Month: October 2015
change: to cause to turn or pass from one state to another; to make different; to change garments (Zechariah 3:3-5)
And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles (Luke 6:13). Out of all the disciples Jesus called, He only chose twelve of them to be apostles. Judas was one of the chosen. He didn’t choose Jesus, but Jesus chose him. Judas was a traitor (Luke 6:16). He was also a thief, but he was given the opportunity to be in charge of the money bag (John 12:6). He made many mistakes, but that didn’t make him a mistake. Why would Jesus choose him? Why would God choose any of us?
When God chooses, He doesn’t choose wrong. He has called us to change so that we can bring change to the world, but not everyone wants change. In John 6:26, we learned that a great crowd followed Him, but not everyone who followed Christ wanted Christ. Jesus answered them (the people that were looking for him) and said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, You seek me, not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled.”
I’ve been saved for approximately 25 years. I didn’t choose to go to church. That choice was made for me. I had to go to church every Sunday, but looking back, I see that what I had was more of a ritual than a relationship. I went to church because that’s what you did on Sundays. I was told that I needed to be saved so I got saved. I always heard preachers say, ‘Come to Jesus as you are’, but that doesn’t mean that we are to remain as we are.
After Jesus fasted forty days and nights, Satan came to him and offered him all the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8). He made Judas an offer, too. Judas loved money. He was drawn away of his own lust and for thirty pieces of silver, he betrayed Jesus. There is nothing wrong with wanting nice things, but don’t lose your soul trying to gain worldly things. Don’t store up treasures on earth that moth and rust can destroy and that thieves can steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. God doesn’t want your heart to be here (earth), but He wants it to be there (heaven). Our citizenship is in heaven. We live on earth like we will live here forever, but earth is our temporary home. One day, it will pass away. The world is supposed to desire what and Who we have, but instead the church has been desiring what the world has. We have been toiling to get what has already been laid up for us by the sinner (Proverbs 13:22).
To do what he did, Judas could not have been in his right mind, but there was nothing the devil made crooked that God could not make straight. When he realized what he did to Jesus, he regretted it, repented and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, but they refused to take the money. Instead of running to God, he ran away from God. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is you. Judas was ridden with guilt and shame. He was down and didn’t know how he could ever get back up again so he killed himself. He gave up.
Some of you may be thinking, Why did God choose me? Why didn’t He choose someone else? I think He made a mistake. I’ll never be who He called me to be. I’m always messing up. Why won’t He give up on me?
Listen. Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, God knew you. He knew His purpose and plan for your life and it shall be fulfilled. You cannot fail and you will not fail. When God made you, He made you to win. He made you to triumph. The son of perdition (Judas) was lost so that the scripture might be fulfilled, but God is not going to lose you. You are in His hand and no one will pluck you out of His hand. He placed in you gifts, the anointing and His Spirit. If you run to get away from Him, where will you go? Where can you go from His Spirit? He is in you. Where can you hide? The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. God does not change His mind about those He chooses. He is not taking back what He gave you. He still loves you. He still wants to use you. He is giving you another chance because He has a plan and you are a part of that plan, but you can’t arrive at the plan without going through the process. God is not going to change His plan for you, but He wants to change you for His plan. If you give up during the process, then that means you don’t want what God has for you. It means that you really don’t want change.
But whatever you do, don’t give up like Judas. You will reap (in due season) if you don’t faint.
I know that the month of October is Pastor Appreciation Month, but we should appreciate our pastors every month.
They speak the truth in love. Sometimes the truth comes in the form of rebuke or chastisement, but these men and women of God were not sent to harm us, but to help us. Your pastor doesn’t do what he/she does for the sake of fame and money, but they do it for the sake of the gospel. They aren’t trying to take something from you, but they are trying to get something to you. If you know that your pastor is a true and faithful man/woman of God, then you know that they are concerned for your souls. They love God’s people. They want to see you saved, delivered and healed. They are always ready to give a word, to counsel and to pray for you. Don’t ever think that what they do is easy. While you’re watching TV, they are studying. While you’re sleeping, they are praying. While you’re eating, they are fasting. Some of these pastors work on a full-time job, but still have to function as full-time pastors.
You can always do more, but I’ve listed three important things you can do for your pastors (every month):
- Don’t be hearers only. Just don’t have a notebook full of notes, but obey the word that you heard.
- Take care of them. Don’t muzzle the ox that treads out the corn. Don’t keep the ox who is working on your behalf from eating. The laborer is worthy of his or her wages. Make sure that your pastors have what they need.
- Pray for them. They are like the star that led the wise men to Jesus. They are light and it is for this reason that Satan and his kingdom hates and attacks that light for exposing their deeds, plots and traps. And remember, they get wearied, too.
By doing these things, we will bring them joy and not grief. They carry such a great responsibility and one day they will have to give an account to God concerning us.
There are people who get mad with their pastors and leave the church when they are offended because of the word (truth), but you should thank God that your pastor is not like Eli. He was not a faithful priest. He did not do according to what was in God’s heart and mind. He honored his sons above God. He tolerated their sins, but you have priests that love you enough to correct you. Sometimes we are like the children of Israel – stiffnecked, but thank God that His love doesn’t give up on us. Thank God that He keeps sending His word through the man and woman of God to deliver us from the path that leads to destruction. Don’t get angry with God’s messengers because of the message. Receive the message because it comes from God.
1 Thessalonians 5:12 (NIV) – Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.
When God told Noah to make an ark, He knew what type of material the ark should be made of and how it should be fashioned. He knew exactly how long, how wide and how high it should be. He knew how much the ark would be able to hold and to handle. He also knew that what was being built would not be destroyed. It wasn’t going to fall apart or break into many pieces, but it was going to be able to stand against what was against it.
Before He formed you, He knew you (Jeremiah 1:5).
You are just like that ark. Whatever you will face (good or bad), know that God is making you for it. He is preparing you. He is building you for it. It will not harm you. God is not going to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. The devil is not going to destroy you or anything God has given you. He is not going to wear out the saints of the Most High. Yes, things will fall apart in the world, but you will not fall with it. God is able to keep you from falling. We are not going to fail because no word from God concerning us will ever fail. It shall come to pass. It shall be according to His word.
There are some things that we are about to face on the earth, but God doesn’t want what will shake the world to shake us. He wants us to be unshakable and unmovable. He wants us to be strong in Him and in the power of His might. We will put on the whole armour of God and we will be able to stand against – not fall for – the tricks of the devil.
We’ve been sleeping far too long. While we were sleeping, the enemy was planting weeds. How long will you sleep, you sluggard? When will you arise out of your sleep? Wake up and command every planting that is not of the Heavenly Father to be uprooted. Jesus is not going to find the church sleeping. We will watch as well as pray. (Remember, the devil is seeking someone to devour).
We will be like Noah who walked with God (Genesis 6:9) and did according to all that God commanded him (Genesis 6:22). Isaiah 59:15 tells us that whoever shuns evil becomes a prey, but don’t be afraid. The devil is not going to devour you. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19). Will you be the standard that the Spirit of the Lord raises up? Will you submit to God and resist the devil? The devil is coming, but will you make him flee when he comes?
We all have bad days. There are days that we want to give up. There are days that we mourn over what we did or what was done to us, but don’t stay there. The ark was designed to move – not just to sit there. Arise! You belong to Christ now. You are a new creation. I know old things are trying to pull you back – old boyfriends/girlfriends, old attitudes, old thinking, your past, depression, suicide – but these things come to keep you from enjoying the new. If old things have passed away, that means it is dead. We all have to make a decision every day to choose life. Don’t choose death. To become Who He is, you must come out of who you were.
The enemy wants you to think that it’s over for you, but really it’s over for him. He wants you to think that God lied and that what He said will never come to pass in your life. The just lives by his faith. By faith, Noah moved with fear when God warned him of things not yet seen. God has already told you who you’re going to be and what He’s going to do through you, but it’s going to take your faith to see it.
When we are introduced to Noah, he is 500 years old (Gen 5:32). When the flood came, he was 600 years old (Gen 7:6). He wasn’t just a man, a husband and father, but he was also a preacher of righteousness and although the world didn’t believe what God said, he believed. He put his confidence in God and His word, he obeyed God and then one day the word was fulfilled. Because he did what God told him to do, not only was he delivered, but his household was delivered. God did what He promised.
Some of us are wondering why certain things haven’t happened yet. Sit down and think, Is there anything God told me to do that I haven’t done yet? A lot of times we want to blame the devil and people, but sometimes the delay is due to our disobedience. If you obey God, the word that He spoke will not be delayed any longer. For some of us, it’s been long enough. We have cried. We have begged God. We have complained. We have done what we wanted to do. Now it’s time to do what HE wants us to do. The Son of a carpenter knows how to build. He knows what He’s doing.
So let God do to you what Noah did to the ark…let Him make you.
A certain man had two sons (Luke 15:11).
The younger son had more than a portion of goods, but that’s all he asked for – a portion. He didn’t save it nor did he invest it. He wasted it. Proverbs 19:4 tells us that wealth makes many friends. When he spent all, where were all his friends? When a mighty famine came, who could help him? He got a job feeding swine, but no one fed him. We don’t know how long he was in this condition, but one day he came to his senses. He was tired of his condition. He didn’t have to live like this nor did he have to die like this, especially when he had a father who had hired servants and enough bread to spare. He realized that what belonged to his father also belonged to him and headed home.
I will arise and go to my father and will say unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you and am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants (Luke 15:18-19). Do you know how hard it is to admit when you’re wrong? This young man humbled himself and repented. He just didn’t tell his father that he was sorry, but he showed it the moment he got up and turned away from the thing that turned him against his father. Repentance is when you turn away, but true repentance is when you stay away. Because of all the things he had done, he no longer felt worthy to be called a son. He was probably expecting to be rejected or turned away, but what he didn’t know was that his father was expecting him to return home. While the son was a great way off, the father saw him, ran towards him, hugged and kissed him. He didn’t say anything to the son. Even after the son repented, he said nothing to the son. Just when the prodigal son expected the WORST, the father spoke to his servants and said, ‘Bring forth the BEST’. He thought he was only worthy to be a servant, but the father dressed him as a son, not as a servant. The father restored him back to the position that he left. When you pursue God, you will without fail recover all. The prodigal son didn’t lose anything and his father didn’t lose him. That was worth celebrating so the father asked his servants to kill a fatted calf and said, ‘Let us eat and be merry’. The father didn’t allow him to dwell on the past. His father wasn’t mad at him and your Father is not mad at you. God just wants you to come out and separate yourselves. Separate yourself from the thing that separates you from Him and He will receive you. Like the prodigal son, leave your many lovers and make the Lord the Lover of your soul. Before the prodigal son left home, he wanted his situation to change, but when he returned home, he wanted to be changed.
While the celebration was going on, the elder son is in the field, but as he comes closer to the house, he hears music and dancing. When he asked one of the servants what was going on, the servant explained that his brother had returned. The bible says he was angry and would not go inside the house. He didn’t think his brother deserved a celebration, but I’m so glad that the father saw him first and not the brother because there would have been no love, compassion or forgiveness. The brother would have brought up his past, made him feel worse and send him right back into the world to die.
While the elder son was angry with his father for throwing a celebration, the father went out to him and pleaded with him to join in. The son said to the father, “Lo, these many years do I serve you, neither transgressed I at any time your commandment and yet you never gave me a kid that I might make merry with my friends, but as soon as this your son was come, which hath devoured your living with harlots, you had killed for him the fatted calf”. This son sounded more like a servant than a son. He was talking like he was saved by works, but you can’t earn salvation. It is a gift of God. He said that he never disobeyed his father, but sin was there. The more he talked, the more you could hear what was in his heart – pride, self-righteousness, religious spirit, anger, and jealousy. It’s not that he never sinned, but what he was saying was, I am a good person. I never sinned like my brother. He was with prostitutes. He probably thought he was better than his brother. Maybe he couldn’t love much because he hadn’t been forgiven for much. Maybe the reason why he couldn’t celebrate when his brother returned was because he had already celebrated when his brother left. He could have been happy that he was gone, but this was his brother. Why wasn’t he praying and expecting him to come back home?
The father said to the elder son, Son, you are ever with me and all that I have is yours. I know we call the younger son prodigal because he took what he had, left and wasted it, but the elder son was prodigal, too. Although he stayed in the same house with his father, his heart was far from him. He didn’t know who his father was and he didn’t know what he had as a result of his association. Had he known, he wouldn’t have asked his father to give him something that he already had. This son was toiling, worrying and working hard to get what he already had. He was trying to earn everything including his father’s love, but he already had that. It was love that went after him. It was love that didn’t want him to stay outside and remain angry.
‘All these years’, he could have been celebrating. He could have been merry. His brother wasn’t the only one who wasted something. He wasted a lot of time being angry. When you look at the lives of both sons, they both needed to be delivered from something. First of all, the younger son already had the best, but he allowed a spirit to deceive him and drive him far away from what he had (and it was not the Spirit of God). He left the best thinking he was getting something better. Then, we see when the younger son got delivered, the elder son became angry. If you can’t celebrate someone else getting free, that’s a clear indication that you aren’t free.
The prodigal son wasn’t a bad person. He was a righteous man that fell, but God raised him up. I know what Proverbs 24:16 says, but he would have never gotten up without God’s help. The sad part of this story (to me) is that only one of them repented and returned to his father. Only one of them realized that something was wrong with him and that he needed help, but the other one thought that he was fine just the way he was. When the elder son spoke, all he could talk about was what he did and maybe the younger son was the same way at one time, but now when the younger son spoke, he would only testify of what the Lord did for him.
Some of you may identify with the elder son and some of you may identify with the younger son. I can identify with both, but just remember that God has given you everything you need and He has given you the best…now be content with what you have.