If you are struggling spiritually, emotionally or even physically as you face a crisis, today’s message is for you. Pastor Ruddy Ancheta delivers 3 powerful keys – habits that will help you overcome your dilemma. God bless and as always, share your thoughts here or feel free to contact us through our website: www.newlivinghope.org
The 200 Issachar chiefs stand out among the 12 tribes with thousands warriors because of their unique leadership capacity to understand the times and know what to do. The tribes underwent tremendous conflict and government transition from the house of Saul to the house of David. Issachar tribe gave great insight and wisdom into this successful government.
The idea of “lockdown, shelter in place” happened in the NT when the 1st-century believers went into hiding, fearful of the Jewish leaders!
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:19
Think for a moment, the disciples feared for their lives, confused and worried. They became Jerusalem’s public enemy #1. Their hope crumbled and fall with the death of their Messiah.
Suddenly Jesus passed appeared in front of the startled disciples and spoke the most refreshing encouragement – Peace be with you! He can pass through any locked doors or any barriers to bring you peace.
“ Peace be with you” – means no fear, now worry I am here.
So that Easter Sunday (1st day of the week) Jesus rose from the grave with his only agenda – to look for his disciples and each one of us too.
Its About Peace not War
Revenge is the usual theme ingredient of an action story—BUT NOT the resurrection story. Jesus upon getting up from the tomb He didn’t seek revenge for what the Jews, (or Poncio Pilato) did to him. He didn’t seek for His enemies to torture them one by one. Instead, He sought His disciples, the church to encourage them, to build them up. He rose to bring–Peace to the World.
Jesus didn’t show the prevailing “Make My Day” image nowadays when he removed the bundle of linen wrapped around His body. Looks like He gently escaped from the wrappings by passing through it as a Spirit- Body. Enclosed on a tightly sealed grave nothing can restrain Him.
According to John 20:7 the cloths, strips of linen were arranged and folded them up by itself. One important lesson l learned every time I woke up is to give thanks I am alive. Then the first accomplishment of my day starts with making up my bed.
CoVid19 Lockdown Message
Okay, going back. Jesus’ message to us during these Corona Virus crisis is — Peace Be With You, Fear Not. We will Overcome. As Christians, our words should be words that give life. Not death. No lies. No fake news. Don’t take part in those spreading lies, negativity, and fake news in social media.
Lockdown means an emergency protocol that prevents people from leaving. In the Philippines, you need a “quarantine- pass” to go out of the house. You would show that to authorities when you’re getting the essentials (food, water, getting money from the bank). Whereas here in the US the term appropriately used is – “shelter in place”.
You don’t need any pass or permit yet to buy or things, to make transactions or to get things done. In the near future the Bible says people need some kind of a special Mark or ID to buy and sell., get things done. This global pandemic experience seems to be just a rehearsal, a foretaste of what will happen in the future!!!
St Paul’s Lock Down, No Excuse
Paul, the apostle showed us a good example of what to do during a lockdown. While locked up in prison he actively moved. At a fixed social distance with Silas, both prayed and sang worship songs on top of their lungs.
Their fellow prisoners heard them and then a strong earthquake shook the place unlocking all their chains. You see prayer is active, not passive work. Prayer makes you a hypocrite when you pray for someone hungry or in need but you didn’t lift a finger to help when it is within your power to do so.
While we may think we would be ’stuck, immobilized and paralyzed to do our Christian duties while on lockdown the apostle Paul moves actively while in prison.
Paul Used Influence, Resources while in Prison
During his imprisonment he accomplished the following:
1) he wrote 14 letters /epistles, 1 under dispute by scholars, the book of Hebrews. The purpose is to build up and multiply churches.
2) He exercised his influence on mobilizing leaders. Greeted so many people personally (especially Romans 16 , a list of 37 names ..Phoebe, Prisca, Aquilla, Epaneutus, Mary, Andronicus, Urbanus, etc. How many of you can enumerate the name of their children, grandchildren, including birthdays? Your wedding anniversary?
3) Paul proclaims the gospel while in jail. Friends visited him and even “did errands” for him. One of them, Timothy brought him items of clothing, materials or even food.
Notice while Paul was in lock down he used his “resources” to change the world. He exercised his influence, by the power of God.
Things We Can Do While On Lockdown
How about you singing karaoke with your loved ones?
Eating together, exercise or walk in park, read book?
How about you start one important habit… Joshua 1:8 One year Bible Reading/Devotional which is 15 min, a day is a good one. (the rooster has a habit every morning to praise the Lord!!)
As a church group, you can send “care packages” (toilet papers, soda drink, ) to seniors or to those in need. (Or maybe send help to another country?)
Bring words of life, connect with your friends who may be feeling lonely. (Get a list of seniors, or those in care homes ). Take advantage of your smartphones and social media.
*** Partner and invest in your church or in missions work of spreading the gospel. Reach the world of the marginalized poor, homeless, educational sponsorship of children in places like a garbage dump in Manila, or Africa, end human trafficking of children/women.,
The Church’s Finest Hour
Winston Churchill, the British prime minister made a powerful speech that rallied the people during WW2 and led his country from the brink of defeat into victory…
”Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say: ‘This was their finest hour.”
In the same way – this is the church finest hour. Proclaim the message of hope – “Peace BE With YOU —Fear Not for I am with You, I will never leave you nor forsake you”
As resurrection people, we are the bearer of Good News this time and season. During this crisis and difficulties, God’s people should rise up. Because this is the church’s finest hour in history is to raise the banner of the cross giving the world- “Peace be with You”.
We will not be paralyzed, immobilized by fear while observing “shelter in place”. We can start —as a church, and as individual Christian by bringing the message of hope and peace through our communication, speaking words of life via telephone or social media. ( Prov 18:21 says the power of life and death is in the tongue)
we are victorious, we will overcome.
Mobilize our resources and means of influence to help support the church and mission work that God has placed in our hearts.
We have victory in Jesus. We will overcome it. We will get through this.
“I am an escape artist that I can evade any responsibility that I don’t like by making excuses.“
Excuses Defined: alibis, to remove blame or responsibility that results in justification, forgiveness, and release of any liability.
Given a divine assignment, many mighty men of God in the Scriptures started off with excuses, reluctance, fear, insecurity or doubt.
From Jonah to Gideon, each one gave a litany of excuses countered by our loving God.
The most reluctant man with a list of terrible excuses, in my opinion, was Moses.
Here comes the image of a man with his radiant face descending from Mt. Sinai (the 2nd time ) with tablets of the 10 commandments.
This great man parted the Red Sea by God’s power. He brought the nation of Egypt to its knees releasing millions of Hebrew slaves.
Yet he came to be the “most humble man on the face of the earth”. Dubbed as the“friend of God” to whom only God speaks face to face.
Out of frustration, he hit the rock twice ignoring God’s instruction to “speak to the rock”.
Like us, he was not perfect. He had an anger management problem, a behavior pattern that disqualified him from entering the Promised Land.
Check this out, you’ll find Moses listed in Hebrews 11- “Heroes of Faith”.
Story of Moses
Moses’ story begins in Egypt with the murder of newborn Hebrews males and Pharaohs daughter’s venture of rescuing the infant baby Moses in the River Nile.
Pharaoh’s daughter raised him up as royalty, trained him as a warrior. Educated in a prestigious university in Egypt he’s destined to be “the Prince of Egypt”.
Moses lost all his royal privileges down the drain. He murdered an Egyptian officer beating a Hebrew slave.
The Pharaoh discovered his secret. He began a manhunt to kill Moses, but he escaped.
As a murderer and fugitive at age 40, he hid in a remote desert staying with an unsuspecting family —the priest of Midian named Ruel.
Eventually, he married Zipporah, one of Ruel’s daughters, had 2 sons and pretended they’ll live happily ever after.
Now when I thought Moses has reached a demented age of 80, God suddenly disrupted “his cozy life on a rocking chair at a beach sipping a tequila”.
I imagine my retirement years.
Moses Re-Fired not Retired
God called Moses to take a gargantuan task of saving his people from the hands of Pharaoh. I thought why should I care for these people?
In the burning bush, Moses’ 1st conversation with God, we see 5 terrible excuses on why he could not do it versus God’s “irresistible” counter- offer. The offers are all SUPERNATURAL!!
While I tell myself I would never reject God if He asks me to do something bigger than myself, the truth is I also have a list of lame excuses.
One of them could be pretending I fainted, asleep and so I can’t hear anything you say.
Even though God, spelled as G.O.D. repeatedly reassured him, Moses still begged for Him to send someone else.
But when Moses finally conceded, God used him in the exodus & deliverance of a million Jews from Egypt.
Let’s check out the validity of these 5 Excuses, to remember them easily those excuses starts with “i” ( identity, ignorance, insecurity, impairment, idwtdi)
5 Excuses of Moses
1st: IDENTITY Excuse
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” (Exodus 3:11).
“I am just a nobody, an aging 80-year-old shepherd, a murderer, fugitive, I am no match to meet any Egyptian royalty”.
— “what if they recognize me as the wanted killer? .. like the family of my victim ?”
*** Identity defines our self-worth, self-esteem but the Bible says we have a new identity is in Christ.
God so often chooses the most unlikely candidate to fulfill His vision. He sees past the man and sees eternity. He sees our potential and how our broken vessels can fulfill His ultimate purpose.
I WILL BE WITH YOU (Exodus 3:12)
The Big Boss, the King of the Universe on my side? God’s saying it doesn’t matter who you are…I’ll be with you. Just like the burning bush, any instrument or person can do the supernatural when God is in it.
“Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13).
I don’t know you enough. I don’t even know your name? I’m not a theologian, no training, no seminary education.
‘I-AM sent you” (Exodus 3:14)
Ignorance is not a problem as long as we have a teachable spirit, willing to learn and obey.
3rd : INSECURITY & DOUBT
“What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” (Exodus 4:4).
“What evidence or proof I can use to convince them? No power or authority. I don’t feel secure. No credibility “.
“I’m just a poor boy, no money, no honey, no personality, no job, no friends, no influence. I have nothing good to show them. I am useless. “
God’s response :
“WHAT IS IN YOUR HAND?” (Exodus 4:2)
God will empower and use you whatever gifts, talents you possess just like the boy who offered his lunch of tuna sandwich — 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.
The boy’s lunch fed 5,000 people. There were even lots of leftover baskets of food.
If God is your God, He is everything you got, He is all you need. You are not useless!
My wife once said to me jokingly, “no one is totally useless, you can serve as a horrible example”.
4rth Excuse: IMPAIRMENT – NO ABILITY & CAPABILITY
“Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10).
“I ‘ve no ability. My tongue is twisted, I stutter a lot. I am afraid and shy. I can’t speak in public”. A lame excuse, a lie considering Moses’ high education at the University of Egypt.
Who created your tongue? (Exodus 4:11)
I am God, I created all things, the universe, I created YOU.
5th Excuse: IDWTDI – “I DON’T WANT TO DO IT”
“Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else” (Exodus 4:13).
God hated this excuse. “I don’t want to DO IT. I am not available. Send someone else”.
The irony I see, Moses addressed himself as a “servant” and God his “Master” or the Boss.? And yet, he had the audacity to tell God what He should do.
If I were Moses he should have negotiated,— “Lord, send me to Hawaii on missions or anywhere else except maybe China at this time”.
14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? ….
The first 4 excuses God remained patient with Moses but on the 5th excuse, God’s anger kindled up.
When we tell God “ I’m not willing, I am not available, send someone else” that’s seemed to be the end of discussion.
Even though God can overpower our will yet He chose to counter every excuse using logic as well as signs and wonders.
Finally, He said to Moses, “Fine. I’ll get your brother Aaron to do the talking, but I still want you to do this. So, I’ll tell you what to say, you’ll tell him, and he’ll tell the people.”
When Moses conceded to God’s reasonings, He used him mightily to save Israel from slavery to Egypt. From bondage to freedom.
Our God has a plan for carrying out His rescue mission for the lost in the world. You’re in this plan! No more excuses.
What God is Calling you to do today?
For starters, when I become a Christian here’s the first thing God called me to do:
— to be part of the body of Christ (church) and to be rooted and grounded in His Word and
— I need nourishment to grow and to edify the church.
To grow spiritually, I need to be connected to the Father and to have fellowship with the body of Christ.
While working in the Middle East, I joined a small group of Christians meeting as a church. Later on, I felt called to serve Him by joining a missionary organization. Now, which one of the excuses can you relate most?
Have you been holding onto something that is hard to” release and let go”? Here’s a great story of a little boy who wanted to go and see a flying eagle. His loving father took him to the rugged Colorado mountains to look for some eagles. Several hours had passed there was no sight of an eagle and just as he was about to give up, an eagle showed up majestically soaring high in the sky.
Isaiah 40:31 tells us that believers can be like eagles when we put our trust in God.
Let me tell you 1st some interesting facts about eagles:
1) Eagles build their nests at the top of very high trees or cliffs. The Lord told Job that the eagle has built “her nest on high” (Job 39:27).
2) Eagles have wonderfully designed wings which allows them to soar (glide with very little wing movement) for long periods of time. Isaiah described eagle to fly and not grow tired (Isa 40:31)
3) The wingspan of the eagle may be as much as 8 to 9 feet long. Their main flying fathers can be as much as 20 in long.
4) Eagles can fly very high in their journey. Pilots have spotted them at 10,000 feet up in the sky. They also fly very fast — glide from 35 to 55 mph. but their speed has been measured at 150 mph
5) Baby eagles do not automatically know how to fly. Their parents teach them & it takes weeks & weeks of practice. God once reminded His people that He had supported them just like an eagle carries her eaglets upon her wings (Ex 19:4)
6) The Bible says that the eagle spies her prey (food) “from afar”(Job 39:29), It is scientific fact that the eagle has incredible eye sight. It can spot a fish from 3 miles high and catch it.
7) Eagles live to very old birds. Some scientist believe that eagles can live to be more than 50 yrs old.
When there is a storm, eagles will just face it head on taking advantage of the wind and soar up high into the clouds. And the higher we climb the more we see spiritually.
So here what happens when you release and let go:
The little boy then fixed his gaze to the eagle. He locked his two eyes to this wonderful creature. He saw the eagle swirling and falling down from the sky. Not knowing why then the eagle disappeared. He screamed to his father pleading to see where it landed. They walked to the other side of the mountain where the little boy found the eagle laying on the ground dead. To their surprise they saw a little animal– a weasel!!
Now, the eagle died because it grabbed a weasel and the weasel bit through the eagle’s heart. The little boy cried trying to understand why the eagle died when it was a lot bigger and stronger than the weasel. Finally, his father explained that perhaps the eagle didn’t let go of the weasel until the weasel bite became fatal.
The moral lesson:
That’s it my friends… the moral lesson is to release and let go, the weasel made a fatal mistake. We all have them… weasels. The weasel can be someone or something that prevents us from fulfilling our purpose and destiny in our life. It’s a weight or a burden that prevents us to soar up in the sky.
Perhaps there are people that you are in a toxic relationship with… or maybe a parasitic relationship, people sucking and draining your energy. Still living in the past that you can’t forgive and forget your failures? Do you feel down, your life is in a rut, just circling and circling around without direction?
Heb 12:1 says to lay aside every weight and the sin that entangles or ensnare us… sins that may become addictive and keep us in the bondage. Let go, turn away from sin, ask God for forgiveness and freedom…surrender to Him. Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you.
Prayer Defined: its simply talking to our Father; Matt 6:9-13, Acts 12:1-19
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. Acts 12:5
Power of Prayer
Pray for wisdom or miracle. Do the possible and ask God to do the impossible. Only when we exhaust what is humanly possible then we can ask God to do the impossible. Believers praying together as a church can be a powerful testimony of God answering our prayers even when we don’t expect it to happen. Herod executed James and Peter was next in line. But God intervened. Here’s a powerful illustration:
The Bell: Prayer Signal
A long time ago, a certain king bought a big bell to be used as a signal for his people to pray on sunrise and sunset. He made a special order from overseas. Therefore the huge bell needs to be transported into a boat as a heavy cargo. Unfortunately, upon leaving the pier, the boat flipped during the raging storm. The huge bell fell out and sank underwater. The boat crew panicked. They exhausted all possibilities to retrieve the submerged bell. Experts, engineers came to the rescue using something like a boom and crane but proved futile. It’s getting dark soon.
Saved by Prayer or Bell?
Meanwhile, at the bank or the shore, a tribal chieftain hollered “ Do you need help over there guys?”. The captain and the expert looked at each other in utter disbelief; “how can an uneducated tribal people solve our problem?” Out of frustration, the captain yielded to the chief ..”okay, go ahead make my day! , The chieftain called out his people and had a brief conference. They all run towards the forest away from the chieftain, away from the boat, away from the problem. A few minutes later, the tribal people came back running and yelling, carrying long bamboo poles. They jumped and dived into the water, then tied those bamboo shafts around and inside the bell. Lo and behold, the huge bell begins to float little by little until it surfaces onto the water.
Prayer: How to lose weight
Not your weight, the weight of the problem. Maybe that’s what happens in the spirit world when believers pray together. A heavy load carried by many people becomes easy to bear. Prayer for healing, prayers for hope, long or short prayers, it doesn’t matter as long as friends pray for us. Because however big is the problem, the burden we feel becomes lighter. Perhaps its encouragement and support we receive when daily prayers are poured out by our church people. Words of compassion uttered become prayers for healing to a weary soul. They tend to alleviate our tensions and emotional heaviness. Most importantly, God answers prayers when they’re in line with His will. Mark Batterson’s new york times bestseller “The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears” gives you fresh insights on how God answers your prayers.
How to conquer our fears and doubts
As a farmer , Gideon possessed zero credibility to act as a general in the army neither had he any training at all to be a soldier. An ordinary man of no reputation yet he rose from zero to a hero of faith in Hebrews 11. He proved himself to be a brilliant military strategist when he led 300 warriors to fight legions of Midianites.
For 7 years, Israel faced numerous invasions from their enemies who ruined their crops, devastated their cattle and livelihood.
The invaders forced them to build shelters in mountain clefts, caves and strong holds. Surely the consequence of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God when they worship foreign gods and idols!
When the Israelites hit rock bottom they cried out to God for help. Later God sent them a prophet reminding them how He rescued them from slavery in Egypt and how He commanded them not to worship idols in the Promised land.
How quickly they had forsaken and disobeyed God (Judges 6:8-10). Yet He heard their lament by sending an angel to Gideon while he was threshing wheat in a winepress pit. Gideon accepted the challenge after overcoming his doubts and fears. He recruited 32,000 men to defend Israel from invasion .
Against their enemies swarming like locusts, Israel was definitely outnumbered. Gideon discharged those fearful ones leaving him 10,000 warriors. But God said “there are still many men” so a water drinking test was initiated. The Lord eliminated those who kneel at the river banks from those who lapped like a dog with their hand.
With the remaining 300 who laps water like a dog it’s getting crazier because God told them to fight with just trumpets and jars. When they blew the trumpets and shattered the jars with torches inside, their enemies turned to one another. They killed each other screaming and running in all directions. All hell break lose!!! Chaos and confusion descended in the enemy camp. And Israel wins.
Worship in Battle
The story sounds similar in 2 Chronicles 20 when King Jehoshaphat won the war sending his Worship team. Here in Judges 7 Gideon’s 300 seemed to worship God by blowing trumpets and breaking jars. Surely this is God’s size solution to this giant problem.
If God allowed 32K or 10k man to fight the Midianites, the Israelites would have boasted that they won the battle by their own strength. But with 300 man God would get the full credit. Yes, God deserves all glory. Here’s 3 lessons in Gideon’s story:
Lesson 1: God sees the Best in You
Hiding in fear in a pit while threshing wheat, an angel appeared to Gideon and addressed him as “mighty warrior”. “Save Israel from the Midianites “! and a quizzical response “Who, why me?”
Gideon had a reality check. “I am just a lowly farmer, my name means ‘cutter’ — it sucks. I belong to the weakest and the least clan of Manasseh. The lowest in the food chain. So me against all our enemies who are skilled warriors countless as swarms of locusts in Judges 6:5, 7:12. “ Are you kidding me? “
Evidently, Gideon was terrified to face the enemy. He doubted God 3x, despite the miracles in the burnt offering and the 2 fleece test. But God was patient with Gideon. Mighty warrior was a prophetic word, its Gideon’s future.
Okay maybe pathetic not prophetic – that’s how the enemy would taunt you! However God declares what you could become, He sees the best in you. You are not who you think and say you are. You are not who people think and say you are. YOU are WHO God think and says you are.
Lesson 2:When God gives vision, He gives the provision
Remember Nehemiah’s project of rebuilding the great wall in 52 days? Sometimes God gives us a gargantuan task, an impossible dream , in this case a rescue operation.
Our lack of training, education, money or resources would make us feel inadequate. Being old, disabled or weak would seem to be reasonable excuses not to go.
But look how 80 year old fugitive Moses, Joseph the slave, and shepherd boy David have accomplished great feats. Let’s do what is humanly possible and God will do the impossible.
The Lord uses common people for HIs glory. Now take note the kind of provision, equipping or assurance He’s saying in Judges 6:16 –“my presence will be with you”
See also passages such as; “ I am with you always” Isa 40:10, Mt.28: 20,
“I will never leave you nor forsake you” Hebrews 13:5
This promise sounds the same in Genesis 39, 5x – its says, “ the Lord was with Joseph”.
Moses when told to lead Israel to the Promise Land — “ If your presence is not with us, do not send us up from here” Exodus 33:15
God’s way of empowering us to do the task is simply His Presence. He will be with you, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” Hebrews 13:5.
Meaning—I will be with you, I AM all you got, …. I AM everything you NEED. So be bold and courageous. Courage is not the absence of fear but the presence of God.
Lesson 3: Obedience results in success and victory.
With only 300 men, your odds in the battle would be one person versus one million. That’s a scary thought. Was Gideon afraid? Yes, indeed. In fact, prior to the attack, God told Gideon that night if he’s afraid just sneak in at the enemy’s camp with his assistant Pura, take a look and listen.
So when they arrived at the enemy’s camp, the divine assurance came as they overheard someone who had just a bad dream. One of them gave the interpretation that Gideon’s sword would attack and wipe them all in defeat . That surely emboldened Gideon! He therefore obeyed. Then success and victory followed immediately!! Amen.
Check out Mark Batterson’s book “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” (754 reviews to date) for more edifying stories.
Few seconds after I boarded a jeepney in Manila, the passengers started looking at me and covering their nose. I know I took a shower , wore a clean shirt and pants so I was confident that wasn’t me.. Some passengers put a cigarette in their mouth and lighted a match, Oblivious until someone told me “ you probably stepped on a manure or something.” I turned the sole of my shoes to show them there’s nothing.
Later I realized its the smell of the stinking smoke from the burning garbage dump attached into my clothing and my perspiring body. Walking around the dump for years ministering to people you’d surely get used to the stench.
WHY LIGHT A MATCH AFTER USING TOILET
Pardon me but I thought same thing happens when you used the toilet you also don’t smell a thing. Until one day the late Ted Mina, former Hawaii representative visited us at our Manila missions house. When he entered our restroom he puked on the stench of someone who’d just been there.
Jokingly I told him there were 20 staff living in that house and they would not smell the difference after being in the dump whole day. He simply smiled, asked for a match and lighted it. He explained the burnt phosphorous absorbs the stench and it does smell good afterwards. Oh yes, lighting a match, that’s a good practice as courtesy to the next person.
Mang Angel, my barber from Smokey Mt. warned me though to be careful lighting matches on the toilet. He knew an incident when a toilet exploded. Inquiring further, he said some workers were excavating an extinct septic tank.
One guy wanted to inspect first so he removed the old toilet bowl and made the hole large enough for him to go down below with a flashlight. After a while he complained of the stinking smell and demanded a cigarette from the other guy. When he lighted the cigarette, there was a big explosion. So friends, be careful lighting that match… ha ha.
LIGHT UP AND BURN THE SMELL
On a serious note it seems that Christians emit some kind of smell too.. a fragrance, according to 2 Corinthians 2:14-16. That fragrance can be smell of life or death. There’s a smell oozing out of us spiritually and its not the cologne or the perfume we are wearing.
Its the fragrance of Christ I believe that fragrance is supposed to be something that creates a positive atmosphere. It can leave a mark or impression to those around me by the way I speak and act., or the way I behave.
We are meant to be the salt and light of the world by His grace. The One who lives in us empowers us to love people. God is love. He is the Source. So I begin to love those unlovable people. Many people walked around broken, hurting, lost or in some kind of need. I was told that I cannot give something I do not have.
Love is giving… when we begin treating the other person just as Jesus would treat them the result could be amazing. Remember those WWJD bracelets .. “What Would Jesus Do” ? We should decide to be a blessing instead of being a burden. Let’s release those “fragrance” and make someone’s world rock today by speaking the savory Word of life.
Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With A Mission when interviewed about his priority said he does not subscribe in the ” God first, family second, and ministry third’ philosophy. According to that interview ( unfortunately the link below no longer exist as of today) , if I remember correctly the way he said it was – “ I believe in God first, God in the 2nd, and God in the 3rd, God is first in everything.”
If you obey God first in everything, He is surely by far, more committed to our families and our ministries than we are. His divine will for us remains the highest and the best in everything. So if we seek Him and obey Him in everything, in every area of our life then He will never call us to do something that will harm our family.
First Priority means in the center.
Putting God in everything we do. Everything we do is being offered to Him as a pleasing aroma. We should therefore ask for wisdom from God who gives generously to all ( James 1:5). Ask for the Holy Spirit for His direction, leading and guidance in everything. (John 14:26) Because He is indeed in control of everything. Our life, everything in our life is in Him and should revolve around Him.
Our solar system shows the planets revolve around the sun without bumping with each other. Same with the atom where protons and neutrons revolve around its nucleus . Same way if God is in the center of everything we do, then all things revolve around Him according to His divine plan.
So God first means, God is in the center of our life, in everything we do, our life revolves around Him, and everything in Him. Then ALL things run in perfect harmony. Sounds simple and amazing. When everything is in His control then I can make sense of this verse – “ All things work together for good to those who love God..” (Romans 8:28 ). Because He loves us, He knows what is best for us.
Our priority: Loving Him with All we got
The greatest commandment , ” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt 22:37). “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. (Matt 6:33). Loving God with all our being and always seeking Him in everything we do.
Here it is: priority means, first thing in the morning we wake up we should begin by thanking Him, glorifying Him and worshipping Him. Thanking God is better than whining and complaining first thing in the morning. Because the first thing we do in the morning determines what happens to all the rest of our day.
My mother raises pigs , chickens and roosters in the Philippines. One day she gave me her theory or story about the rooster and the pig . “Did you know why those rooster crow several times in the morning? Well, actually he’s yelling ‘good morning , thank you’. Whereas those pigs in the morning start crying, whining and complaining being hungry, asking for food.” So she told me, “you can begin your morning by whining and complaining or by being thankful. We can be like the rooster or the piggy”. That reminds me why Jesus told the Pharisees if you prevent the multitude of disciples from praising God, the rocks will be the one shouting Hallelujah. ( Luke 19:36-40). Check this out also in You Tube about Stars, Whales, etc singing God’s Praise.
The problem with us is that we easily forget, and even if we already knows, it does help when someone reminds us of the truth and the principle of God’s first. Maybe that’s why Det 6: 7-9 says we should talk, remind each other daily, tie them on your hands, foreheads, write the “verses” on the door frames, walls of our house and our gates. Those purity rings, WWJD (what would Jesus do) arm bands, etc are symbols we use to remind ourselves of God’s Presence, God’s Word in our life.
Let us acknowledge Him in ALL our ways (Proverbs 3:5-6) dedicating everything we do to Him.
As it says in I Cor 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT ALL for the glory of God”.
Here’s the article where Darlene Cunningham mentioned their family priority: –” ( http://www.ywam-fmi.org/articles/items/raising-children-as-part-of-a-missions-team.html)
Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” John 16:13
WAZE SMART WAY
Recently I was driving to a conference together with a pastor and another friend. I downloaded and printed directions from the internet. I got “Waze” app in my smart phone as back up so we wont be late for the morning session. The gps “app” works well for me. Except those fonts on my phone’s screen I can’t read them. Okay, maybe ‘am getting old that I can’t see very well. The good thing Waze voice tells me where to turn, whether left or right and tells me when am off track.
Remember those old gps gives annoying command – “make a U turn now” repeatedly. Sounds familiar? Nowadays, the phone app will just recalculate. I have relied with this “Waze” app for several times and I was confident it works and will get us to our destination on time. I know it works, I used it when I drove Uber and Lyft in San Francisco. It was quite a long drive but we didn’t notice the time because we all enjoyed talking… oh yes, we guys sometimes talk too.
FINDING YOUR WAY
We ran almost 10 miles away from our destination when I remembered my mapquest print out. I noticed its giving us a different direction. Since we were close and had ample time, we decided for fun to follow the print out. To our surprise the smart phone didn’t say a thing or complain so we thought we’re okay. We followed the direction in the “Waze” app until we were in the middle of know-where, we were going in circle.
Later, when I looked at the smart phone the screen was frozen.. I panicked. Turning it on and off , the gps didn’t work. Somehow pride prevented me from asking for help. I had everything I need– map, gps, smart phone. Finally my pastor friend decided he can’t wait any longer so he phoned the guys at the conference for direction. There was a cellphone signal. We ended up 30 minutes late but we thank God the session had not started yet.
USING THE BEST GUIDE
In our journey in life , we also need direction from the Holy Spirit our teacher, our helper, our comforter and our guide. He convicts us about our sin. Then shows us what is right or wrong. And he speaks to us in a soft small voice. Long time ago, we use the compass to find our way… the compass always points us to the North pole.
With the gps, its more like high-tech gadget, it can even talk and show me step by step where to go. The Holy Spirit works like a gps, always pointing and guiding us to the true North. The Truth, the Way and the Life. Jesus promised He will never leave us nor forsake us. He gave us the Holy Spirit to be with us.
” ‘Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy path.” Prov 3:5-6