Saturday, August 9, 2014

Decompression And Understanding The Value Of Time

For almost two weeks now, we’ve been on a family vacation.  It’s been the first vacation that we’ve had in over eight and half years and we’ve been very thankful for it.  To the family who followed their hearts and blessed us with the means to have this trip, we say thank you!  Your graciousness has really been a refreshing for us.  We’ve not been a position to have the fun that we’ve been having these past several days and it’s just been a joy to “enjoy life” and the free time.  

On our trip, it was about the third or fourth day of our time away, that I really began to “decompress” and feel free.  Free in my thoughts, my relaxing, and my just being able to let it all be still.  As I was relaxing on the porch, seven hours away from it all, with the mosquito candles burning, hearing the crickets, seeing the stars and pondering everything, I was reminded of a message that has meant a lot to me over the years.  When I stop and get quiet, I remind myself of its points. I thought that I would put it into words and on paper and share it with you.  We all need to “decompress” and value our time. 

The Bible tells us in James 4:13-17, "Come now, you who say,"Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is yourlife?  It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." But now you boast in your arrogance.  All such boasting is evil.  Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."

The Bible describes our existence in this life here on the earth like a vapor.  The Amplified Bible says, "You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air]."   Naturally speaking, our existence here on this earth is but for a moment of time.  When you start to look at it in the light of eternity it is really a very brief moment at that. Our natural existence in the light of eternity is really a short time. 

The little fraction of time that we have here on this earth has great bearing on our eternity. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, "For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come."  How we live now affects us here and now, but how we live now has great bearing on eternity too. 

Grasp eternity for a moment.  It's FOREVER! How long is forever?  FOREVER!  If we stop and consider time, it has a beginning and an end.  Our time of existence, should Jesus tarry, has a beginning and an end. When we get to heaven there will be a new time reference, eternity.  Right now, we have a beginning and an end here and now. 

All of life is a process.  All of life is a process that will one day have an end result.  So, that means to me that TIME is valuable!  It has a beginning and it has an end.  Time itself cannot be stopped.  You can manage time, mismanage it, or even waste it altogether.  In various sporting events, you can stop the clock to move the "chains".  In some games you can put more time back up on the board or the clock.  You can repeat the "down".  In our lives, we don't get the privilege of putting more time on the board or stopping the clock to move the markers.  No, our life is measured and represented by the time that we have here.  Our time spent is eventually what others will look at when they remember us and what we have done.  Therefore we should value with all diligence the time that we have here and now.  Amen. 

There are great things before each of us!  The Lord has GOOD things for us!  We need to value the Lord’s blessing in our lives and where we are at right now. It’s a special place.  As we are sharing on time, on a personal level, let us take the time and increase in our intimacy with God, our passion for Him and His Word, and our commitment toward Him.  Some of my favorite verses in God's Word are found in Job. Job 22:21-23 says, "Yield now and be at peace with Him; thereby good will come to you. Please receive instruction from His mouth, and establish His words in your heart." (New American Standard)  We must discipline ourselves to yield to the Lord.  We must yield to Him more in our lives.  Yield more to His influence.  Yielding yourself to Him puts you in a position to receive increase.  God wants to be your provider, but He also wants you to seek His face.  Psalm 34:10 says, "They that seek (inquire of) the Lord shall not want any good thing."  The Amplified Bible reads, "None of them shall lack any beneficial thing."   

Job 11:13, 17-19 reads, "If you would direct your heart right, and spread out your hand to Him... and your life would be brighter than noonday; darkness would be like morning. Then you would trust, because there is hope; and you would look around, and rest securely.  You would lie down and none disturb you, and many would entreat your favor."  (New American Standard)  Seeking God more, becoming more intimate with Him, having a passion more for the things of God and His Word, and being committed to Him will give you peaceful sleep, brighter days, supernatural security, and supernatural favor.  Seek God's face, not His hand! Let’s not be whiners and complainers in the moment and miss the prize. We need to remind ourselves that just because things don’t always go our way, doesn’t mean we’re not smack dab in the middle of the will of God for our lives.  Let's draw closer to Him more and more each and every day of our lives.  Amen!

All of life is a process.  All of our lives should be a "progression" or, simply put, "personal growth".  We should be increasing and moving ahead in our walk with Him.  Look with me at Ephesians 5:15-16.  Notice what it says here, "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."   I love the way The Amplified Bible reads, "Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil." 

It is important how we live because we may not have an opportunity to repeat it or make up for it.  It's vital that we draw close to God.  Seeking the Lord and spending time with Him will put you in a position of increase in your walk with the Lord.  It will also multiply your days and the quality of those days according to Proverbs 3:1-2, "My son, forget not my law or teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of a life [worth living] and tranquility [inward and outward andcontinuing through old age till death], these shall they add to you."

Think about YOUR time. Think in the light of eternity. What you do and what you are doing are so precious right now.  Don't go and grab all the gusto that you can.   No, grab all of God that you can.  It will bless so many by the way that you live your life. 

Just being busy does not produce happiness.  Activity does not produce productivity.  Your time with the Lord will multiply in your life on all levels.  Prioritize your time. Prioritize your living life and the priorities of your life.  Put your life in order with God first, spouse second, children third, church fourth, job fifth, and so forth.  My goodness, our time with God and our spouses and our children is so important! What you are doing now and how you are living now has bearing on so many things both here and now, and for our eternity that is still to come. 

Get hungry for more of God.  Seeking God more, becoming more intimate with Him, having a passion more for the things of God and His Word, and being committed to Him will give you peaceful sleep, brighter days, supernatural security, and supernatural favor.  Seek God's face, not His hands.  Let's draw close to Him more and more each and every day of our lives.  Let's value our TIME.  Amen!

Pray this prayer: Father, I choose to take the time and make You my priority everyday.  I choose to spend time with You and progress forward in my walk with You.  You are my all in all.  You are my everything.  I have decided to follow YOU and follow I will do.  Amen.

Pastor James Farmer

Saturday, May 3, 2014

God's Kind of Life

For the past several years I have been dealing with some blood sugar issues. These issues  have really changed my life in many ways.  I am constantly working on a good "balance" in what I eat and how much.  Today I wanted to post something that I read that blessed me. It encouraged me in my stand on what the Word of God says regarding healing.  I thought that it might bless someone else. This is a short devotional regarding healing.  It is from Pastor Mark Brazee, entitled, God's Kind of Life. Enjoy!

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. —John 10:10

Where does sickness come from? I was taught for years that sickness was sent from God to teach us and make us pious and more “Christ-like.” However, if we look in the Word, we definitely see that sickness comes from the enemy—not from God. Jesus certainly didn’t get Christ-like through sickness and disease, so I don’t know why we would either.

Sickness is a satanic force. God called it a curse in Deuteronomy 28:59-61. In Luke 13:16, Jesus called it a bondage. And by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, Peter called it satanic oppression in Acts 10:38. God doesn’t like sickness; He’s totally and completely against it. He has done, and is still doing, everything in His power to get healing and health to His children.

The devil is the one who steals, kills, and destroys. Sickness steals money, families, homes—it steals everything it can steal. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The word life in the Greek is “zoe,” and it refers to life as God has it. Jesus was saying, “I have come that you might have the life of God.” Was God ever sick? No! Sickness doesn’t come from God; otherwise, Jesus would’ve included it in His “abundant life” package. No, Jesus didn’t come to bind us in chains of bondage. He came to set us free!

Confession: Jesus gives me abundant life—life as God has it. God doesn’t get sick, so I don’t allow sickness to stay in my body. Divine health belongs to me.

Monday, January 20, 2014

So They Hurt Your Feelings

We all make choices to be offended.  No one really offends us, we choose to "take offense".  That's the truth.  I had some notes from Rev. Keith Moore and several other ministers and put together a message on the subject of getting your feelings hurt.  Here it is.  

I want to share with you a subject that can make you get "touchy".   What we want to share is all about dealing with being offended.   Every one of us has been offended at some time or another.   But we must realize that if we are offended, it is because we yielded to the offense and we did it because we chose to do so.

Let's start by looking at a couple of scriptures that will open our eyes to the truth.   Notice what Psalm 119:165 says.   " Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."   The Amplified Translation makes it even clearer to us.   It reads, " Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble."   

Well, how many of us have had our feelings hurt?   The good news is that your feelings are going to get hurt again!   I think that all of us at different times in our lives have taken an offense.   Here's another verse in Ecclesiastes chapter 10 that speaks a lot as well.   Notice how it reads in verse four from several different translations.

The New King James: "If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post; for conciliation pacifies great offenses."

The New Living Translation: "If your boss is angry with you, don't quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes."

The Message Translation: "If a ruler loses his temper against you, don't panic; a calm disposition quiets intemperate rage."

The Spurrell Translation: "If the spirit (anger) of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offenses."

Many people in churches get offended.   I have been a part of or in the ministry for over 25 years and I can tell you I have seen people offended time and time again.   There are all sorts of reasons why people get offended.   But, the questions to ask are: Is it OK to be offended? Am I justified to be offended?

The enemy is real to our lives, and the Bible says that we need not be ignorant of his devices.   First Peter 5:8 tells us to "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."   The Bible is really clear that the devil is looking for ones whom he may devour.   The devil sets traps for us.   The word "offense" means a trap or a snare.  

A good hunter will use different types of weapons to catch or snare the prey.   The devil uses different types of weapons or snares for different people.   The devil is looking for your weaknesses.   He will prod and poke at you until he finds that sensitive spot that sets you off.   Then he will set a trap for you to fall into time and time again.  

Different things offend different people.   Things may offend you that won't offend somebody else.   What might offend someone else won't mean a thing to you.   Folks will get offended over comments made that didn't mean anything close to the way they took it.   If you are the "offended type", it seems the enemy will pick anybody and everyone around you to say something and do things that irritate you and hit your "offense" spot.   Then... you're offended!

It never fails that when people are offended, they feel insulted, hurt, and angry.   They start out feeling sorry for themselves.   Then they want to lash out at somebody.   Being offended is simply giving place to the devil.   Being angry, being hurt, and insulted is not the fruit of the spirit at all is it?  

When you are offended, get this clear in your head and in your heart... it is not someone else's fault.   It is your fault!   You are offended because you are wrapped up in your own PRIDE.  
Nobody wants to deal with PRIDE, but all of us need to deal with it.   Anybody who says they don't have a problem with pride is usually the one who will consistently yield to pride. Selfishness is the initiator of pride.

Look at Romans 6 and verse11. "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." He's talking about making your OLD MAN "to be dead." You can go to any cemetery and see that dead men are never lifted up in pride, no matter what you say about them, because they're dead!

We should reckon our old stinkin' flesh to be dead no matter what is said or done to us.   Being insulted or offended should be far from our lives. If we get offended over something, it is because we failed to reckon the old man dead.   Don't think for a minute that you will never have any feelings of being hurt or angry, or being offended, because I'm telling you right now, you will.   Feelings come to every one of us.   If your old man acted or felt dead, you wouldn't have to reckon him to be dead.   The test for you and me is that when those feelings of offense come, you resist them - don't yield to them.   Put your flesh under. Catch this one clue here, act like you love people who say and do things that are hurtful to you, no matter how you feel.   That isn't being fake, it is just the simple fact that you are choosing to yield to love.   You are choosing to walk in love.

Remember 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.   Notice what the Word says.   Look at it like you've never seen it before!

"  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails..."

The Beck Translation reads, "Love is patient. Love is kind.   Love isn't jealous. It doesn't brag or get conceited. It isn't indecent.   It isn't selfish. It doesn't get angry.   It doesn't plan to hurt anyone. It doesn't delight in evil but is happy with the truth.   It bears everything, believes everything, hopes for everything, endures everything. Love never dies."

I've been working in ministry or been involved in ministry now for over 25 years.   I have served as an associate several times, in youth ministry, as worship leader and in the itinerant or the traveling ministry.   I have heard and seen a lot.   

People will say "the Lord led us here."   They hook up and become a great blessing.   Then all of the sudden they quit helping and even quit coming to church.   When you talk to them, they say, "We're not coming back.   So and so said this and you did this and we're just hurt and offended."   That begs the question, "If the Lord led you to come here, then what are you being led by now?"   Is my dead man showing?   Is my maturity or immaturity showing?

It is not always easy to follow what the Lord is telling us at times.   We will run into circumstances and we will run into personalities.   There will be times you will hurt all over.   But faith doesn't quit.  

Noah stood firm and followed the Lord and what He told him for over 100 years before he saw a drop of rain.   Abraham waited for years before he saw the promise.   What if Joseph had been offended in jail, would he have ever been elevated to the position God had prepared for him?   Even when circumstances are at their worst, we still find ourselves in the middle of God's plan for our lives.   You don't quit.  

Remember Ecclesiastes 10:4 again, "... don't quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes..." even your own offense. Submission will pacify your great offense.   Don't quit.   Ask yourself, "Is the Lord leading me or is my flesh just yielding to my offense?"   Many people never mature in God or go on to the things that the Lord has prepared for them because they can't cope, so they quit when it's hard.

There was a man who was in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.   He suffered many things.   After being out, he chose never to hold a grudge.   He said that the greatest power that any man has is ability to choose how to react to the circumstances around him.   What a statement!   Think of that in reference to our yielding to an offense.   He had a ton of things about which he could have been offended.   Had he been offended, he could have died there never seeing his liberation and freedom.

Don't be forced out of a situation and miss the plan of God by your flesh and its desire to be offended.   First Peter 5:6-7 says, "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time, casting all of your care on Him for He cares for you."  

When it comes to offenses, you will find yourself better off if you will crucify your flesh and its feelings.   You choose to put the old man under.   Be led by the Spirit and not forced out of God's plan for your life due to an offense.  

Remember, Jesus didn't just make us conquerors, He made us MORE than CONQUERORS!   We've got the victory, but we alone are the ones who choose to yield to it and walk in it.  

Prayer:   Father, I choose to yield to the walk of Love.   I choose to put my flesh under and fulfill Your plan and Your purpose for my life. I forgive and I forget, just as you did with me.   Amen. 

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