Browsing "Spiritual Growth"

FORREAL FRIENDS II

Recently, a friend of mine came over to my house the other day and asked me if he could borrow my projector for a presentation he was giving at work. It was his visit that got me to thinking about friendship. When my daughters we small, they loved these toys called “FurReal Friends.”  They were little stuffed animals with mechanical bodies that mimicked the sounds and movements of a real animal.  Amy and I have been suckered in to buying several of these over the years.  We have a FurReal cat, panda, polar bear, and a couple of FurReal dogs!  I guess that’s why when I got thinking about friendship, my mind went to this idea of, not FurReal Friends but ForReal friends.

In case you haven’t a clue about what I’m talking about, here are a couple of examples that may help you understand what I mean when I say FOR-REAL FRIENDS.  There are people who are “FAIR WEATHER FRIENDS” and then there are people who are “YOU SCRATCH MY BACK AND I’LL SCRATCH YOUR BACK FRIENDS.”

FAIR WEATHER FRIENDS are those people who say that they are your friend but their friendship is shallow.  It’s without any depth to it because it is based on just the right conditions… their conditions. Conditions that satisfy their needs only.  So long as you meet the conditions of what they think the relationship should be, they’ll remain your friend. These types of people are concerned mostly about themselves. The slightest disagreement will be treated as a change in the temperature of the weather and they are ready to end their friend with you.  People who lack self-esteem quickly fall into this type of relationship.

The YOU SCRATCH MY BACK AND I’LL SCRATCH YOUR BACK FRIENDS are always looking at what’s in it for me.  These relationships are built on each party’s ability to mutually use each other.  These friendships are often full of friction because one of them usually gets tired of being used by the other.  One of them will have figured out that they are the one who has been getting the short end of the stick most of the time.  There is no true friendship when the friendship is based on what someone can or will do for us.

THE VICIOUS CYCLE

These relationships that I’ve mentioned are easy to get into but, not always so easy to break free from.  They can become a vicious cycle without the help of God.  Ask me how do I know … Been There And Done That. I imageregrettably admit that I have been on both the receiving end and giving end of these types of friendships.  At the time I didn’t realize what they were. But when the Lord revealed to me where I was and where I was headed, I knew that the relationship had to end.  Nevertheless, I was caught up in this vicious cycle.  Like a vortex, the more you struggle to set yourself free the more you get sucked back in.  It wasn’t until I cried out to the Lord for His help that I was set free.

Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story-those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.

Psalm 107:6 Then they cried out to the lord in their trouble, and he delivered then from their stress.

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THANKS-LIVING

My Pastor gave a wonderful sermon on Sunday titled “THANKS-LIVING.”  I was so impress by the subject matter that I thought that I would share some of his message with you.  As Christians our lives should reflect the life of Jesus.  Jesus always gave thanks to God, the Father, for everything.  Thanks, not only in words, but in deeds. When you think about it, how can you truly be thankful when your life does not reflect the attitude of you words.  Our hearts will always give us away concerning how we live out our lives.

TOUCHED BY THE LIVES OF OTHERS

This Thanksgiving, before you doing any eating or celebrating, earnestly take the time to think about what you are truly thankful for … then ask yourself if your life matches up with your words.  Thanksgiving should not just be a date on the calendar that we celebrate once a year. Thanksgiving is the condition of your heart that needs to be examined throughout the year.

I was so touched by the message I heard about “Thanks-Living” and wanted to get into the Scriptures myself in search of a Word from the Lord to share.  I was sitting in Panera with my wife and youngest daughter.  My wife was actuallyimage editing the post I was going to share this week but I told her to hold off because I wanted to do a Thanksgiving post.  I had an idea of a Scripture I was going to use but then the Lord took me to the Book of Psalms.  As I was reading Psalm 107, I was so moved by the words I knew this is what I wanted to share.  This portion of Scripture gives such a wonderful example of how God’s people gave Him thanks.  The people did not give thanks until they had reflected on the state of drifting from God.  It was not until then that they cried out for God’s help and He alone delivered them when they could not deliver themselves.  As you read this portion of Psalms, do you see yourself?  Has God been so good … so faithful … so loving … that you would cry out not just with Thanksgiving but Thanks-Living?

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Nov 10, 2015 - Prayer, Spiritual Growth    7 Comments

THE CHURCH

King David, a man after God’s own heart, wanted to build a house for the name of The Lord.  It was David’s relationship with God, that stirred him in the first place to even desire taking on such a great task.  King David was a man who grew closer and closer to God.  His desire was to never excluded God from his plans.  The Lord was the spark that ignited King David’s heart, a spark that continued on with his son Solomon.

As you read these words of a father speaking with his son, I hope David’s words jumped off the pages at you as they did for me when I read them.

1 Chronicles 22:5-13

David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death.

Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon: “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God.  But this word of the Lord came to me: ‘You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign.  He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father.  And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’

“Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would.   May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God.  Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

How often do you take the time to give God thanks for the people he has placed in your life to bless you?  Have you truly listened to the prayers of those who have prayed for you.  How did it make you feel?

The answer to these questions, only you know.  Do yourself a favor and take a moment to think about these question and answer them truthfully.  I did and was amazed by how God moves in our midst though prayer, people, and even total strangers at times.

David didn’t allow disappointment to set in and fuel his emotions. When God told him that he wouldn’t be the one to build a house for his name, he accepted and planned for his son’s future.  David aligned himself with the will of God concerning a temple that would bear God’s name.

ARE YOU FUELED BY EMOTIONS?

Are you allowing your emotions to drive you everywhere but to your knees?  Or where God wants you to be?  STOP IT, prayer is our life line to Jesus.  The Bible tells us the house of the Lord is called a house of prayer.  Hear Solomon’s conversation about God. See how he’s encouraging the congregation of believers.

1 Kings 8:27-30

But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!  Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.  May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.

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WHAT DO YOU SEE?

If you see the church and people standing outside of the church, you have agreed with ninety percent on the people I have asked this question.  You should see their faces when I ask, “The people are the church, aren’t they?”  The point that I am making here is that God’s people have become so focused on the BUILDING that bears God’s name that they identify with the building more then each other.  I have myself been duped by satan’s trick.  There have been times that my family and I have been driving to go to worship with the saints on a Sunday and somehow me and my wife got into a heated fellowship- translation – ARGUMENT.  No sooner we pull into the parking lot everybody in the car is instructed to be on their best behavior because we are about to go into church.  But aren’t we the church?  I am sure none of you have been there, RIGHT!

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