MEEK or WEAK?


I have encountered and had to challenge within my own heart and mind the concept that being meek equaled being weak.  Biblically meekness is the exact opposite of weakness.  I want to avoid offering opinions and go directly to the Scripture for my explanation and evaluation of the quality of Meekness. 

In studying the Bible, it is impossible to miss the fact that Jesus never offered an opinion.  He never guessed; He knew, He knows and that will never change.  When we read the Beatitudes we often come away with emotional and mental difficulty grasping the concept or truth that Jesus presented.  I’ve known preachers that avoid the Beatitudes as though they were infected with some contagious plague.  One even said, “I don’t want to preach being poor or sad, I want to preach joy and blessings.”  I thought, wait, Jesus used the word Blessed which encompasses not only happiness but inherent joy and prosperity of soul in His declaration of the desired conditions presented in the Beatitudes.

Many of the teachings of our Lord can and will become heavy weights if we fail to grasp both who we are and whose we are.  If we fail to reconcile what God says about us with what we think, or the world declares about us.  When we do we will find incredible liberty and transformation that makes the Beatitudes not only possible but powerful realities in our lives.

God says that we are members of the Body of Christ.  The Bible declares that we are more than conquerors through Jesus.  The Scripture teaches that we have authority and power over all the power of the enemy.  From that position and condition, we can realize that a biblically ‘meek man’ is not a human mouse held down by his own sense of inferiority.  That is biblical meekness it is human oppression and a demonic misrepresentation of the truth.   

I believe that a man or woman who is ‘biblically meek’ can be bold as a lion because he or she has experienced victory over the deception of self.  When we overcome the attempts of the devil to fool us about who we are and what we are capable of we rise in a boldness that is incredible.  When one accepts God’s estimate of their own lives they experience a transformation that is a launching pad for faith and opens the door to fulfill Jesus words in John 14:12. It is then that we can, in humility, do the works that He did, and even greater works having received the Power of the Spirit of God in our lives.

A truly meek person, in the biblical sense, finds no need to defend himself because he knows that God is his defense.  He no longer is entrapped or ensnared by pretense.  He is who he is and does not feel the need to be anything else or impress anyone else.  God is his focus and his desire is that the words of his mouth, the meditation of his heart, and his life pleases God.  If a man is pleased that is a bonus but not a focus.  No, he is not inconsiderate, but the opinion of man is secondary to the favor of God.

Too often we wear masks as Christians and fear being exposed or fear someone realizing our own personal deficiencies.  In our attempt to be ‘meek’ we become ‘weak’ and in our weakness we become proud.  I hope that is not confusing but although it is not a bad thing to want to put your best foot forward if the approval of man is your focus you will gain neither man’s approval or Gods and find yourself deeply dissatisfied. 

We become artificial and many live with the fear that some deep dark secret in their hearts or some deficiency in their life will be exposed.  That artificiality will steal from them any peace and rob them of the ability to ‘rest’.  Jesus’ instructions and invitation in Matthew 11:28-29 was to enter into His Rest and allow Him to help us carry the burden of living and life.

When we come to Jesus and surrender all to Him, we realize there is no need for artificiality or pretense.  In Him, we are forgiven!  It is from the position of forgiveness and grace that we gain the power to become who God says we are.  In that condition, we become ‘meek’ because we know that in ourselves we are nothing, can do nothing, and have nothing.  However, in Him, we have all that heaven offers.  That reality is humbling and allows biblical meekness to flood our hearts and in that condition of dependence, we become bold as lions with no pretense or artificiality.  We become overcomers because we know that we do not have to defend ourselves or be something we are not.  We Trust!

Never fear biblical meekness, for out of that condition you find humility, compassion, and strength beyond anything you have ever known.

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!

THE PRESENCE OF GOD…


Psalm 139:7 – “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?”  NASU

I have heard, even said, and I’m sure you have as well, “God showed up today,” speaking of a church service or an event.  I have a problem with that statement when it is viewed in light of God being somewhere else and suddenly showing up where we were.  That is a mistaken view of God and His presence.  Some may totally disagree with me at this point but let me continue and hopefully, we will arrive at an agreeable conclusion.

If this Psalm is the truth, then God didn’t just show up, He was already there, we just didn’t recognize, receive, or accept Him.  We did not recognize the manifestation of His presence for whatever reason but to convey the idea that He ‘showed up’ is to suggest that He is not, as this verse declares, EVERYWHERE!  I believe and believe that the Bible teaches that God dwells in His creation and is present in all His works.  At the risk of sounding as though I embrace the doctrine of Pantheism, I contend that there is no place we can go where God is not.

Go back to the Garden of Eden and consider the error of Adam.  I am not talking about His error in choosing to disobey God but the fact that once he had disobeyed he attempted to hide from God.   Adam and Eve heard God in the Garden and they hid from Him or attempted to.  Imagine that!  Most of us would laugh at such a feeble attempt to hide but tragically we demonstrate that we believe it is possible to be somewhere God is not.  Go back to my earlier statement of someone saying, “God showed up or turned up here today.”  That is an expression of the idea that He was not there and therefore not everywhere.

We mistake the Presence and the Manifestation of God as being synonymous.  The failure to recognize and embrace His manifestation is not an indication that He was not there.  We either believe Him to be Omnipresent or we do not.  There can be and is the Presence of God but there may not be the open Manifestation of Him.  In Jeremiah 23:23-24, we read, “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God afar off?  Can a man hide in secret places so that I cannot see Him? Declares the Lord.  Do I not fill heaven and earth? Declares the Lord.”  If that is the truth, then we readily see the difference between the Presence of God and the open Manifestation of Him. 

God wants to be found of us or by us.  We are told to ‘seek the Lord’ and if we understand that to mean that He is afar off, in hiding, or not always present we make a grave error.  We are to seek Him so that our receptivity of Him is enhanced.  We seek Him so that the eyes of our spirits are open to receive and recognize Him. 

It is possible and likely that we will not always sense Him, feel Him, or recognize His presence but He is there!  The fact that He is Present does not mean we notice, feel, recognize, or embrace that presence.  That’s why we pray, worship, praise, and always seek to be filled with the Spirit of God!  Jesus instructed us, in Matthew 6, to pray that the Kingdom of God would come, and the will of God would be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Does anyone think that God’s Manifest Presence is not realized at all times in heaven?  Would anyone suggest that God might be absent from His creation at any time? 

He may seem far off, but He is there!  He is there all the time, every time, and no matter where we go, He is there!  The problem is not the absence of His presence but the sensitivity of our spirits and hearts to recognize His presence.  We are sometimes too preoccupied with visible things to see the invisible presence of God.  We are so accustomed to that which we call reality we miss the reality of His presence in the invisible realm.  It is when we live in a consciousness of His presence that we learn to exercise authority and power over the powers of darkness.  It is then that we become bold as lions and fear are banished from our minds and our lives. 

My prayer is, “Lord, help me to recognize your presence.”  I want to take up permanent residence in His presence and fulfill the purposes of God for my life and complete my assignment on this earth.  My heart cries as the Psalmist in Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.”  He continued declaring, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?’”  He did not ask, “God when are you going to show up?”  He recognized the reality that God is there, everywhere, all the time and the problem was not the absence of the presence of God but His failure to enter into that presence.

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

THE LIMITLESSNESS or INFINITUDE OF GOD…


Revelation 1:8 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was, and who is to come. The Almighty.”

It virtually impossible for the finite mind of man to truly comprehend the infiniteness of God.  The limitlessness of God is a truth that most people attempt to embrace in theory, but its reality is absent from their manner of life.  What I mean by that is that too often we declare that we believe that God is Infinite, but we live as though He were Finite. We conduct ourselves in a manner that belies our declaration that He is everything at once without being diminished in His person or power.  Sometimes we live as though God might not see us. 

The reality of God seeing everything is both comforting and frightening. Therefore, the mind of mortal man tends to diminish the infinitude of God.  We tend to redefine the word infinite and rather than it being limitless we make it mean much or a great deal rather than without bounds.

God is not bound by time or space and in Him, there is no time.  A.W. Tozer said, “In God, time does not pass, it remains eternally the same.”  We find that concept incredibly difficult to grasp because we are time sensitive creatures.  Our perspective of life is measured in time.  We have deadlines and schedules and that means that from time to time we get in a hurry.  Not God!  He never hurries and that’s why we sometimes become frustrated in His timing in answering our prayers. I heard years ago, “God is never late, and He is never early.”  I have no desire to debate the declaration because sometimes, in our minds, He is late. 

In the view of God’s limitlessness, we can approach the reality that everything that flows out from Him is also limitless.  His mercy is limitless.  His love knows no bounds.  His grace is timeless and unending.  His power knows no limitations.  Before, I allow someone to adopt a wrong view of God let me state several things. 

God does not have the things we ascribe to Him such as power. He does not have, He is!  He is Love! He is Light! He is Power!  He is who and what He is!  He is eternally the same.  Also, although His grace, love, and mercy are boundless He is also Just, Holy, and Righteous.  Therefore, He will and does judge sin.  We can never separate God’s Justice from His Mercy for He is Holy, therefore as the Psalmist asked, in Psalm 24, “Who can ascend into the hill or the presence of God and stand before Him?”  The answer is, “the one with clean hands and a pure heart.”  God’s Grace enables us to become Holy as He is Holy and to dwell in His presence.

Let me also address the Presence of God.  Many today are praying for God to send His presence into our world.  I too want to live in the Presence of the Almighty and destroy the works of the devil.  I suggest that you consider the fact of the infiniteness of God and the reality that He is everywhere that His presence is ALWAYS here!  The problem is not that God has not sent His presence to us, it is that we have not entered into His presence and realized its personal manifestation in our lives. 

I suggest we stop praying for God to ‘turn up’ or ‘show up’ as some suggest and realize that HE IS HERE! We need to enter into Him and His presence.  We need to not only pray that His Kingdom come, and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven but to determine that we will reside in no other condition and position that in His realized presence.  He wants to be fully expressed and realized in our daily lives.  My heart’s cry is more of you Lord, more of you!

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

DISRESPECT…


Ephesians 6:2-3 – “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”  NKJV

I was out in the market place some time back and heard a child demanding a particular item from his mother and when she resisted he sat down in the floor and threw a temper tantrum and she soon acquiesced and gave him what he wanted.  Later that same day I was in a restaurant and a father told his little girl to sit down and eat her food and she told him, quiet loudly and without any trepidation, “NO and you can’t make me!”  He let her continue what she was doing. 

I won’t say I was shocked but remembered my childhood and thought about what my parent’s response would have been.  You really don’t want to know because I probably wouldn’t have been able to sit down for a week.  They would have busted my rear end right then and there and virtually nobody would have thought a thing about it but would have acknowledged approval for the discipline. 

I respected my parents and knew that there were boundaries that I had to stay within or there would be consequences that I did not desire.  My respect for them, their enforcement of discipline (consistently) and my love for them motivated me to do what they approved when I was with them.  I confess I broke their rules when away from them but I “honored them” while in their presence and sought to honor them even in their absence.

I blame the parents for not enforcing consistent discipline, society for adopting the ideology that discipline (biblical) cannot be used, and the children for being disrespectful.  My children will tell you that we did not allow them to pull the stunts mentioned above.  In church while I was preaching my boys knew that if I snapped my fingers it meant, “Stop what you are doing now.”  They may not remember how effective it was but believe me the consistent enforcement of discipline on that front make that an effective method of getting the desired and necessary response from them. 

I am reminded of one of the church members in one particular church telling the story of how their oldest son was acting up and the mother picked him up to take him out of the sanctuary and fully intended to give him a spanking.  As she was going down the aisle he said where everyone could hear, “Somebody help me this crazy woman is going to kill me.”  The entire church erupted in laughter and she got so tickled that while she still disciplined him she could not help but find it funny.

But, for all of us who have parents and or children we should remember this verse and the additional benefit it contains.  It is a reference to the Ten Commandments and Paul says that “honoring your parents” carries with it the promise of long life on the earth.  Do I think that someone can honor parents and die young, of course.  

However, I also believe that many live long and fruitful lives largely based on this promise and their truthful honoring of their parents.  My grandfather on my mother’s side was 9 days short of being 101 when he went home to be with the Lord and I know he honored his parents as did his children him and my grandmother.  My mother was 95 when she went home to glory and I watched her honor her parents.  Honor is more than just doing what they say it is a mindset and attitude.  It is a relationship.  It is an expression of respect and love.  It carries with it a desire to please them as is described in the Bible.

I see disrespect in public.  I’ve seen it in homes.  I’ve seen it in schools.  I’ve seen it in every aspect of our society and goes way beyond just honoring parents but that is my focus here.  Let’s get this part right and I believe many of the other areas will come into harmony with the biblical guidelines.  I’m not suggesting that you have use the rod or the method of Proverbs. 

However, if we applied the principles such as the one taught in Proverbs we would be light years ahead in our pursuit of proper decorum and manage the problem of disrespect. Proverbs 13:24 – “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”   Discipline would be a very good be a good place to start.  My dad could quote and believed an earlier verse in that chapter and practiced it.  Verse 14 – “You shall beat him with a rod, and shall deliver his soul from hell.”  Actually, I’m glad my parents disciplined me, and it did not make me a warped individual.  If I’m warped I did that on my own their discipline didn’t cause it.

May God be with you as you go through your day!

DECEPTION…


Genesis 3:4 – “But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.”  ESV

I often call Genesis the “Seed Book of the Bible” because in the first twelve chapters you find the foundation for virtually everything taught in the remainder of the Bible.  If one were to get a good handle on those chapters I am confident that much of the deception that has and does take place would be thwarted and we would see vast new doors of understanding opened to the Body of Christ.

But DECEPTION did not begin in the Garden of Eden it began before that when Lucifer convinced one-third of the angelic hosts to rebel against God.  It was through deception that this transpired.  His work in the Garden is just a continuation of his very nature and character and sadly, Adam & Eve bought what he was selling and were deceived.  Their deception not only cost them but the human race and had God not been willing to allow Jesus to come to earth and go to the Cross we’d still be in the clutches of the devil.  There is a consequence to deception because it results in actions that as Paul equates in Galatians as sowing which produces a harvest that has to be reaped whether we want to or not.

Deception comes when we fail to keep our hearts open to the Word and the Spirit of God.  It comes when we neglect our study of God’s Word and our prayer life.  It comes when we allow the flesh to rule over the spirit.  It comes when we allow the lust or carnal desires to override the spiritual directives of the Spirit and Word of God.  It comes when we become self-centered and dethrone God while elevating ourselves to the Center of our Universe as Adam & Eve did. 

In a sense Adam & Eve voted God out and voted themselves in as the supreme in their universe. As one of my friends often describes it, “They were born again backward.”  They opted to believe THE LIE rather than GOD who is TRUTH.  They opted to follow their own carnal desires and wisdom (so-called) rather than be obedient.  The fruit could have been a bridge over a stream that God said “Do not cross!”  It didn’t matter it was a matter of obedience and they disobeyed because they were deceived.

I doubt that there has been a week pass in my Christian experience that I haven’t meet and talked to someone who is in some kind of deception in some area.  That is probably applicable to me as well and as the Holy Spirit reveals to me any area of deception in my life I Immediately repent and begin diligent study to correct the error and become rightly aligned with the Word of God.  Do I have all truth?  NO!  Do I have all my doctrine right? Since I do not believe any human does, I would say NO!  

I would like to think I have it all right, but from time to time I find that something I have believed is not completely accurate. When that becomes a reality I must allow my doctrine to be modified to accommodate what God says not what I want God to say.  I do not want to be like a preacher I heard once say, “I’ve been in the ministry for 30 years and I have not changed my doctrine or my message.”  I thought I have!  

Religious rigidity to the point of being stubborn and believing you have everything totally perfect is dangerous. A person in that condition could and probably would rapidly become a Pharisee. I was one once and never want to return to that place of legalism.  I want to be like a piece of clay in the hands of the potter to be molded and shaped into whatever He desires for my life.  That has been an ongoing process and what and where I am today has evolved dramatically in some areas and remained pretty consistent in others.  I know in part and have a limited perspective but God sees everything from the beginning to the end whereas we see things from the end to the beginning.  There is a big difference!  One is foresight the other is hindsight.

So as you go through the day allow the Holy Spirit to guide your footsteps and keep your heart and mind open to and expansion of truth in your life that God chooses to bring to you.  

Blessings as you go through your day!

HAVE WE LOST THE URGENCY WE ONCE HAD?


2 Peter 3:8-9 – “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” NKJV

When I first began in the ministry there was an urgency and expectancy that the LORD was about to come.  We thought it so imminent that some foolishly sold all they had and went into hibernation waiting for the LORD’s return.  Others, however, felt the urgency and expectancy as a compulsion to Spread the Gospel to everyone and anyone who would listen fully believing that there might, not and likely would not be a tomorrow.  As time has passed I have seen a loss of that urgency and expectancy because as Peter described in the preceding verses people lose the urgency because they kept hearing it but nothing happened and time just kept rolling along.

Today some are beginning to feel a resurgence of the “urgency” and there is a growing “anticipation” that something is about to happen in the spiritual realm.  Our world has evolved to a place where more and more things are in place for the fulfillment of biblical prophecy concerning the “end times.”  There is legitimate cause to be concerned about things in our own government as well as in the world overall regarding the opening of the door for the “Anti-Christ” to come on the scene.

            For some time I have been sensing an urgency from the LORD and a reminder that just because it has not happened doesn’t mean that it is not going to or that it is necessarily sometime in the far distant future.  I don’t know when the LORD will return and neither does any other human on planet earth.  Yet, what I want to say here is less about the delay or the imminent return of the LORD, but more about the last part of verse nine. 

Verse nine bring to mind the reality that the LORD is longsuffering or patient with us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  That is the heart of God our Redemption. That is why Jesus came the first time, lived as He did, and went to the Cross.  We have been God’s focus from the beginning and sadly we have, at times, lost a sense of that and the urgency of God’s heart regarding the lost.

I pray to God that I never become so calloused regarding the Gift of Salvation. I pray that I never lose the sense of urgency that comes with it.  If somehow tomorrow a vast fortune came into my hands and I could do with it whatever I choose I would instantly seek to bless those I love and care about.  Following that I would seek to help as many ministries as I could to further the cause of the Kingdom of God.  We have been given this Great Treasure of salvation and often seem to take it for granted and appear calloused with regard to those who have not received this gift and do not know our LORD.

Early in my Christian experience I heard an account of a man in WWII who did not believe in God. He went to the chaplain and said, “Sir you do not believe in hell.”  The chaplain was astounded and protested but the unbeliever said, “If I believed in hell, though this land were covered in broken glass I would crawl on my hands and knees, if necessary to warn people to flee it.  You sir, are not telling anyone so I must conclude you do not really believe it exists.”  That should give all of us a reality check! 

If we see real danger we do not hesitate to warn people about the danger, yet how many times are we as guilty as the chaplain in this regard?  I’m not trying to turn everyone into an Evangelist but we do have a commission from our Lord to share what we have received and to take this message to the ends of the earth.  It is not your job or responsibility to win the world but it is your responsibility to share your gift within your sphere of influence and where the Holy Spirit affords you opportunity.  If salvation is as great as we Know it is then how can we not speak of it to others?

May God be with you as you go through your day!

[Thanks to my dear friend Tim Malone for causing this to rise up with a renewed freshness in my heart.]

DON’T CONFUSE ME WITH THE FACTS…


1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 – “Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.” NKJV

The old saying, “Don’t confuse me with the facts my minds made up” is applicable here and I find it more in Christianity than I’d like to acknowledge even among preachers and teachers of the Word.  We develop our “rabbit trails” through Scripture and our “pet doctrines” and are so locked into those that when someone presents TRUTH we can’t hear it because we’ve already made up our minds. 

I was one of those!  I could answer every objection to what I had to say with my little trail through Scripture and would not be shaken or allow anyone to cause me to deviate from my designed and determined path with partial quotations and half-truths.  Please understand I didn’t realize that I was giving “half-truths” until the Holy Spirit arrested me and challenged me to allow Him to go through my entire theology and belief system. 

That was neither fun nor painless because I had so many “sacred cows” that were slaughtered in the process and I still find one being offered up from time to time.  But, I have determined in my heart that I will not be “closed minded” to what the Bible has to say and will “test all things” and as I find something to be proven truth I will “hold fast to it” until and unless the Lord opens a new dimension that I have not yet seen.

Paul instructed Timothy to “study to show himself approved” in 2 Timothy 2:15 and in so doing would be able to “rightly divide” the Word of Truth.  The believers in Berea were commended over the Thessalonians because of their diligent daily receiving the Word with readiness of heart and mind and searching then to prove that which they had heard. 

Sadly, I’ve seen people so enraptured through the emotional presentation of a preacher that they ran with what he said as though it were “Law & Gospel” when, in fact, it was only partial truth.  Had they searched, studied, and proven the message they would have been spared much heartache but they didn’t.  Once they heard it they could be identified as those who would say, “Don’t confuse me with the facts my minds made up.”  I tried earnestly to point out to them some additional information but they were of no mind to hear anything different.

We need to always be ready to HEAR the Word of God and then know that TRUTH will stand up under examination and investigation.  The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart once that Truth was like a diamond with multiple sides or facets.  That only as I could view the Diamond from God’s position would I know ALL THE TRUTH. Therefore I should realize that looking at it from my earthly point of view I must always be ready to allow an expansion of what I understood as a new facet or side of that truth was revealed.  There are times that it takes me months if not years to settle an issue within my heart regarding a new perspective on a particular doctrine.  I will doggedly pursue the mining of that nugget until I am totally convinced that I have reached the foundation and the Holy Spirit has confirmed it to my spirit.

So instead of being “closed” to the possibility of something more than what you now see on a particular issue be “open” to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you, in the Word more fully.  It will enhance your spiritual walk and enable you to walk in greater light and fullness than ever before.

May God bless you richly as you go through your day!