Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Overly Occupied

<b>person</b> <b>Sweeping</b> floors.JPG

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Lk 10:38-41 NIV)

Biblical usage of distracted:

  1. Strong's G4049 – perispaƍ to draw around, to draw away, distract
  2. metaph.

1.     to be driven about mentally, to be distracted

2.     to be over-occupied, too busy, about a thing

From Vines: lit., "to draw around" (peri), "draw away, distract," is used in the Passive Voice in the sense of being over-occupied about a thing, to be "cumbered,"


Definition of sidetracked in the Online Dictionary. ... to distract or be distracted from a main subject or topic.


We can be distracted, sidetracked, by many things in life. They can be necessary things, good things, bad things, things that happened, didn’t happen, will happen in the future, or will never happen. The problem is, they distract us from the main thing, consume our thoughts, emotions, and energy and cause us to act and respond in a way that is not consistent with who we are or where we are going. We will totally miss what God is saying to us, doing in our lives, or what He wants us to join with Him in, when we are captured and imprisoned  by the side issues of life that are designed to distract us and shut us down.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Love & Revelation

One of the signs that we love Jesus is the fact that we obey His commands. If we love Him, we will also place a high value upon His commands and make adhering to them a priority. The results of this will be for us a growing revelation of Jesus and His purposes.

Placing a high value upon the commands of Jesus doesn’t mean we wear them in a little box between our eyes or have them hanging from our wrists. While that can be very symbolic of what guides us and what we set our hands to, that doesn’t mean that we think they are of value to us.

Having them printed on our shirts, posters, pictures, doors, cars, business cards, signs, etc still doesn’t mean that we value them. Having them underlined in our bibles, memorized, on cards in our pockets, on our key chains, etc still doesn’t mean that we value them.

Their value to us is only shown by how much we let them effect our lives. If they truly are valuable to us we will let them have great effect upon our lives. We will let them determine what is right or wrong, acceptable or not acceptable. We will let them set the course of our thoughts and our lives. We will ‘eat his words’, internalizing them and letting them be life in us, a part of us.

As these commands become part of us, part of our lives, doing them is not a burden, for they are in our hearts and we want to do them. And look at the results of our loving Jesus and obeying His commands. We will receive a broader understanding and experiencing of the love of God.

Along with this Jesus will also begin to reveal more and more of Himself to us. We will experience His love and release it to others as Jesus becomes more and more real to us. The Amplified Bible says in John 14:21

The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Love & Obedience

Seasons of a Woman’s Life {Giveaway}
If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (Jn 14:15-17)

Fear and obedience are tied together. If we fear, we will be motivated by that fear to be obedient. Jn 14:15 shows us that love and obedience are also tied together and this produces a more mature form of obedience, because love casts out fear, for fear has to do with punishment (1 Jn 4:18). If we love, we will be motivated by that love towards obedience. I have previously written about this in Levels Of Obedience on 8/15/2013.

If we were to take verses 15-16 by themselves and look for understanding in them out of the context of scripture in which they are found, we would end up in trouble at this point. Out of context , they seem to be saying that if we are obedient to what Jesus has commanded we will then receive the Holy Spirit at a later point. However, when we look at them with vs. 17— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you, we can see that the disciples had knowledge of the Holy Spirit and were looking towards an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus was saying to these that obedience to His teachings would bring about an indwelling of the Holy Spirit and a deeper and fuller relationship between Him and these disciples. Verse 16 in the Amplified Bible is worded: And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever--(Note: Another Comforter of the same kind that Jesus is).

This is not the case for those who know Christ today, because if we know Christ, we are already indwelled by the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:9) Therefore we know these scriptures are not saying to us that if we are obedient to Jesus we will receive the Holy Spirit. I do believe, however, that we can safely say that obedience to Christ will bring about for us a more intimate and deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:14 the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. I like the way the Message records this verse: the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you (emphasis mine).

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Predetermined Obedience

Wednesday Bible Study group – God delivers His servants

But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Daniel 3:18 NIV)

Some decisions have to be made before their time. If you wait until the moment of temptation, you may be swayed to make the wrong choice. The decision Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego made not to bow down to the golden image of the king was made when they began to serve God and predetermined not to serve or worship any other god or image.

The decision Daniel made to continue to pray to God after the kings decree that petitions could be made to none other except him, was made long before the decree. His initial decision to serve God was to serve Him alone and none other.

A false god or idol is anything we put before our relationship with God. If we give ourselves to or engage in anything that we know goes against God’s revealed will, we are serving an idol, another god. Many gods will reveal themselves to us and attempt to persuade us to bow down before them. Now, we wouldn’t necessarily recognize them as gods, thinking of them more as desires or the love of the world as found in 1 John 2: 15-16:

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.

Let’s take a common one like adultery. The time to make up your mind you will not commit it is the moment you get married. If you wait until you are tempted to make the decision, you are in trouble. 

About any temptation we would fall to, we need to have already predetermined not to fall to it. And then, when the temptation comes, we need to FLEE. One of our problems is we haven’t made up our minds yet, and when the temptation comes, we try to resist it while making up our minds about it. Scripture tells us to flee temptation, not to try and resist it.

Here’s a good plan: predetermine not to sin against God, and then flee temptation. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:17) Let us predetermine to be always faithful to God and depend upon and trust in Him to bring it about.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Still In The Business of Smashing End Tables

When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified.
(John 6:19, NIV)

I have a friend who says Jesus likes to rock our end tables. We are sitting there nice and comfortable on our couches, everything is in order, the lamp is on the end table giving out a nice glow of light and then God comes in and rocks or even knocks over our end table. God has been know to even smash end tables. God has a way of dismantling our wrong beliefs, sensibilities, and world views.

I have had my end tables smashed. I tried putting them together with duct tape, screws and nails, but they would not hold the lamp any more. I then just set them in the corner and tried to figure out what I could use them for. I finally figured out they weren’t good for anything any more, and threw them out. God will definitely do things that you don’t think He would do. We think God is going to do what is best for us, but we are wrong. He is going to do what is really best for us.

We want our lives nice, easy, safe, orderly, fun, organized, full of what ever, while God wants us to be conformed to the image of Christ. There in is the problem. We are really wanting God to do our will, and He is set upon doing His will, not only in our lives but also in the lives of others, which really is best for us all.

Jesus would never do that! Do what? Walk on water? Do things that are not expected or normal? Do things that will scare you?

Jesus said, “Don‘t be afraid, it‘s Me!.” They could have ignored the apparition, paddled harder, and talked about how their imaginations and fear got the best of them. Not only seeing things, but hearing things. Peter says, “Lord if it is You, call me to come.” Jesus says, “Come on Peter, I want to give you a bigger revelation of who I Am. I want to reveal myself to you in a way you have never known Me, and could not except for this circumstance. I Am much more than you have ever imagined, or known. I don’t just give life, I Am Life! I don’t just speak truth, I Am Truth! I don’t just show the way, I Am the Way!

God can and does come to us in unfamiliar ways that we will not always recognize. Let's not let fear hinder us from coming to and learning from Him. “Lord if that is You, call me to come.” We think that to be uncertainty, but it is courage in the very face of fear. I’m scared Lord, but if that is You, call to me, and help me to come.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Offended By God

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. (John 6:66, NIV)

I have heard it said that God will offend the mind to reveal the heart. Some truths are hard to receive, hard to believe, or hard to live out. This is because we try to do it in our own understanding or strength. What is offensive to the natural man, God will supernaturally enable us to walk out. His revelations bypass our natural understanding and go directly to our spirits. Our natural understanding must then catch up.

These disciples in the beginning verse were offended by what Jesus said to them. Their response was to walk away.

Without humility we cannot walk with the Lord. To one Jesus said, “If you believe,” to which the man replied, “I believe Lord, please help my unbelief.”

Offence on the other hand hardens our hearts towards God and others. Sometimes we are offended by the Word of God, sometimes by the actions of God, and sometimes by what we deem as the inactivity of God. “Lord, if You had been here my brother would not have died.” “Lord, do you not care that we are all about to drown?” Many times in His earthly ministry Jesus was accused of not caring or challenged to prove He was Who He said He was, or condemned for saying Who He was.

Has God ever offended you? Has He ever disappointed you? Has He ever let something happen that really tied you in a knot? First of all, remember God does not cause bad, evil, sin, etc, but He is well able to use it for His purposes. Has He not done what you think He should have done? “How could You let this happen Lord?” I think it is ok to ask God questions, but it is not ok to accuse or question Him.

Has He called you to something hard or difficult? Has a bad thing happened? Has He revealed something to you about yourself that is hard to accept? Has He shown you truth in His Word and You believe something opposite of it? Has He allowed you to be humiliated? Has He not revealed something to you that you thought you should have been notified of?

We could go on and on, but the question before us now is how should we respond to God when He offends us? I would say with humility, with knowing we don’t know all the facts, with knowing that He cares, that His love and intent towards us is pure, with knowing that there is a bigger picture than the one we see.

We naturally care more for what concerns us rather than being concerned about the things that concern God. He is inviting us to a higher place, a supernatural place where only His grace can take us.

It the place where He heals our wounds and disappointments and enables us to fully trust Him. A place where we come to a point where we can cry out "Lord, give me a heart that breaks for the things that break yours."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Loaves & Fishes

loaves and fishes

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” (Jn 6:26, NIV)
I think sometimes we can read John chapter 6 and not catch what is really going on. By all appearances Jesus had just had a tremendous open air meeting, topped off with the multiplying of a small amount of food so that it fed 5000 with some left over. He sends His disciples away in a boat, dismisses the crowd, goes off alone to pray, and later He shows up walking on the water!

Then the crowd came looking for Him. “How did you get here?” they asked him. Typical of Jesus, He did not answer their question but addressed their problem. "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” Wow! Where did that come from? It might seem like a reasonable question to us, and we would also have been pretty impressed with the multiplying of the loaves and fishes. The problem was their lack of spiritual hunger and lack of spiritual perception. Their physical hunger had been satisfied, but they were not ‘hungering and thirsting for righteousness‘. They were curious but not ‘poor in spirit’. They enjoyed hearing Jesus but had no desire to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. They did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, nor their spiritual need for Him. They came for what they could get in the physical realm, not for what they needed in the spiritual realm.

Reality is that our needs in the spiritual realm are much greater than our needs in the natural realm. I think it would be safe to say that we pray more for what we think we and others need in the physical realm and, for the most part, ignore the needs of the spiritual realm. It is no wonder that Jesus’ rebuke to them catches us by surprise, for many times we come for the same reason they came.

It is not wrong to pray about physical needs, but let's not get too obsessed by them. Jesus said all the necessary things would be added to us if we would seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. We need more concern about what is or isn't in our hearts as opposed to what is or isn’t on our plates or in our closets.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Mt 6:33 NKJV)