Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SEEING FOR YOURSELF

SEEING FOR YOURSELF

The story is told of a clothing store manager returned from his lunch break and noticed his clerk's hand was bandaged. Before he could ask him about the bandage, the clerk ran over.

"Guess what, sir?" he asked excitedly “I finally sold that terrible, ugly suit that we've had so long!" "Do you mean that repulsive pink-and-blue double-breasted thing?!" the manager responded in surprise. "That's the one!" the clerk proudly beamed.
The manger said "I thought we'd never get rid of that monstrosity! That had to be the ugliest suit we've ever had! But tell me, why is your hand bandaged?" "Oh," the clerk replied, "after I sold the guy that suit,…. his seeing-eye dog bit me!"

The bible repeatedly warns us concerning the subject of spiritual blindness. Jesus often used the imagery of blindness to illustrate spiritual deception.

The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

In order to be saved and experience God’s guidance, Psalms 34:8 tells us we must “Taste and SEE that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.”

On June 29th 1992 I saw for myself what others had told me about God and salvation. Now I can sing what John Newton wrote so well; “Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was BLIND but now I SEE”

A blind man's world" said E. Paul Hovey, "is bound by the limits of his touch; an ignorant man's world by the limits of his knowledge; a great man's world by the limits of his vision." Vision is more than physical. It’s a matter of insight and spiritual comprehension.

Limited vision leads to lackadaisical leadership. A spiritual leader who lacks vision is not only impaired by his own blindness, but is disqualified to guide the people of God.

This is the rebuke of the Lord Jesus Christ concerning the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of His day. Christ said of them, "They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch" (Matthew 15:14).

Spiritual leaders who take men into the trenches typically do so because of their own inability to see. Many religious leaders do not themselves see the truth, and thus they misguide millions into even greater darkness and despair.

God has called us to see. To see for ourselves. We must look around, look ahead, look behind, look below, and most importantly look above.

Job knew what it was like to see God in the midst of misery, and knew that for the believer, we will one day literally see Him for ourselves!

He said in Job 19:25-27 “ For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another”

Have you seen God work in your life?

Do you have spiritual insight?

If not, you can ask Him to open your eyes, and you will see for yourself!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Matter of Music

NOTE: I am NOT against all CCM or modern Christian music.
I do not think drums are Satanic.
This is a message on moderation.

I was once a defender of the opposite side of this issue and a member of a "Christian Rock" band--I was forced to theses conclusions after much study in scripture and hope this will help others who truly want to be obedient to the Bible and healthy in their holiness

Taken from sermon notes from the sermon


“THE MINISTRY OF MUSIC”
Colossians 3:16

Ecclesiastes 7:5 “It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.”

Colossians 3:16 is as important to a believer as John 3:16 is to an unbeliever!

Music REALLY is the “American Idol” I have heard many say “I can’t live without my music” You will live according to what you listen to …and we all march to the beat of the drummer we choose to follow.

“Give me the songs of a nation and it matters not who writes its laws.” - Plato

Music INFLUENCES & IMPACTS the way we THINK and feel-consciously & subconsciously

The root word of Music is “MUSE” –a spiritual term for thought.

Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

Music is a meditation of the heart. It’s time to face the music….literally!

The question is………what KEY is music in? >> Is it in tune with God? Is it in HARMONY with HOLINESS? Is it in BEAT with the BIBLE?

Is God truly God of what we listen to? Is He God of your I-Pod?

Without a doubt, music is very closely tied to the Spirit filled life! Eph 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” Note the Very NEXT VERSE ...verse 19,“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Music will either HELP or HINDER you spiritually….there is no neutrality!

Music is MORAL! “I don’t listen to the really bad stuff” …means you admit there is bad stuff!

ALL non Christian music isn’t EVIL—patriotic songs, silly sing along songs etc. But some is.

Music is PHYSICAL! It increases or slows heart rates. Moves your feet….or hips. Makes us snap our fingers

Music is SPIRITUAL! Music has the power to make affect our attitude…. It make us moody or melancholy .

Spiritual music SOOTHES & EXCITES the SOUL.
Sensual music FEEDS the FLESH.

It doesn’t matter from what culture you come , or what your background may be. Marching music sounds the same in every country- for every Army!

- it’s NOT “just the words” - ask someone if they know what he words—and they say “I just listen to the music” .... then ask them about the music and they say “It’s all about the words”

1 Samuel 16:23And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand (NO WORDS) so Saul was refreshed,(PHYSICAL) and was well, (MENTAL) and the evil spirit departed from him.(SPIRITUAL)”

I. IS DIVINELY DESIGNED

God gave us the gift of Music. The BIGGEST BOOK in the Bible…is a Song book!!!!

When Lucifer ....the music minister was cast out of heaven - he didn’t waste time using it for evil.

I went to a rock concert in Raleigh and the lead singer referred to it as “Worship” He said this was their“Church” . Deut 32:31 “For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.”

Romans_12:2 "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

WWJD?

Would Jesus break dance?
Dance Gingham style?
Would He head bang?

Titus 2:12 (Grace teaches) us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously,and godly, in this present world;

"But I like it" Of course we do--the Devil is good at what he does. My flesh still LOVES that kind of music. I went through music withdrawals worse than when I quit smoking.
There’s something that gets inside you and it’s called a HOOK! -always trying to pull you in the same boat

II. IS DOCTRINALLY DEFINED

- the word of God is to “dwell in us richly” in order for it to produce “wisdom.” “ TO THE LORD”; Eph 5:19 & Col 3:16 It is not primarily for the world. .. as a witness tool ..it is for us and Jesus

3 parts required to make music: Each element applies to our being

MELODY- connected to SPIRIT HARMONY- - connected to SOUL RHYTHM-- to BODY

“making melody” is the only one emphasized by God Nothing wrong with Rhythm….in it’s place

>When you hear the car shaking a half mile away—that’s out of order! Most modern music is almost or entirely absent of melody

Church music should remind us of HEAVEN, ...not HONKEY TONKS!

Psalms - sacred songs sung to musical instruments –usually solo. More poetical

hymns - an anthem directly giving glory TO God. More chordal

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.” “To God be the Glory” “How Great Thou Art”

“spiritual songs… These are in reference not so much to WHO God IS, as to WHAT He DOES.

I’ll Fly Away” and even “Amazing Grace” are examples

It is all about the music itself. It is worldly and fleshly. That is NOT a matter of personal opinion , cultue or tastes...it is the definition by the term itself , by the artists themselves! It is a proud part of their purpose and program...the more carnal...the better. Whether it be head banging, hip shaking or foot stomping.
Scientist say that Pop music is basically cranial crack , to the point that they have actually been able to predict which songs would become big sellers by hooking kids up to an MRI scanner and playing previously unheard pop tunes for them. When a future hit came on, the pleasure center of the brain lit up like a Christmas tree.

And not only does your brain go crazy when it hears catchy, poppy music, but also it actually derives pleasure from predicting the melodies as you listen, anticipating the emotion associated with certain types of music. This leads to a one-two punch where you get one thrill when your brain is expecting something to happen, and when it actually does another rush of dopamine comes in from an entirely different part of the brain. And this is where your brain enters Addict Mode. The easiest way for it to get its dopamine fix is tunes that are simple, predictable and repetitive -- so that's what it prefers, no matter your views on the artistic merits. That's right -- no matter how carefully hipster you are, or how hardcore a metalhead image you maintain, your brain is secretly into Bieber.

Now THAT is should scare us all alot! :-)

III. IS DISOBEDIENTALLY DECLINED

Hebrews 2:12 “In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.”

This is a command not a suggestion

James_4:17 "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

God wants us to use music as a tool - to strengthen ourselves and encourage ONE ANOTHER.

Don’t just hold a hymnbook!! I’m not saying we all have to sing solos….but we are all commanded to sing!

The only bird that doesn’t sing is a BUZZARD!!! (*Evangelist Billy Kelly use to say: “Christians who don’t sing, ought to be sent to Sing Sing till they learn TO sing!”)

Psa 150:1 "praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary"
Psalm 35:18 “I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.” Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” (Matthew 12:34).

Proverbs 29:6 unequivocally says, “The righteous doth sing and rejoice.”
To NOT sing in church...... is to refuse to worship in church! “singing with grace in your hearts,” will help the “word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.”

So lift your voice believers......and sing your heart out!!!
Psalm 40:1-2

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DEATH'S STING


A little boy and his father were driving down a country road on a beautiful spring afternoon. Suddenly out of nowhere a bumblebee flew in the car window. Since the little boy was deathly allergic to bee stings, he became petrified. Suddenly, the father quickly reached out, grabbed the bee, squeezed it in his hand, and then released it.

As soon as he let it go, the young son became frantic once again as it buzzed by the little boy. His father saw his panic-stricken face and again the father reached out, but this time he opened his hand. There still stuck in his skin was the stinger of the bee.

He said to his son. "You don't need to be afraid anymore. I've taken the sting for you."

The worker honey bees are armed with straight, barbed stingers, so that when a worker stings, the barbed, needle sharp organ remains firmly anchored in the flesh of its victim. In trying to withdraw the stinger, the bee tears its internal organs and dies shortly thereafter. And this is the message of Easter.

We do not need to be afraid of death anymore. Christ faced death for us. And by His victory, we are saved from sin. Christ has taken the sting! 1 Corinthians 15:55 asks: "“O Death, where is your sting? O Grave where is your victory?”

Christ has taken the stinger for us. He has risen!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"BIGGER Than The Mountain"

In 1924 a group of explorers tried to climb Mount Everest and failed.
They attempted twice to tackle the mountain but with no success. The group lost two of its members in the second effort. After the failed endeavor they met with a group of supporters in London to raise funds for yet another expedition.

On stage one of the hikers stood up and gave a rousing speech of determination. He was persuaded that his team could indeed conquer the mountain if given enough time and support. He closed his remarks by stating, "Mount Everest cannot grow larger, but we can."

The obstacles we face and the mountains we climb can sometimes appear daunting and unmovable. The one advantage we have however is that we can grow, we can get stronger, and we can become wiser. It takes a spirit of resolve and faith to climb the mountains of life. Our failures can actually become our successes if we properly glean from our experiences.

Thomas Edison said, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

Many of us here in North Carolina remember the name Spud Webb.

Diminutive young mister Webb wanted to be a NBA star when he grew up, but he had a long way to go in more ways than one. Always the shortest kid in class, he said he prayed everyday in middle school “God make me bigger”—but nothing happened."

He said he continued to pray every day in High school “God make me bigger”—but nothing happened. Then one day he said in prayer, “God if you’re not gonna make me bigger on the outside…make me bigger on the inside” …and God did!

All 5 feet 7 inches of him went on to be a star player at NC State, and then in the NBA …where he shocked everyone by winning the slam dunk contest in 1986!

Friend, walk up the mountain one more time!
Everest doesn't get any bigger,…. but you can!

HE SPARED NOT

"He … spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all." (Romans 8:32)

The well-known slogan of Hallmark Cards is, “When You Care Enough To Send The Very Best.

The Bile tells us that almighty God sent us much more than a greeting card when He gave us His own dear Son to die for our sins.

Amazingly, even though we were unworthy and unwilling to receive the gift, God gave us His very best (Rom. 5:8). Truly God held nothing anything back when He “spared not His own Son.”

It is amazing when we think that even though God knew beforehand what this wicked world would do to His Son, He still “spared not.”
It would be as if you would take your own child and cast him into a pit of rattlesnakes. We wouldn’t think of doing such a thing. Yet, this is exactly what God the Father did when he sent His Son into the midst of a “generation of vipers.

God spared not, knowing the lies, betrayal, humiliation, and the mockery His Son would endure.

God spared not, knowing the scourging, the spitting, and the smiting that would be inflicted upon His own dear Son.

God spared not, knowing the nails that would pierce the sinless hands and feet of His beloved Son upon a cruel cross.

Why? Why did God do it? Because He loved us and knew this would be the only way to provide a way of salvation for us.

If God spared not giving His best to make a way for us to be saved, how can we withhold anything from Him that would help make salvation available to others who are lost?

1 Corinthians 6:20 “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” Do you care enough to give God your very best? Then spare not

COMFORT ONE ANOTHER

1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."

One of the works of the Holy Spirit is to comfort the Christian.

John 14:26 refers to Him as "… the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost..." Yet, even though this is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit often uses His people to do this work.

That is why scripture also says "… comfort yourselves together
When the Christian yields themselves to the Holy Spirit of God, then they will find that they will be used to comfort those around them.

How is it that the Holy Spirit uses us to comfort one another?

First, the Holy Spirit uses FAITH to comfort people.

In Luke 8:48, Jesus said to the woman who was healed of the issue of blood, "Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole;..." The faith of this woman comforted her. If her faith could comfort her, then your faith can comfort others. When people see someone whose faith is strong, it comforts them by giving them security. When we exercise faith it helps all involved and others who only witness.

Second, the Holy Spirit uses the SCRIPTURE to comfort people.

Romans 15:4 says, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." It is important that we learn the Scriptures so we can use them to comfort people. Nothing is more assuring than knowing that the Bible backs us up.

Third, the Holy Spirit uses PREACHING to comfort people.

According to 1 Corinthians 14:3, one of the purposes of preaching is to comfort people. This is one of the many reasons why it is critical to be at church regularly because you will hear preaching that will not only comfort you in your time of need, but it will help you to know what to say to others in their time of need. Moreover, you should bring those who need comfort to church so they can hear the preaching that the Holy Spirit will use to comfort them.

Fourth, the Holy Spirit uses your LOVE to comfort people.

Philippians 2:1 refers to the “comfort of love”. Why should we love people? Because loving them brings comfort to them. There is nothing like receiving a phone call from someone who loves you and hearing them say that they are praying for you and that they love you.

Fifth, the Holy Spirit will use the BLESSED HOPE of Christ to comfort people.

2 Thessalonians 4:18 tells us to “comfort one another” by reminding them that Jesus is coming again. The hope that one day all sorrow will end because Jesus is coming is a comfort to those who are hurting. One of the greatest tools of comfort is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Sixth, the Holy Spirit uses FORGIVENESS to comfort people.

2 Corinthians 2:7-8 reminds us that when we forgive people, it comforts those whom we forgive. It teaches us that we should not be unforgiving but “ .. ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him”

Bitterness towards someone who's wronged you will not bring comfort to you or them. When someone knows you have forgiven them for what they did to you, that brings them comfort. How is your ministry of comfort? This list by no means says all there is to say on the subject, but hopefully helps us to be a better help to others.

Are you lacking in one of the tools the Holy Spirit uses to comfort others through you? Make each of these areas a priority in your life, and you will find that the Holy Spirit will comfort many people through you too!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

GIVING GOD YOUR BEST

GIVING GOD YOUR BEST


"He … spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all." (Romans 8:32)

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, a little brother and sister were playing “Noah and the Ark.” An old shoe box was the ark; the bathtub was their flood. After the flood was over they decided to make an offering to God.

Noah (the boy) said to Mrs. Noah (the girl), “Here, take one of your toy animals as a sacrifice.” “No,” she replied, “Let’s use one of your animals instead!” When they could not agree, she ran to the attic.

In a moment she was back with a little toy lamb. It was dirty, it’s head smashed, and it’s tail missing. “Here,” she cried, “let’s give this as a sacrifice. We’ll never want it again.”
Her brother agreed, and they made their sacrifice. The little broken lamb they did not want was given to God.

NOW THE SCENE SHIFTS. God was looking down at his earth. He saw the people in all of their wickedness and their weakness. They had no hope. All was dark. Something had to be sacrificed if they were to be saved from their sin. God had many angels he might have sent to help. He did not even consider them. Another was chosen instead: the best God had.

The well-known slogan of Hallmark Cards is, “When You Care Enough To Send The Very Best.”

The Bible tells us that almighty God sent us much more than a greeting card when He gave us His own dear Son to die for our sins.
Amazingly, even though we were unworthy and unwilling to receive the gift, God gave us His very best (Rom. 5:8) “But God commendeth His LOVE toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Truly God held nothing anything back when He “spared not his own Son.” http://hitherandyonder.blogspot.com/2013/02/giving-god-your-best.html It is amazing when we think that even though God knew beforehand what this wicked world would do to His Son, He still “spared not.” It would be as if you would take your own child and cast him into a pit of rattlesnakes. We wouldn’t think of doing such a thing. Yet, this is exactly what God the Father did when he sent His Son into the midst of a “generation of vipers.”


God spared not, knowing the lies, betrayal, humiliation, and the mockery His Son would endure.
God spared not, knowing the scourging, the spitting, and the smiting that would be inflicted upon His own dear Son.
God spared not, knowing the nails that would pierce the sinless hands and feet of His beloved Son upon a cruel cross.

Why? Why did God do it? Because He loved us and knew this would be the only way to provide a way of salvation for us.
If God spared not giving His best to make a way for us to be saved, how can we withhold anything from Him that would help make salvation available to others who are lost?

1 Corinthians 6:20 tells us “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

Do YOU care enough to give God your very best?

Think on this, and keep the SON in your eyes!