Why Give? (Exodus 25:1-9)
We have all given something to someone out of feeling obligated or received something from someone that we know they didn’t give it from their heart.
When it comes to giving to God if it isn’t from the heart He does not accept it. We can give financially, volunteer our time, share our abilities, at our local church but God will not honor us if we have impure motives.
The bible says to give cheerfully if we cannot do that we might as well not give at all. It is wrong for Preachers to try to manipulate people to give, for that money will not be blessed anyway.
Finances and service are required for advancing God’s Kingdom but yet having the right heart must be at the core. God does not need our treasure, talent or time, but He desires our heart. What we do with these elements reveal the condition of the heart.
Here in Exodus 25, The Lord told Moses to tell the people of Israel to bring their sacred offerings and to accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them. These offerings as it says in verse eight for the purpose of building the Lord a holy sanctuary.
An acceptable offering is one that has no expectation in return. It is a free will offering! I am not giving in order to get, I give because I put my trust not in money but in God and I am grateful for all He is and has done.
Patterned In The Image of God (Exodus 25:10-40)
We are the temple of God our lives are the offering. Our talent, treasure, and time make up who we are and that is what we promised to give when we made Jesus Lord of our lives. Those who truly live surrendered lives are those in whom God inhabits.
The building description of the ark of the covenant, table, and lamp stand, have one main ingredient in common, GOLD.
Gold represents Glory! The physical structure of the temple in the Old Testament has the revelation for us to understand the spiritual structure of the temple in the New Testament.
1 Corinthians 3:16 says that don’t you know you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in your midst?
As temples of God, we are called to be filled with His glory. Like gold, we have been mined out of the dirt and purified by fire and now shine brightly with the presence of the living God.
We who walk in covenant relationship with God experience the ark of His presence. He meets and talks with us daily.
2 Cor. 6:16-18, “What agreement can exist between the temple of the living God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.” Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And: I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
We see here we must live a separate life, unclean things and idolatry must be done away with if God’s glory is going to fill our lives. Just as the bread of the presence was to remain on the table at all times, God wants to be Lord of our lives at all times. Too many Christian live double lives, in and out, not consistent. It is time to renounce all darkness and live continually in the light. To do this as it says in verse 40 we must be sure that everything in our life is according to the pattern God has revealed in scripture.
Does all aspects of your life line up with the Word of God? This is the defining factor of how much of His Glory exceeds from your being.
Tabernacle of God (Exodus 26)
Here in Exodus 26, we see the blueprint for the creation of the Tabernacle. In the New Covenant, the Temple of God is made up of human flesh, patterned like the Old Testament Tabernacle after the Word of God, as living epistles. The Tabernacle had so many specific dimensions and we are to have every part of our life formed into the image of God.
The difficulty with this is that we must destroy that which is not a reflection of Him. Every traditional and cultural frame that does not line up with the Word of God removed. Every hurt and pain surrendered so that healing and deliverance can follow. Then and only then can we carry the full weight of God's Glory!
Removing Darkness (Exodus 27:20-21)
God, the Father tells Moses to command the people of Israel in Exodus 27:20-22 to bring pure oil of pressed olives to keep the lamps in the tabernacle burning continually.
Jesus speaks in Matthew 5:14-16 that His disciples are the light of the world, a city on the hill that cannot be hidden.....so let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
In the Old Testament, the glory of God-centered around a building called the Tabernacle. In the New Testament, those who abide in Christ are the Tabernacle, He is the oil within us that allows us to shine with the glory of God.
Light is used to remove darkness, that is our call, not to escape from the world, but to go into it, countering evil with good, so that the Kingdom of light destroys the kingdom of darkness.
If your light is going dim, humble yourself before God and let the Holy Spirit recharge you, so you can shine brightly once again.
Praise Tabernacle - A Missions Centered Church (Celebrating 40 years)
It is one thing to leave slavery behind it is another to stop thinking like a slave. We have all been slaves to sin, but God made it possible to be free of sin through Jesus Christ, yet this work is a process, called the renewing the mind. Exodus 21 deals directly with the physical issue of how to treat a slave fairly. This leads to the question is God okay with slavery?
When something in scripture does not line up with the nature of God we must study it in depth for truth from the Word will never violate the nature of God.
President Monroe sent African slaves back to Liberia after the abolishment of slavery, but the problem was these slaves had not been educated well. Upon their arrival, they began to treat the African nationalists like they had been treated by their slave masters, which led to a conflict that has cost the lives of thousands and has not been repaired to this day.
Not everything in scripture reflects the way of heaven, because of the frailty of mankind God permits certain things though it isn’t His will. One example of this is divorce God permits it but He hates it. God understands the evil of mankind and driven by greed and lust issues such as slavery exist, even at this time.
In the time of Exodus slavery was common everywhere, throughout history, people have exploited others for the lust of money. God is in the process of transforming lives and systems. We see this throughout the Old Testament the way to treat slaves transitions from Exodus through Deuteronomy into Leviticus where eventually the command is that no Israelite is allowed to be a slave.
When a society built around slavery suddenly stops then economic destruction will follow. God began the shift out of slavery in the Wilderness but it was a process. While slavery still existed the way slaves were to be treated was completely different than how the Egyptian slave masters treated their slaves. We see that slaves were to be set free after seven years of service with their spouses, yet given the choice to serve them for life if that is what they wanted.
Paul addresses this with the story of Philemon in the New Testament. First, it must be understood that the whole structure of Rome was based on slavery. Slaves in these times were often treated better than free men, they were assured of food, clothing, and shelter, slaves could even be doctors, musicians, teachers, artists, etc.
Slavery was not addressed in the New Testament directly because it would have caused chaos. Paul does not order Philemon to free Onesimus or teach that slavery was evil. But by ordering Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother, the abuse of slavery was eliminated.
If we are going to move with God we must treat people as God would want them treated. God created all people in His image. To treat someone poorly because of their ethnicity is a direct affront to God and His most prized creation. How do you feel if someone mistreats your child? God feels the same and will not allow it to go unpunished.
We are called to establish the justice and righteousness of God throughout the Earth. Child soldiers, forced prostitution, and forced labor are forms of slavery and evil and it is our responsibility as stewards of the Earth to eradicate it.
It is one thing to draw near to God it is another to walk with Him. People often experience God's presence but living in His presence few reaches. The difficulty with abiding in Christ is not God, Himself, but people. Whether purposely or by accident, we trip up by the actions of others.
Ask someone why they stopped going to church, the fault being God will be less common. The blame game goes to church leadership or it's members. The difficulty we have as leaders is trying to get people to get along enough where a significant move of God can take place. God is sovereign but He has chosen to move through His body and if the parts are not together, His power has limits.
Here in Exodus 21:12-36, God instructs the children of Israel regarding how to respond to accidents or malicious acts. God wants His people to get to a place that nothing or nobody moves them but by God. Whether something someone does is by accident or not we need to keep our focus on the will of God. Not that we are not to seek out forgiveness, but we must maintain our surrendered attitude if we are going to continue to walk with God.
Those who wait on the Lord are those who recognize their need for Him. It is these that God grants access to His heavenly throne. The mountain of God represents the heavenlies. We are called to dwell in heavenly places. Those who wait on the Lord as it says here in verse four; are carried on Eagles wings, and as it says in Isaiah 41, they are renewed and strengthened, freed from weariness.
If we try to move in the things of God without waiting on God will be operating not as Eagles but Turkeys. Whatever we try to do will go nowhere. Whatever problems we face will consume us for only Eagles fly above storms.
God desires His children to bring forth His will in heaven on earth, to do this, we must daily wait on Him until we are taken in the spirit onto the mountain of the Lord where we hear from Him and gain our instructions for the assignment He has placed in our hearts.
Those who have the upper hand are those who operate from this higher position. They see situations from a heavenly perspective, from above and not beneath. Those who hear and obey God's instructions are those as it says in verse six, who are set apart as a special treasure who walk in the authority of the King and His Kingdom as a royal priesthood, a holy nation manifesting the glory of God throughout the earth.
Have you ever made a sincere promise to someone but failed to accomplish it? You may have a legit excuse but it never feels good to disappoint people, especially your own family.
Moses after receiving instructions from God now tells the children of Israel and they respond by saying they will do what God commands. As we will see, this is easier said, than done. At the moment, people usually follow the majority, but on their own, they do differently.
It is one thing to accept Jesus as Savior it is another to make Him Lord. Calling on Jesus to save us when life gets hard is much different than submitting our entire life to Him.
Moses now is told to have the people consecrate themselves in preparation for God to come down on the third day in a cloud and speak to them. Barriers were established though so the people didn't get too close to the mountain for they would die.
Through the death of Jesus Christ, the veil (barrier) was torn in two symbolizing that those who accept the saving work of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins now has direct access to God, the Father.
Through the resurrection of Jesus on the third day and the gift of the Holy Spirit that followed when Jesus ascended, mankind can live a resurrected life. Sin is now defeated and we like Moses can go up the mountain. As children of God, we are called to dwell with Him in Heavenly places. Through the Spirit, we can have mountaintop experiences all the time. We can know the secrets of God and walk in the power of God to advance the Kingdom of God wherever He has placed us.
It is time that each of us goes upward and stop dwelling in lower places. We are called on high we will go through valleys but it is only to help us see areas that need to be pruned so we can climb Mt. Sion even higher until we are on top completely transformed into the image of the Son.
No matter how sincere we are we cannot obey God's commands in our own limited natural ability. We must daily go up to Mt. Sion to be empowered from above in order to live the resurrected life free from sin.
True Contentment (Exodus 17:1-7)
Testing Ground (Exodus 17:8-16)
Song of Victory (Exodus 15:1-21)
It was wonderful to witness certain members of the Superbowl winning Philadephia Eagle's give glory to God after their victory. Success will either elevate one's ego or be used as a platform to elevate the name of God. The humble recognize that the hand of God is behind their every feat. The proud love to rub it in the face of their opponents not realizing that they are creating their own fall.
The children of Israel experienced their own victory parade after the crossing of the Red Sea. It was now time to celebrate, the end of 400 years of captivity was over, so the people began to dance and sing. Just like millions of people erupted in celebration in the streets of Philadelphia during the Superbowl parade, the children of Israel erupted in Praise in Exodus 15:1-21. The song sang by Philadelphia fans and players was "We Are The Champion," the song sang by Israel was "The Lord has triumphed gloriously."
In the Lord's song, credit is given to God as the source of strength and victory. He is the one by His right hand that crushed the horse and rider under the sea. "Who Is like the Lord, glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders." It is His unfailing love and His might that leads and guides His people to safety.
We no longer have to wait until we see victory to celebrate for we are already victorious. Even when things look bleak and unpromising we are to celebrate. Faith is the key that releases power and favor that breaks up the fallow ground. Faith is the evidence of things not yet seen. One must already see spiritually that they are victorious before they will see it witnessed naturally.
Life in Christ is a non-stop Holy Spirit Victory Party. It all depends on whether we look through the lens of fear or faith, defeat or victory.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).”
How Quick They Turn
The first part of Exodus 15 the children of Israel were celebrating through dance and song, the second part they are complaining.
Just as excited as Eagles fans are after winning the Superbowl if they start losing in the coming season the fans will quickly turn. That is how people are they celebrate when things go there way and complain when they do not.
The children of Israel had gone three days without finding water, when they finally found some at Marah, it was too bitter to drink. Instead of turning to God to do a miracle they complained to Moses.
Every need that God allows to go unmet is an opportunity to bring forth a miracle through faith.
Moses unlike the children of Israel who complained, prayed to God, and God told him to take a piece of wood, throw it into the water and you will be able to drink.
When bitterness is within someone they can celebrate only so long before they begin complaining again. Bitterness is a virus that you can only get healed from through the wooden cross. Only by applying the blood, offering forgiveness, can it be uprooted and pulled out of your heart.
You only know if you are delivered from bitterness when you are tested. If the person that wronged you comes near you or a thought of them comes to your mind and you choose to pray for them in all sincerity rather than dwell on negativity then you are free.
Prayer turns people and situations over to God who now steps in and does what only He can. When you surrender your bitterness to God the consequences of sin gets lifted and you are healed and delivered. God now leads you away from your place of want into a place of plenty.
In The End, We Win (Mark 15:1-15)
In this world, doing wrong will at times be rewarded and doing right will at times be punished. Those who break the law will on occasion get away with it, while those who obey the law will be occasionally wrongfully accused. Injustice will seem to prevail.
Jesus had done nothing wrong, Barabbas was a murderer, yet Jesus is the one going to be crucified while Barabbas goes free. Not fair, not right, but that is the way it is for many in this unjust fallen world.
The good news is, just as Jesus crucified became Jesus resurrected, "God works all things for good to those who love Him." Eternal judgment will take place, Justice will ultimately be served. In the end, God wins. Satan and his followers will forever be punished, while the followers of Christ will be forever rewarded.
So be encouraged what is wrong will be made right. What is evil will be removed. The blood of the martyrs will be avenged on the enemies of God.
Mock Worship (Mark 15:16-20)
The Roman soldiers added insult to injury towards the Son of God, dressing Him up as a King, placing a crown of thorns on His head, and saluting Him “Hail! King of the Jews!” They then kneeled before Him mocking Him in worship until they got tired of it. How cruel and wicked and yet how powerful Jesus was to withstand this treatment and not command His angels to stop it.
The entire history of this fallen world proves how evil mankind is separate from God. It is the only amount of days before another senseless attack is on the news, the latest being the killing of at least 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas. It makes me sick we think how can anyone do such a thing but we have seen it throughout history since the fall of Adam and Eve.
Mock Worship takes place when people gather and claim to know God, even worshipping Him, but their hearts are far from Him, doing all kind of evil acts with no thought of repentance. That is why we are to examine our hearts before taking communion. It is a mockery to claim to be in communion with God when one’s life is not at all committed to Christ.
Let us ask God as we worship Him to purify our hearts so that we are truly worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth.
The Crucified Life (Mark 15:21-32)
Remember when you lived without any thought of God. You passed by churches and met Christians but you did not even consider your need for God.
A man named Simon is just passing by coming from the countryside and he is grabbed and forced by the soldiers to carry Jesus’ cross.
We each were chosen by God to carry the cross. To leave the self-indulgent path we once were on and go down the path of self-sacrifice. We can sit around and complain but it really makes no sense because it is the only path though it is small, narrow, and difficult, that leads to the resurrection and eternal life.
Galatians 2:20 says “I am crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but He who lives within me.” We must choose to live the crucified life before we can walk in resurrection power. Just like Jesus, we will be rejected, mocked, and ridiculed but isn’t it a price well worth it considering being saved from sin and having the power to partner with God to help save others.
The Sacrifice (Mark 15:33-47)
Jesus Christ the Son of God freely gave His life that others could be saved. This is the ultimate act of love.
Brave soldiers, 👮, firemen, risk their lives daily for the better good of others. Courageous individuals such as a husband in Las Vegas died sacrificing his life by laying on top of his wife to shield her from the bullet's being shot in the crowd at a concert. When the most horrific evil is displayed often the most beautiful acts of love are countered in contrast.
When it seems like God has abandoned you, just know one cry and He will come near. He has a way of turning the worst experiences into something good to those that love Him.
Jesus was tortured to death, the worst form of suffering. Yet through it, the veil was torn in two, sin no longer has to separate mankind from God. Those who accept what Jesus has done experience the forgiveness of sins, their guilt is removed, shame is gone, and a new identity is given, as sons and daughters of God, their heavenly Father.
True power, true love, has no greater act than the laying down of one's life for others.
Have you ever had people out against you, looking for an opportunity to take you down?
This is how it was for Jesus, but He never let it distract Him from His divine purpose. He did not always ignore them, confronting them when necessary but He continued to be about His Father's will.
We need to stop being put on the ring just trying to defend ourselves all the time. God wants His children aggressive not passive, throwing punches against the enemy not retreating. We must remember we are not fighting against flesh and blood....
Jesus while eating at Simon's home is anointed by expensive perfume over the head by a woman. Some of those at the table are indignant and yell at the woman that this oil should have been sold and the money given to the poor.
We must be cautious not to stand between God and His will because of our views. We are to acknowledge God in everything to assure what we are thinking is correct.
God's ways are above our ways. There is a bigger picture we miss if we look at a situation in our own limited perspective. This woman was Prophetically attuned to what was about to come while those at the table were not. She was preparing Jesus for His death.
Jesus told them that what this woman did will never be forgotten. God may lead us in a way that others will not accept and even highly oppose, but we must be obedient for we live to please God not man.
Betrayal (Mark 14:10-26)
Those who have power often experience betrayal. People will come alongside someone for a time but due to jealousy and greed will desire the power they have, and turn against them. Power can corrupt the most faithful followers. We must all stand guard and walk in discernment because it can be the people closest to us that betray us.
The religious leaders were plotting against Jesus trying to find a way to trap Him, and then Judas shows up willing to betray His Master. These leaders are thrilled, they have a spy now, someone within Jesus circle that can take Him down.
Jesus always knew Judas would betray Him but also He knew His heavenly Father would use it all for His divine purpose. When we discern evil intentions in another we need to ask God how to deal with it. Exposing it right away seems right but it might not fit God's plan.
Jesus was human, He felt what we feel, it could not have been easy to be at supper with Judas knowing what he just had done. Jesus though does bring it to light, He says in Mark 14:18 that "someone at this table will betray me." He then explains how "terrible it will be for the one who betrays the Son of God. That it would be better if he had never been born." This act cursed the name of Judas, nobody could have that name again and not be thought of as a betrayer.
Jesus has communion with His disciples which is our highest purpose to be in continual fellowship with God, partaking in the life of Christ through the shedding of His blood.
If we try to be a Christian without being in communion with Christ we will betray Him. For apart from Him we can do nothing. What we try to do will misrepresent Christ and be used as an excuse for people to turn against Him.
Deserted (Mark 14:27-31)
We have all heard the cliche "It's lonely at the top." People strive to get to the top and often those who help them get there are now the ones that try to get them down. Power often corrupts the individuals who have it and those around them that want it.
When people's expectations are not met and decisions made are not what others desire the people begin to desert the leaders they once followed.
Jesus says the prophecy "God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered," is about to be fulfilled. Peter says "if everyone deserts you, I never will." Later, Peter does deny Jesus three times as Jesus had proclaimed. These disciples were only willing to follow Jesus as far as it was good for them when it was possible that they may die for following Jesus they were like forget you.
How far are you willing to follow Jesus? The Bible says if you are not willing to deny yourself and pick up the cross, you are not worthy of Him.
As leaders, we must choose to obey God even if it means losing family and friends. Our decisions may not be popular and cause persecution, but nevertheless, "not my will but yours oh Lord, my God, my Redeemer."
WAKE UP (Mark 14:32-52)
Spirit led prayer is what infuses our being with God’s heart. As we see here at the garden of Gethsemane this will at times lead us to experience great grief as we feel His pain for the lost and dying world.
God often calls us to be the answer to what we pray which may mean experiencing great suffering. Jesus Himself asked if the suffering of the cross could be taken away. Since we are human like Christ we should never expect to want to suffer, yet through the power of Jesus we can say, “nevertheless not my will, but your will be done, Father.”
The disciple's way of handling all that was going on was by sleeping. Many believers are asleep and not in prayer, they don’t carry the heart of God and therefore are unwilling to carry the cross. They desire an easy, comfortable, self-gratifying way to Heaven. But the Word of God says “wide is the path to destruction and many are those that follow, but narrow is the way to everlasting life and few are those that find it.”
Most Christians are not interested in prayer and evangelism but they sure love the prophetic, healing, and the supernatural. God’s heart is centered on the first two, and the miracles rarely come unless one is prayed up and evangelizing others. So what happens is people are out chasing the supernatural going from conference to conference rather than following the great commission where signs and wonders become a regular occurence.
Why do believers give into temptation so easy? The answer is Mark 14:38. Lack of prayer; “the spirit is willing but the body is weak.”
Because of the disciple's spiritual weakness, they were not ready to handle the betrayal and arrest of Jesus but rather reacted in anger not seeing the bigger picture and then in fear deserting Jesus.
The only person we are to fear is God, we should let nobody hold us back by intimidation from obeying His commands and speaking the truth.
Jesus gave the story of a vineyard where wicked farmers killed every servant that the owner sent to collect the harvest, even his only son. The religious leaders knew this story was about them, and now they wanted to arrest Jesus, but they were afraid of the crowds.
Jesus was not afraid to confront and bring to light the evil of others. The world is full of evil leaders, sadly some of them claim to be Christians. As the Father leads we are to boldly stand against and expose the wrong evil leaders are doing. The worse wrong is when those who know better remain silent.
What do we have to fear? Death is gain! So be bold, be brave, God is looking for people that will not back down to no one but Him.
Some people can be so nice but you know it is not genuine, they have an agenda. The Pharisees say "Jesus, we know how honest you are and you play no favorites, so tell us should we pay taxes to Caesar?"
The crowd was the disenfranchised who was tired of the oppression of the Romans, they would want Jesus to speak for them against the unjust tax system. Then the Pharisees could use His statement against the Roman rulers to shut this man up.
Jesus caught it and said, "you hypocrites, why do you try to trap me?" Then He asked "whose description is on it? They said Caesar's. Well, He said to render to Caesar's what is Caesar's and what is God's to God." They were all amazed at His answer.
We often let confrontation bring the worst out of us, we name call, blame others, get offended, etc. God wants us to learn to stay cool, acknowledge God and speak forth the wisdom that He shares. God has insight that will silence our enemies every time if we just give Him our ear.
We must pay our taxes, for we are to abide by the law, despite if we agree what the government is doing or not. We are to honor the position of all our leaders despite our disagreements, trusting that God will deal with them in due time.
We are to give to God what is His which is our entire lives, including all we own and all our talents and gifts for His purposes.
Let us not play the hypocrite and act religious like the Pharisees but rather be genuine in our faith towards God, living surrendered lives that He may be greatly glorified.
You Don't Know Squat!
Do you ever feel constantly attacked? Where so many people are against you questioning your every move. Well nobody had it as bad as Jesus, He was constantly questioned, his enemies trying to make a public spectacle of Him. Yet, every time Jesus responded with such wisdom that they left silenced.
This time the Sadducees who say there is no resurrection questioned Jesus that if a man died with seven brothers and one after the other married the widow because each of them died one at a time as well, who would the lady be married to in heaven?
These guys are supposed to be masters of the scriptures but Jesus tells them the problem you have is you don't know the scriptures or the power of God. That is everyone's problem who misinterpret scripture or just are ignorant of what it really says. Natural understanding cannot perceive spiritual truth.
We see this example with Nicodemus the Pharisee who came to Jesus at night to check him out. Jesus told him you must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus was like huh! How can one reenter their mother's womb? He knew the scriptures but really didn't understand them because he was not born again.
One must know God personally in all His power to understand who He is. To be born again you must acknowledge your need for God and accept Him as Lord. Then the Holy Spirit comes into your being and you now can perceive and truly know God.
Jesus now tells them don't you see in the scriptures that you will neither be married or given to marriage they will be like the angels in heaven. Which means perfect beings in lack of nothing. Then he points out where in the writing of Moses that it states the reality of the resurrection.
What's Really Important?
Do you know someone who makes a big deal out of nothing or who is so proud of something that really doesn't matter?
The religious leaders in Jesus time were full of themselves. They thought they were all that. I have been around religious leaders in these times that act the same way.
A teacher of the religious law asks Jesus what is the greatest commandment? Jesus responded by sharing two commandments which are the essence of all the ten. First, it is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second is just as important which is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
So what we see here as evident in 1 Corinthians 13; Love is all that matters. If whatever we do, ministry oriented or not, does not come out of the love of God it amounts to nothing.
The teacher of the religious law says to Jesus so love is more important than the legal requirements of offerings and sacrifice? Jesus responds to Him and says you are not far from the Kingdom of God. He unlike many of the religious leaders, "got it." Question is, do we?
I still find Christians so caught up in that which does not matter. Fighting over trivial things. Divided by fleshly matters.
The world needs love, if we could just offer God's unconditional, mercy filled love, our fellowships would always be growing.
Before this can occur we must fully accept God's love where we allow Him to heal every wound. For we can not offer that which we have not yet fully received.
The world's love has limits what should define Christianity is that it is made of a people who love without limits.
Fakes & Phonies
Have you ever been an environment where people didn't give you much value or worth? This is understandable in the world but I have experienced in some Christian leadership circles that if you haven't graduated from a prestigious college with theological degrees and have a huge world impacting ministry that they give you very little regard. I understand that they are busy and only have time for so called "important people." But, C'mon is this the Way of Jesus?
Jesus explains to the people that though the religious leaders say that the Messiah must be the Son of David, clearly they have it all wrong. They have misinterpreted the scriptures. These leaders were trying continually to discredit Jesus but they were nothing but fakes and phonies. People will discredit us like they did Jesus, but we are to remember that our worth and value come from God. The Bible says we are a "royal priesthood, a holy nation, a chosen people." "If God is for us then who can be against us." When people are not rightly aligned with God they wrongfully interpret the scriptures for they don't know God's heart.
Jesus reveals the hypocrisy of these leaders; they parade around adorned with fancy clothes, sitting in high places above others, praying in a way to impress. Yet these people cheat widows. Some people start off well but over time due to the business of ministry they stop abiding in Christ and therefore what comes out of them is not good fruit. As John 15 says if the branches wither and produce no fruit they will be cut off and burned. When leaders become proud they must be humbled.
At the judgment seat of God, we will have to account for what we did with our faith? The excuse that the actions of Christian leaders caused you to go on the sideline will not line up with God's righteous standard.
We are not to be moved by anyone but God. We need to stop pointing fingers at others and just let God be God. There are too many people leaving the church because of the actions of others. Who gives us the right to leave a fellowship because we are offended? The question you need to ask yourself, Is Jesus Lord, or are you?
The Poor and the Powerless
In the Kingdom of God, the poor are powerful. How is that possible? The poor are those who realize their need for God, it is those who give whatever they have to God.
Jesus said it is difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God, why? Because it is easy for them to think they don't need God. How can we think money can take care of all our needs? We see with the hurricanes in Houston and Florida how fragile life can be, how quick life can change for both the financially rich and poor.
Jesus observed the rich giving large amounts of money in the offering collection, then he saw a poor widow give two small coins. Yet, He says that the widow gave the most because she gave all she had. It is not about the amount of money it is all about the state of the heart.
The Kingdom of God is for the poor and powerless those who acknowledge that apart from God they are nothing, they are those who surrender all that they have to God. It is the poor and powerless that is truly rich and powerful for the Kingdom God.