [taken complete possession of them].

However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you].

Jesus knew the joy that was on the other side of the cross. Even though His disciples could not imagine how all that He was saying could bring them peace and happiness if Jesus had to die for it all to happen. How could it be?

In the previous examples when the Hebrews faced the Red Sea with the Egyptians hot behind them they could not see (s-e-e) that God rules the sea (s-e-a) and the wind and everything else in the universe! He can keep the enemy off of your heels.

In the case of Joshua and Caleb, the 10 scouts or spies could not see how God could give them the victory in the promised land. They were too focused on the challenges and obstacles instead of believing, trusting and relying on God.

What we reviewed in John, concerning the cross, shows that the disciples were too focused on what they were losing: the physical presence of Jesus. They wouldn’t or couldn’t or just didn’t absorb the fact that the next phase of their journey would be a far richer experience. The presence of God would not just be with them physically but He would dwell in them, taking up residence in them permanently!

God wants us to have, to possess His perspective. When we do, at least five things will happen. 1) Your expectations will change. You will expect more because you will see that God can and will and does do more for those who look for Him to move on their behalf. 2) Gaining the Lord’s perspective will put you at odds with others. Even other professing believers will not see the Lord and His ways the same way that you do. 3)You will remain calm in a crisis. While other people are running around shouting, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” you will not be shaken because you know that God has you and He is in total control. 4) Your faith will grow (get bigger), develop (become more defined and all encompassing) and your faith will become super strong (able to leap over large resisters in a single bound)! 5) You will be separated from others in thought, word and deed. The way you think, speak and act will change. Those changes will set you apart from other people…even believers.

Our charge is to be on the God Side and stay there. It is the absolute best place to be!

Oct. 28, 2020

Mark 6:3 Jude is a brother of Jesus

Jude used very strong language in his writing. He does not begin and end the letter with a lot of formalities and pleasantries. It appears that he senses an urgency to get right to the point. He doesn’t send greetings from mom-n-em or talk about the big bass that Uncle Joe caught. He doesn’t tell about the delicious cake Aunt Katie baked or remark how the kids have grown. The language he uses and the structure of his letter reveal that he considers what he is communicating to be of utmost importance. So he dispenses with all casual introductions and jumps right into the heart of the matter.

For this study we are going to focus on just one verse of Jude’s letter. His writing is just one chapter of 25 verses. We will look at verse 3.

Jude 3a AMP/JM “Beloved, my whole concern was to write to you in regard to our common salvation.

By his address, beloved, he considers them dear or close friends of his and he is writing to believers. He is not writing to unbelievers in an effort to win them to Christ. He is writing to those who have already confessed Christ and have received Him as Savior and Lord.

In the rest of this verse he uses four very emphatic words or phrases that communicate how serious this matter is. We won’t discuss the next verse today, but in verse four he tells what has happened to cause him to change the topic of this epistle or letter. His original intent was to write a general letter about their salvation. But verse four says that he decided to be much more specific because false teachers have crept in among the believers and they are distorting the message of Christ. Some of these false teachers are even denying that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed Son of God. The whole basis of what we believe is based on the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. This was a very serious issue and needed to be dealt with, with a quickness.

Jude 3b AMP/JM [But] I found it necessary and was impelled to write to you…”

It was a necessity, not an option. This is something he felt driven, propelled, even forced to do. Not like Paul regarding marital relations in I Corinthians 7:6 where Paul says he speaks this by permission. He is allowed to express this but it is not a doctrine. Some people take their personal beliefs or convictions and try to make a doctrine or command out of it. They teach and preach that everyone else needs to follow this practice when the Lord didn’t teach it.

Jude 3c AMP/JM “…and urgently appeal (to you)…” Not just to state my case but with passion and pressing persuasion I am urging you.

Jude 4d AMP/JM “…and exhort you…” This is another word that means to strongly encourage or advise or convince that it is imperative that this message is strictly adhered to. He is telling them, “Pay attention to this and don’t just hear it and forget it.” Sometimes after a Sunday service a person may be asked what did the preacher talk about? Quite often the reply is, “I don’t remember but the service was really good!” Jude didn’t want that to be the case here. He wanted them to be on alert. Be aware. Don’t forget this message!

Jude 3 AMP/JM “…contend for the faith which was once for all handed down (or delivered) to the saints…”

Contend = to struggle for (this Greek phrase is only used once in the entire Bible)

Contender = In boxing a contender is a qualified opponent who has worked their way up the ranks in order to challenge for the boxing title.

The contender is one who is challenging the person who already has the title. The contender has built themselves up in strength and reputation by fighting and winning. Every time we win against an opponent that challenges our faith we become stronger. There are a lot of challengers to our faith: family members we have been praying for that it seems like they just aren’t ever going to get on the right track, people in our lives who irritate and antagonize us, sicknesses that attack our bodies, financial situations…so many challenges that want to squash our faith.

We must contend for our faith. We must fight for it. The enemy seeks to diminish and ultimately eliminate our faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) Oppositions are opportunities to strengthen and develop faith. Keep pressing. Keep believing God. Don't give up. We are on the winning side!

Aug. 24, 2020

There are some people who make it impossible to give them any significant help. They will take whatever is offered to them but don’t have the capacity, discipline or heart to really build on what was given to them. Instead of knowing or even desiring to build on that gift of generosity they simply look for the next handout…either from that same person or group or they move on to another source. But they don’t learn and many don’t want to learn to do and be better.

These people don’t mind bleeding you dry. The sad part is their lives don’t improve when others sow into them. Their spirits and mindsets remain the same. Their situations remain the same. There is no noticeable improvement no matter how much assistance they receive. They are like the seven skinny cows in Genesis 41:17-21 NLT

17 So Pharaoh told Joseph his dream. “In my dream,” he said, “I was standing on the bank of the Nile River, 18 and I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and begin grazing in the marsh grass. 19 But then I saw seven sick-looking cows, scrawny and thin, come up after them. I’ve never seen such sorry-looking animals in all the land of Egypt. 20 These thin, scrawny cows ate the seven fat cows. 21 But afterward you wouldn’t have known it, for they were still as thin and scrawny as before! Then I woke up.

Even though the skinny, malnourished cows ate the healthy, good-looking cows the unhealthy cows were not changed at all. Their condition remained the same.

There are some people, no matter how much is done for them, there is no significant change. They represent a type of famine. No amount of goods, products or services will improve their condition until their hearts and minds are changed. It is useless and fruitless to invest time, energy and resources into these people. We are to sow into good soil, so the Lord receives a return on what belongs to Him. Everything belongs to Him!

Luke 13: 6-9 NLT

Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’

“The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”

Attention, time and intercession were all applied in the parable above. But there are limits. The Lord agreed to give the fig tree another year to produce, for a total of four years of looking for fruit or results. When the Lord moves on from a situation, we need to move on too. Don’t keep trying to feed a sleeping cow.

The Lord expects fruitfulness. We are not to just keep pouring resources into a dry hole that will never produce anything worthy as long as it is in an unworthy condition. What is an unworthy condition?

Here are five ‘unworthy conditions’ that we are not to sow into.

  1. Idol Worshippers. Even if these people are close friends or relatives. Hosea 4:17 NIV – Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone. Hosea 4:17 NLT Leave Israel alone, because she is married to idolatry.

The above verse refers to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. So, it is referring to those who have known the Lord. It does not mean those who have never had a relationship with the Lord. This verse addresses those who were refusing to serve and worship the Lord. 

They had known God and deliberately chose to ignore Him and bowed to other gods. Through Hosea, the Lord instructs, “Don’t have anything to do with them!”

One might ask, “Can’t we all just get along?” The Lord’s answer is a resounding, “NO!!”

This is the Good News Translation of that same verse, Hosea 4:17. The people of Israel are under the spell of idols. Let them go their own way.

Once people who have known the Lord, choose to live under the yoke of idolatry instead of the liberty of God, let them go. After you have prayed and spoken as the Lord unctions you, let them go. Don’t keep trying to persuade them to come back to the Lord when God has quit wooing them.

2. The Immoral, the Impure and the Greedy. Paul labels all three of these as idolaters because they love, serve and obey their lust. Ephesians 5:1-7 NLT

 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[ and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. 

3. People Who Are Prideful, Rebellious, Dangerous, Quick to React Negatively or With Anger, Irrational, Lacking Wisdom. 2 Timothy 3: 1-5 NIV

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

The clear message is not to mingle with these people. Stay away from them. Separate yourself from them.

4. Divisive People: those who cause division. Titus 3:10-11 NLT

10 If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. 11 For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.

Because our God is a merciful God, some folks think we ought to always go the distance with every resister and in every situation. Clearly, this is not what the scriptures teach. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds that there is “ a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to kill and a time to heal…a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing…a time to be silent and a time to speak…”

Don’t try to be wiser or more merciful than God. When He moves on, move on with Him.

5. People Who Profess To Be Believers But Persist In Ungodly Behaviors.

I Corinthians 5:9-11 NIV

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

Sharing a meal is a universal indication of fellowship. One definition of fellowship is “friendly association with people who share one’s interests.” (Online Google Dictionary)

Believers represent the Lord. What we do, who we associate with and where we go should all be in harmony with His Spirit and His Wisdom.


What do all five of these types of people have in common? Why is it impossible for other humans to help them? Because they have chosen to be their own god. They value what they want for themselves much greater than what the Lord wants and has for them. They discount everything God says as ‘worthless’. His Word doesn’t mean anything to them because they love what they love more than any respect or regard for God.

It is interesting to note how often ‘greed’ is mentioned in these scriptures that warn believers about unproductive associations. Greed is an intense and selfish desire for something like wealth, power, food or any other excessive passion.

The types of people described in these passages are strictly concerned with pleasuring themselves rather than being pleasing to the Lord. We are not to invest in these people. Let them alone and let the Lord deal with them. They will suck up everything you give them and be no better for it. You will be tired, frustrated, without peace, agitated and lacking resources that you could have planted in good ground. Plant in good soil and let the Lord take care of the rest.