COMPARTMENTALIZED CHRISTIANITY…


Deuteronomy 6:6-9 – “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  NKJV

Compartmentalization is defined as “an unconscious psychological mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person’s having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.”  In Christianity, it gives rise and attempts to justify holding the view of one’s having a “spiritual life, church life, family life, business life, etc.”  

I had a very well-respected man, a pillar of the church and community, tell me that his business life, family life, and spiritual life were all separated and that allowed him to function more perfectly in this present world.  I cannot accept that as biblically valid for we are what we believe and out of our belief system our lives are reflected in our various life engagements. 

If we compartmentalize our lives so that one aspect does not overlap the other, we could be devious in business, disloyal in our relationships, and yet maintain the appearance of godliness in the church.  That dog won’t hunt, in my opinion.  We read in Proverbs 23:7 (Amp), “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior – one who manipulates] …”  Jesus informed us in Luke 12 that a person’s life DOES NOT consist of possessions.  His existence may consist in possessions but not his LIFE.  Life is the sum total of all we are in all areas of our existence. 

I believe compartmentalization is one of the major reasons so many are avid defenders of the idea of “separation of church and state.”  If we completely divest politics from our spiritual and moral makeup, we are able to stand behind and with politicians who are not godly, do not support godly principles, and demonstrate a character unbecoming to the faith.  If we completely divest politics from our spiritual and moral makeup, we are able to support legislation that gives us a benefit on one hand while running afoul of the basic principles of God’s word and morality. 

I do not want to make this devotional about politics, but every area of life is part of our LIFE and important.  What I believe politically, economically, socially, and relationally is directly connected and stems from what I believe spiritually.  If I value the Word of God and consider the Bible my guide for faith and practice, then I cannot and will not separate it from every compartment or area of my life.  WHAT I BELIEVE IS WHO I AM! 

It would cause less angst in our hearts if we could compartmentalize our lives and feel no guilt or remorse for deviousness, often called shrewdness, in business.  However, our conscience will not allow us to have that disconnect UNLESS we allow our conscience to become “seared”.  Compartmentalization allows Christians to become anesthetized to the wickedness and evil in society on various fronts. 

I am amazed at how little sin troubles many who profess Christ today.  We are able to be inundated with profanity, lewdness, vileness, and do not feel completely soiled needing a bath.  Our spirits are not grieved when we are bombarded with godlessness and we are able to allow it entrance through our eye or ear gates not realizing that it taints our spirits much more dramatically than we imagine.  I have had some tell me that I am being “holier than thou” or too “Puritan and Prudish” in my views because that’s just the way the world is, and we have to be in it.  Yes, but we are not to be OF IT!

You are not a cat and do not have nine lives distinct and separate from the other compartments of your being.  You are the sum total of the various aspects of your life and a reflection of what you believe.  If we truly believe the Bible is the Word of God then I suggest that we need to come before our Lord and ask Him, as David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”  [Psalm 51:10-11]

In Proverbs 4:23 we find, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”  The word “issues” refers to the “outgoings and boundaries”.  Our heart (what we believe) shapes our lives, who we are, and all we do.  How can we believe in an Omniscient God who wants us to seek first and foremost His kingdom and righteousness if we compartmentalize our lives including Him in some and excluding Him in other portions? 

God bless you as you go through this wonderful day in Him!

THE ROCK UPON WHICH THE CHURCH STANDS…


Matthew 16:15-19 – “He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.  19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  NKJV

            Upon this rock!  What rock should be the logical question?  The name Jesus used to identify Cephas (stone) was Peter (rock) is important but if we make Peter the foundation of the church what shall we do with Jesus?  The name Peter or Petros literally means a stone or fragment of a rock and without question, it is used in describing Peter metaphorically as one who has strength and stability.  Yet, when Jesus said, “… and on this rock” he used the word (Petra) which could be described as a Gibraltar type rock or mass which is unmovable and gives the image of impenetrability. 

If we go back to the question of Jesus for the disciples about whom the people believed Him to be and the response of Peter, we understand the rock that Jesus is building His church on.  Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  You are the Messiah.  You are the One who is to come.  You are the Everlasting Lord.  You are Him!  Therefore, without question, the ROCK upon which the Church of Jesus is being established is the TRUTH of CHRIST, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.  The one who is the WAY, TRUTH, and LIFE.  The one who is the DOOR and only access to the Father.  UPON THAT ROCK stands the Church of Jesus Christ, the Glorious Church He was and is building.

This ROCK is unique for it is not immobile but able to assault the very gates of hell for Jesus declares, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.  Jesus conquered hell and the grave and is not ascended on high making intercession for us.  He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us and is with us to the end of the age.  In His Father’s house are many mansions and He has gone to make a place for us and will come again to receive us unto Himself and we will ever be with the LORD.  The ROCK upon which I stand is Jesus Christ!  I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day! 

God bless you as your rest on and in the ROCK.  May your daily walk be in peace, power, and love!

LAUGH, CRY, and LOVE, BUT ABOVE ALL LIVE…


Mark 8:34-38 – “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.  36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” NKJV

Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers… 

I have seen, read, and heard this in numerous places and have no idea who to give credit to for the original story but it fits today.  I find application for it in my daily life and in helping to shape my world view and views politically as well.  My spiritual views are impacted by the message but my faith is founded on the Word of God and the clear teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as revealed in the writings of the 40 authors of the 66 Books Canonized in our Holy Bible.

When things in your life seem too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.  A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.  When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. To further his message the professor picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.  He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.  Clearly, on a mission with a message, the professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous YES!

Then to the complete surprise of the class, the professor produced two bottles of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.  Now, said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

WHAT ARE THE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED?

  1. THE GOLF BALLS are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
  • THE PEBBLES are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.
  • THE SAND is everything else—the small stuff.


‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.  Therefore, it is imperative that you

  • Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
    Spend time with your children.
  • Spend time with your parents.
  • Visit with grandparents.
  • Take your spouse out to dinner.
  • Play another 18 holes of golf.
  • There will always be time to clean the house, fix the disposal, or deal with things from your job.

The Ultimate Lesson is “Take care of the golf balls first” – the things that really matter.  Set your priorities.  Make your priorities things that are lasting and can bring you joy and happiness lastingly.  Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize.  Live do not simply exist.  Be do not just Do!  You Must Remember – – “Everything Else is Just Sand.”

It was at the point one of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.  The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’  The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.

Disclaimer – – I’m not advocating drinking, but the point is clear, and a couple of beers could be a cup of coffee, a glass of tea, lemonade, or anything.  Take time to enjoy life!  Stop and smell the roses along life’s pathway!

Life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  (Luke 12:23).  If you are too busy to enjoy the people and events of life you are too busy with busyness to hear God and likely too busy to LIVE!  You are existing, achieving, and gaining things that will perish rather than building memories and treasures in the things that matter.  You may be leaving an inheritance of things, but you are not leaving a legacy of love and life.

So, please begin today making the MOST IMPORTANT the MOST IMPORTANT in your life.  There is time to do what is nearest and dearest to your heart.  Your management of time is up to you and if you desire God will help you “redeem the time” so that first things are first and your investment in lives will pay far greater dividends than your amassing earthly treasure.

God bless you as you go through this wonderful day in Him!

Read Mark 8:36-37 and Ephesians 6 as a foundation for what I have offered in this devotional today.  

I WISH I WAS EIGHTEEN AGAIN…


Luke 9:62 –“But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  NKJV

The title and the text have some wiggle room to attain the message I desire to present in this short devotional.  Truly, if one looks back at their past longingly and regrets or pines for the pleasures of sin that is an awful place and fits squarely in the word of our Lord in the above passage.  That is something I would want everyone to hold in the forefront of their consciousness but not specifically what I desire to present today.

I have said and heard others say, “If only I could be eighteen again knowing what I know now.”  There is both good and bad in that statement. But at its heart, it is a wrong frame of mind for the past is the past and time once lived cannot be recovered.  It is gone!  Paul told the Philippians that he knew he had not achieved spiritual perfection but was continuously reaching for the prize.  He emphasized that in pressing forward he refused to look back.  Lessons are learned in our experiences, but they should never become a point of focus that we keep before us.  Learn the lesson, implement the learned, and move forward.

Eighteen is so far in the rearview mirror that I can barely remember it and although I made many mistakes at that stage of my life and have wondered how different my life would have been and be had those mistakes not been made.  I dwell there only momentarily for almost immediately the Holy Spirit reminds me that my path led me to Christ and eternal redemption. 

I made several choices after high school to avoid Vietnam and with each choice, something changed that kept my path headed to Southeast Asia where spent 1967.  I wanted to be an Air Force fighter pilot, I had the opportunity to cross branches to the Army and train for flying helicopters.  Had either of those happened my life could have and probably would have been dramatically different if I had survived.  Experiences in childhood, high school, military, and afterward conditioned my heart to hear the tugging of the Holy Spirit and the wonder of salvation.  I would not change that for anything, so I do not want to be eighteen again.

Some want to be eighteen again or any age younger than their present years because they fear the eventuality of death.  Death is a horror if you do not know the LORD in salvation and forgiveness but holds not sting or threat if we do.  We know that it is simply a promotion, sleep, and/or transition from the physical reality to spiritual and eternal reality. 

If it were possible to turn back the clock, travel back in time, and be eighteen again where is the guarantee one would make the right choices and still arrive at the desired destination.  The desire is somewhat rooted in vanity but even more concerning is it expresses a lack of peace.  It expresses a lack of contentment with where our lives are now.  It expresses a desire to be god and in control rather than walking in faith and obedience to the Father.

We are on an eternal journey and reaching the finish line is not an undesirable thing.  Rather than wishing, we could return to the days of youth let’s focus on making the remaining days of our lives productive and full.  I desire to LIVE not to ENDURE!  I desire to savor every moment of the remaining days and my prayer is that the LORD enable me to fulfill my purpose in this generation.  I want to be a vessel the Master can and does use to touch lives for God and good.    Never focus on the past but keep your eyes on the prize that is before!  The end of the race is better than the beginning!  

May God bless you, guard, and guide you as you walk through this day in Him!   Blessings!

ONE TIME TOO MANY…


Matthew 18:21-23 – Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”  22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  NKJV

I know some believers who are such incredible literalists they often come to some amazing conclusions regarding scripture.  I had to deal with a situation where a church member had gotten into trouble because during an argument someone struck him.  He followed the biblical mandate and turned the other cheek and they hit him on that cheek as well.  He then proceeded to give the other person a thorough thrashing. I had to plea to keep him from being arrested for assault.  He could not understand the problem for he said, “But I turned the other cheek and the Bible does not say anything about what to do after that, so I took it literally to mean I was on solid ground.” 

I remind him and others of this passage and attempted to convey that Jesus was not saying forgive 490 times and then on 491 it is open season.  Several protested that we must take the Bible literally and since Jesus said 490 there had better not be number 491.  I laughed thinking of the ledger they would have to keep for the 490 sins and possibly in the context the same sin.  Imagine being so consumed with revenge and being allowed to retaliate that you kept such a ledger.  I cannot fathom that because by the time 491 rolled around the bitterness would have consumed the one supposedly forgiving.

Forgiveness must have, at its foundation, a desire for restoration.  It cannot be focused on the offense or self for if it is it will prove to be other than forgiveness.  Forgiveness cannot be a balance sheet or scale it must be a matter of choice from the heart that desires to restore the one offending.  If I declare that I forgive you and harbor resentment I have not forgiven.  I have only exercised the application of a faux balm on my conscience, but the root is still there. 

Forgiveness is to release into the hands of God and then take my hands off.  If I am keeping score, I have neither released it to God nor taken my hands off.  God clearly says, “Vengeance is mine…”  Remember this question was about being offended, wounded, or wronged by a BROTHER.  He gives a directive on handling offenses between brothers earlier in the chapter and few, if any, follow that prescription. Few churches are equipped mentally or spiritually to follow that directive.  The ultimate end of church discipline, God’s chastisement or forgiveness is restoration.  It may not happen but that must always remain the objective.

We may not forget but we, just as God does, make the decision to never allow that offense to come into play in our dealings with the one forgiven.  I am not suggesting that you do not guard against being taken advantage of, but you cannot do that to the place that you are cynical and lacking compassion or trust.  If you get burned you get burned and you can turn to God for His comfort and protection.  Never allow your heart to become hardened or filled with bitterness because of offenses.  Forgive and we will be forgiven!  What a promise and provision from our LORD.  

May the Lord be with you and bless you as you go through this day!

LITTLE IS MUCH WHEN GOD IS IN IT…


Judges 3:31 – “After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel.”  NKJV

This has always been a fascinating sentence inserted in the history of Israel and their struggles for freedom in the Old Testament.  Ehud had led them to victory over the Moabites and 80 years of rest or peace ensued.  As he grew older portions of the land began to fall into the hands of plunderers and thieves, especially those of the Philistines.  There was no one to lead Israel to victory and most people, the historical record indicates, simply stayed off the highways and were isolated and living in fear.

We know little of the man named here and it appears that there was nothing particularly unusual about him except for his obedience to the Spirit of God.  I cannot unfold the account with historical accuracy but simply draw from this verse to say, “Little is much when God is in it.”  Here, it appears that one man, alone, without proper weapons or battle armor withstood what was virtually an army of Philistines with what the Bible calls an “ox goad” or as many identify a plowshare.  This was nothing short of a miracle and in this act of a solitary man, the nation of Israel was once again delivered.

That screams to me that the false claim, “I am only one, what can I do” should be forever eliminated from a Christian’s vocabulary and philosophy.  If God could use Moses, Joshua, Caleb, David, Samson, and Shamgar to perform exploits outside the norm then why can He not find one among us today to deliver?

It is not the armor or weaponry that one has at his/her disposal but the Arm of the Lord that matters.  If God could use Gideon and his small band of men to completely route an entire army can He not raise up deliverers in this generation?   He can but He first has to find willing hearts who will dare to believe Him.  He has to find those so completely trusting they can see no option but success and value His word over their lives.  He has to find someone who will dare to believe in the impossible and attempt the improbable.

In something like the exploits of Shamgar one has to acknowledge the intervention of the supernatural. In the natural it would be impossible for one man with a plowshare to defeat 600 armed men.  Yet, the Bible declares it happened and I believe it happened.  Therefore, I draw from it hope and faith to believe that if God directs it, He will enable and provide.  Rather than focus on the problem focus on the God of the solution and hope will begin to rise, faith will strengthen, and courage will ooze forth from deep within.

Truly, little is much when God is in it, but much is little if God is not there!   Remember He said, where two or three are gathered in My name I am in the midst of them. 

God bless you as you face this new day!

THE UNBORN – Fetus or Baby?


Genesis 25:21-22 – “Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?” So, she went to inquire of the LORD.”  NKJV

I am a Christian and unashamedly Pro-Life.  I base my belief my understanding of the Bible.  I hear many, including Christians, refer to that thing in the mother’s womb as a ‘fetus’ rather than a ‘baby’.  I understand the medical terminology and that the politically correct approach is to use the term ‘fetus’ but I cannot. I believe that God views that developing and growing life inside the womb as a child, a living human being. 

If you notice in the passage used as our text, the unborn twins in Rebekah’s womb are referred to as “children”.  The Hebrew word (banim) is a common word used to refer to children “after” birth and normally means sons.  In the New Testament, the Greek (brephos) was used to refer to John the Baptist, who “leaped in Elizabeth’s womb” because of the presence of the unborn Christ.   [Luke 1:41-44].

I find no evidence that God considers the unborn babies lumps of tissue that can be disposed of at will I find it impossible to support abortion.  Therefore, since Psalm 139 declares that God knew our parts even before we were formed in the womb, I find it difficult to believe that life does not begin at conception.  Our parts were written in God’s book in the days He fashioned us, and He knew them before they existed in the flesh.  When does life begin?  It begins in the heart of God and if the Bible is to be trusted most assuredly begins at conception.

I realize that many Christians will have difficulty with my assertion.  But I can find no valid evidence that a human baby living in the womb goes through reptile or fish stages.  They do not develop fins, tails, or gills.  Murder, in the Bible, is the intentional killing of innocent human beings and is regarded as a heinous crime and sin.  I know that many believers make exceptions to such events as rape, deformity, incest, etc. but can we really make those exceptions?  Did those conditions somehow transform that living being into a non-living or unimportant mass of tissue? 

Ezekiel 18 informs us that a child is not to be executed for the crimes or sins of his/her father, but each person dies for their own sins. The father does not bear the guilt of the son nor the son the guilt of the father.  The answer to whether abortion is a valid option or not is answered in determining if that living growing thing in the womb is a baby, child, human being, or simply a mass of tissue that can be disposed of as we would a bag of trash.  Once you answer that question the abortion question has an easy answer.  I know what I believe and what I believe the Bible teaches but I cannot answer the question for you.

May God help us to value human life and value that which He has and is creating.  God bless you as you go forward from this day!  Blessings!

WHO LET THE DOGS OUT???


Philippians 3:2-6 – Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; 3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, 4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.”  NASB

Many of you have either heard the song or heard of the song, “Who Let the Dogs Out?”  It was performed by a Bahamian group called “Baha Men” and released as a single on July 26, 2000.  It was not about dogs but men who women would consider dogs and in a great sense the idea here in Philippians is not about the canine creature but about human beings who are like scavenging dogs seeking destruction.

We have all seen the warning signs on fences, BEWARE OF DOG or BEWARE THE DOG.  We understood the warning to be valid and that should we dare to venture into the space behind the warning it could be hazardous to our health as we might be attacked by a creature bent on our destruction.  I find it interesting that Paul would begin his address with a warning about dogs and connected it to evil workers, and those who were false in their faith.  He was lumping them all into one basket and virtually every society understands the danger of a dog not tamed or one that is trained to guard or destroy. 

A particularly unpleasant verse is Proverbs 26:11 where we are reminded that one of the natural tendencies of a dog is quite disgusting.  He uses this illustration to compare that to a life that is not rooted and grounded in God.  I don’t know if you recall the passage in Psalm 59 where the Psalmist is addressing God’s punishment and judgment and the prayer for God to not show any graciousness to the treacherous.  The next sentence is, “They return at evening, they howl like a dog…” 

In a pack of dogs if one decides to attack the others will follow and they will turn on each other following the strongest dog in the pack.  In Psalm 22:20 the dog is once again mentioned in a negative light, “Deliver my soul from the sword, my only life from the power of the dog.”  Dogs are often used in the Bible to represent agents of destruction and we need to BEWARE of the lurking destruction the enemy plans for us. 

I recall years ago, I was working as an Insurance Debit Agent and had to collect payments as well as sell insurance.  I stopped at one house and saw a dog pen away from the house and a dog was obviously angry and seeking to be freed.  After conducting my business, I was walking back to my car and a hound dog came to meet me.  She was acting timid and I patted her head, then she rolled over on her back and I rubbed her tummy, not thinking anything was wrong.  I took about two steps toward my car and she nailed me behind the knee. 

That dog was not what she appeared and fooled me, which is a rarity for me regarding animals.  The bite was bad, but the sneakiness of the dog was more infuriating than the bite.  I should have been more alert and remembered the pen away from the house, but I was deceived. 

Agents of Destruction use deception as their primary weapon. We must always be on the alert and BEWARE of DOGS!  There are dogs in religious circles who are false and working evil behind the scenes.  They will appear as that timid cute dog that wants you to pat its head or rub its tummy but once you turn your back, they will seek to destroy you.  We are ignorant of the devices and schemes of the devil and this is another reason to put on the Whole Armor of God and Pray Always!

God, bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!

THE CHRISTIAN ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY…


Luke 17:5-10 –“And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”  6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.  7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’?  8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’?  9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.  10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'”  NKJV

I have heard well-meaning and well-intentioned Christians and preachers speak of God being obligated to them because of their faith or obedience.  This passage is problematic to that view and while I am not suggesting that God does not commit Himself to us.  We should never develop the attitude that He owes us anything or is obligated to our directives.

The request was for “increased faith” and in responding to that request Jesus went far beyond what one would have thought and addressed what I call a “Christian Entitlement Mentality”.  He spoke of the seeming smallness of faith but illustrated its power and potential.  He then addressed something that is often overlook regarding faith and that is obedience.  Jesus addressed this in the Centurion whose servant the LORD healed.  The Centurion demonstrated his understanding of authority and the chain of command and in response to that Jesus said, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel.”  That is powerful.

Here he speaks of a servant doing the daily chores and labors who comes in from the field.  The servant was operating in obedience doing what he was supposed to do.  Jesus asked if they thought the master would say to that servant, “Come at once and sit down and eat?”  He did not wait for their response but informed them that this would not happen.  The master would tell them to prepare him something and after he had eaten, they could eat.  He concluded by asking, “Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him?  I think not.”  He then says, “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants.  We have done what was our duty to do.” 

Some have made this about the impossibility of man living before God without sin, but He did not say “sinful servants” rather “unprofitable servants.”  We have earned nothing in our service.  We have not established a heavenly bank account from which we withdraw at our choosing.  If God blesses us it is “unmerited favor” not because we deserve it or have earned it.

God does not need our service. He chooses to allow us to participate in the Kingdom.  Our ability to live and perform His commands and our assignments is by Grace.  When we do what is right, we are simply doing our duty not earning favor with or obligating God.  The best service we can offer is mingled with imperfections and we continually come short.  But God in His incredible grace and mercy will bear with us and He chooses to lavish His good things on us because of love not because we earned it.

Please avoid a Christian Entitlement Mentality it will pervert and destroy our relationship with God and tends to create an elitist mentality that is counterproductive to the Kingdom of God.

God bless you as you go through this day!

HUNGRY FOR GOD???


Psalm 42:1-3 – “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.  2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?  3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?”  NKJV

When I read passages like this and compare the heart cry of the Psalmist to the deep cries of my soul I am moved deeply.  As I read these few verses, I cannot help but sense the incredible longing of the writer for God’s revealed and realized presence.  He was comparing his hunger and thirst for God to that of a deer in the heat longing for water to be refreshed.  He then adds that he has been so moved with a longing that the well of tears from within his being were like a never-ceasing fountain.  His tears have consumed him rendering him unable to consume natural food due to his quest for God.  He cries that his inner man continually asks, “Where is your God?” 

I have experienced times of intense longing and am currently so hungry and thirsty for God that I find myself weeping on my bed in the night crying out for His presence in a more pronounced way.  The intensity of His presence is not always a consuming passion in our lives and I’m not sure we could survive physically if it were.  However, the consciousness of His presence is needed for us to overcome the assaults hurled at us by the enemy of our souls.  It is by the strength of His presence that we are able to withstand the many twists and turns life hurls at us.

David was identified, by God, as a man after His own heart and when I read passages like this, usually attributed to David I understand how God could so describe him.  He was clearly a man, a leader, a king, a warrior who had a passion for God.  David instituted worship in the Tabernacle like never before experienced for he understood the importance of the presence of God.  He understood that through worship and praise we enter God’s gate and courts.  It is through our worship and praise that we invite His presence in a most powerful way.  Additionally, we know through Scripture and the life of our Lord Jesus Christ the importance of prayer as a means of communication and communion with God. 

I believe that appetites are cultivated in the natural and in the spiritual.  It is as we ingest His word, pray, praise, and worship that we cultivate the appetite for Him, and in so doing we develop a hunger and thirst that motivates us to press into His presence.  It is in His presence that we receive strength, renewal, and restoration enabling us to fulfill the purposes He has for our lives on planet earth.

If you are not hungry and thirsty for God, I suggest that you begin to develop a habit of prayer, reading the Bible, praise, and worship and I believe that the hunger and thirst will be a natural byproduct of those activities.  As we engage in those activities our hearts become conditioned to receive His presence and our souls begin to long for His presence. 

God bless you as you allow the Holy Spirit to make you hungry and thirsty for God.  Blessings as you move to the next steps and phases of your life on planet earth.