Yesterday facebook feeds were filled with posts about the Super Bowl halftime show. Many appeared to be outraged at the behavior /dress of the so called entertainers. Unless you were just born yesterday, you know that the halftime show has a history of ungodly and immoral behavior. So my question is, “Why were you watching it?” Most likely you did not ask yourself, “Would Jesus watch this?” If Jesus would not take pleasure watching something, you should not either. If it’s not okay for your children to watch, it’s not okay for you to watch. PARENTS DON’T HAVE A DOUBLE STANDARD WITH YOUR CHILDREN.
People like to blame the world, the church and the schools for all the problems with the young people today, but God did not give your children to the world, the church or the schools to raise. He gave them to you. You are the one that will ultimately stand before God and give an account for how YOU raised YOUR children.
For all those that watched the halftime show and later acted like they were offended, have you not read 1 Timothy 5:22 – DO NOT SHARE IN OTHER PEOPLE’S SIN? Too many people today say that they know Jesus as their Savior but yet they can watch /listen to things that the Bible clearly calls sin – they wouldn’t dream of doing the things that they watch (adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, lascivious behavior, and much more) but they enjoy watching it…… Maybe it’s time for parents to get off the couch and out of the lazy boy and back to the altar.
1 Timothy 5:22 NKJV
“Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.”
According to God this is what love is:
Love suffers long.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not parade itself.
Love is not puffed up.
Love does not behave rudely.
Love does not seek its own.
Love is not provoked.
Love thinks no evil.
Love does not rejoice in iniquity.
Love rejoices in the truth.
Love bears all things.
Love believes all things.
Love hopes all things.
Love endures all things.
Love never fails.
If you can truly place your name in the following blanks then you are measuring up to what God says about love, if you can’t pray and ask God to help you measure up to His definition of love.
__________ suffers long.
__________ is kind.
__________ does not envy.
__________ 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.
__________ rejoices in the truth.
__________ bears all things.
__________ believes all things.
__________ hopes all things.
__________ endures all things.
__________ never fails.
1 Corinthians 13
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
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.
But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
How does a church ( the corporate body) go from being an on fire, vibrant body to a church full of memories? If asked that question everyone would have a different opinion. And the truth is, most of them would be right because there could be many reasons. However, I think it all boils down to the lack of three things: preparation, expectation, and participation.
If you fail to make preparations it effects EVERYONE.
If you fail to expect it effects EVERYONE.
IF you fail to participate it effects EVERYONE.
I. LACK OF PREPARATION
Leadership and lay people alike must prepare themselves for meeting with God. Everyone must spend time in personal devotion, worship and reading/meditating on God’s Word and in prayer.
In life we prepare for many things but when it comes to spiritually preparing to meet with God (in the assembly of saints) many times we fail to do so. Throughout the Bible God often says to prepare yourselves or to consecrate yourselves.
In the tabernacle in the wilderness the priests had to take a bath and put on clean clothes to carry out their priestly duties. But when it was their turn to minister in the holy place they had even more preparation – they had to clean their hands and feet with the water in the bronze laver. They could not enter into God’s presence any way they wanted.
The Shunammite woman prepared a place for the man of God, the presence of God, (2 Kings 4). If she had not prepared a place for the man of God (the presence of God) she would have missed out on what God wanted to bless her with.
The cares of life and activities keep many from making preparations for meeting with God. Satan doesn’t have to try to lure most believers away with sin – all he has to do is keep them so busy with activities that they don’t have time to spend alone with God. Just like in some marriages, the marriage fails not because of adultery but because of working too much – not enough time together. The lack of alone time together in a marriage can lead to a breakdown in their relationship and the same is true in our relationship with God.
Preparing and consecrating go hand in hand. Many times God told the people to consecrate themselves because He was going to meet with them. Consecration simply means being set apart for God. You are not set apart for God if you look like the world, talk like the world, act like the world, or have the morals / standards of the world.
If we knew a tornado was heading straight toward us we would prepare, to the best of our ability, for it. Which brings me to the second reason – lack of expectation.
II. LACK OF EXPECTATION
Expectation is a strong belief that something will happen. When we get our eyes off God and on people it will effect our expectation.
Many times in a spiritually dry place we come to expect it to always be that way. This doesn’t happen overnight – it is a slow, gradual process. Much like the story of the frog in a pot of water. If the water is gradually heated until it is boiling the frog won’t notice it and it will lead to it’s death.
The woman with the issue of blood expected to be healed when she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9).
The lame man expected to receive from Peter and John. (Acts 3:5).
Lack of expectation may cost you your healing, deliverance, joy, and the list is endless.
In Psalm 137:7 the Bible tells us that after being taken into captivity the people hung their harps on the willow tree. These people looked at their current situation instead of God and it cost them their joy, and their vibrant worship to God. The failed to participate in worshipping God.
III. LACK OF PARTICIPATION
When the body assemblies together worship is not to be a spectator sport for believers. We are all to worship and as we worship we will be drawn closer to God and to each other. Your worship just might be what is needed to set others free.
Paul and Silas worshipped in prison and it set everyone free and brought salvations (Acts 16:25).
Just like the other two points, there are many reasons for lack of participation. Spiritual slumber is probably the greatest reason.
When the body lacks preparation, expectation, and participation it will lack fresh moves of the Holy Spirit.
There is a little mouse in Africa that spends a long period of time underground. When it finally comes out it runs around so fast and hard that it is so exhausted and it falls asleep on top of the ground. While it is asleep a bird or other animal will eat it.
Sometimes a church will be in a dark place spiritually for so long that when the light does start to shine in them again they run around like the little mouse ( programs, works and number focused) until they are so tired physically and spiritually they begin to slumber. If they don’t wake up and return to their first love they will be picked off by the enemy.
EVERYTHING that God has for you is voice activated.
John 14:12-14 NKJV
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
Job 22:28 NKJV
“Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.”
Matthew 18:18 NKJV
“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The words we speak contain power and they have the ability to bring things into existence. The words you speak have the power to wound or heal, discourage or encourage, tear down or build up, bless or curse. Words are binding and they effect you, your home, your church, your country. What words are you speaking? God has a storehouse of wonderful things for us. However, we must open our mouths and pray, bless, bind & loose, prophesy, and decree. EVERYTHING that God has for is is voice activated.
The first step to correcting anything is admission. We must admit our lukewarmness, complacency, sins, faults, failures, and weaknesses to God. It is important to see them as God sees them. In other words we must humble ourselves. Humbleness can be described as seeing yourself as God see you. God’s Word tells us that He gives grace to the humble but He resists the proud.
James 4:6-10 NKJV
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
Our culture changes, styles change, but God’s Word never goes out of style and it remains the same.
In Psalm 119:11 we learn that by hiding God’s Word in our heart it will help us not to sin against God. One might ask, “How does memorizing God’s Word help us not to sin against a holy God?” When you truly memorize Bible verses and know how they apply to your life it gives you something to build your faith on.
Throughout your life the Holy Spirit will bring to your mind scriptures concerning a particular situation/decision you are facing. It is your job to put the scriptures into your mind and it is His job to bring them to your remembrance.
It is sad to say that too many today expect God to do everything for them. They don’t want to put the work, or effort into memorizing/studying God’s Word for themselves.
I would like to encourage all parents to help your children memorize God’s Word because it will help them in their walk with God and in life. After all, you will NOT be around them to tell them what to do all their lives. You’re not going to be there to tell them what’s right or what’s wrong. They must know what they believe and why. When we look back over our lives, at our past mistakes and sin, the chances are our parents were not with us either. When your children are faced with their greatest temptations and decisions you won’t be there, their pastor won’t be there, their Sunday school teacher won’t be there, but the Holy Spirit will be. He will bring to their mind a Bible verse that they have memorized, or a Biblical truth that they have studied. He will encourage them to do the right thing. In the world in which we live today your children need YOU to help them hide God’s Word in their heart.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
About five years ago we purchased some land in Washington and began our slow move there. Over these years I have been transplanting my flowers and bushes. The soil at our old place was very rich and it was easy to get things to grows. Our new place however is very sandy and it is a challenge to get things to grow (other than pine trees). Most of the things that I have planted /transplanted has taken several years to get their roots established enough that they actually grow and flower. The thing that I have learned about planting on sandy land is PATIENCE.
When I plant things I have to be patient and allow the plant however long it needs to get its roots established. I can’t give up on the plant just because I don’t see any visible growth. Most of the very important growth is going on where I can’t see – its roots. Sometimes it takes years for the roots to get to where they can tap into underground water. This reminds me of God. He plants us where He wants us. Not everyone is planted in the same soil conditions. I am thankful that He gives us time to grow – He is PATIENT and He never gives up on us. Even when man can’t see our growth, God sees the inside of us and the roots that are growing. One day, when our roots finally reach the streams of living water we will blossom and bloom.