Friday, October 12, 2012

#248 - The Christian or The Government?

Question: Whatever you are doing, whatever you are pursuing in your life right now, if you could ENSURE the Lord would bless & prosper it, would you want to know how? 

Question: If you could have your business blessed, would you want to know how to ENSURE the blessing of the Lord? 

Question: If you could have your finances blessed, would you want to know how to ENSURE the blessing of the Lord in this area?

Question: What about your relationships, would you want to know how to ENSURE the blessing of the Lord in this area? What about the dreams you have of being a successful writer? A cook? A teacher? A model? A realtor? An entrepreneur? Would you like to know how to ENSURE the blessing of the LORD on whatever it is that you are pursuing? Then today, this devotion, is for you!!  

Let's begin...

Deuteronomy 15:7-10 - If there is among you a poor man, one of your kinsmen in any of the towns of your land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not harden your [minds and] hearts or close your hands to your poor brother; But you shall open your hands wide to him and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.....10 You shall give to him freely without begrudging it; because of this the Lord will bless you in all your work and in all you undertake.
Proverbs 22:9 (NIV) - The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. 
Proverbs 31:20 - She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit]. 
James 1:27 - External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.  
Have you ever heard it said, 'The two things that you should not talk about with people are this: Religion & Politics?' In all actuality, those are the two most important topics. Today's post is not about whether you are democrat or republican, but today's post is about what YOUR RESPONSIBILITY is as a Christian, as the church, as the Body of Christ. Today is about you! Today is about stacking the cards in YOUR FAVOR to accomplish your goals & dreams. Today is about getting the WORD of God & God Himself working on your behalf!

This message is unsung! I've never really heard ministers talk much about it. I've never heard anyone emphasize it's importance. As Tyler & I sat this morning, drinking our coffee & having our respectable quiet times, he continued to interrupt my time with a statement like this, "Ooooh, this is good." Now, what do you say to that? :) "No Tyler, keep it to yourself, I don't want to know what is so good over there!" No, I definitely welcomed him to share, and he did. Then a minute later, "Oooooh, this is good." - "Alright, come on. Bring it," was my response.  So, he proceeded to share verse after verse after verse. And.... oooooh, it was good! I wasn't planning on writing a blog post this morning, but this was all just too good!

Whose responsibility is it anyways? With politics, debates, bumper stickers.... all in full swing shouting for one political candidate or another, where does the Lord fit into all of this? As believers, if we all have the same Bible, the same God, the same Holy Spirit, shouldn't our views be the same? Because my God, is the SAME God as the Baptist or Methodist down the road. Right? We serve the SAME God. So, I return to the question, "Whose responsibility is it anyways?" Is it the responsibility of the government to help the widow? Is it the responsibility of the government to help the poor? Is it the responsibility of the government to help the orphans? No, it is the responsibility of the Believer. It is the responsibility of the church. It is the responsibility of the Body of Christ.

Wait! Don't turn me off! Keep reading.... if you, like me, are thinking, "Oh great... one more responsibility to pile on my plate." And literally, it's like you are beginning to turn the nob to "off." Just wait... THERE IS SOMETHING IN IT FOR YOU!!!

WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME? So... what IS in it for you? Why should I be excited about yet ANOTHER responsibility? I know, you are a busy mom. Maybe a single mom, going to school, working full time, making dinner, doing laundry, and still trying to spend quality time with your kids... I get it! I get it! WHY should we be excited about this word, that in our busy lives, sometimes seems like a dirty word because we don't want any more of it.... you may have even said this, "If only I could go back to being a kid, being in elementary school when I had NO responsibilities!" I have definitely said that comment before. :)

OK... let's get into the GOOD news! WHAT IS IN IT FOR YOU?

When you give to the poor, when you give to the needy, when you, the believer, give to the orphans, THIS is what happens:  
THE LORD WILL BLESS YOU in ALL your work and in ALL you undertake.
Hey guys! I'm not making this up! I didn't come up with that statement! It came straight from the Bible.
And....we're not talking about greed here. We're not talking about being "greedy" because you are doing the right thing. It's OK to be excited about GOD HIMSELF blessing ALL of your work & ALL you undertake! It's OK to be excited about that. You SHOULD BE!

Look at the string of events...
  • A. You Bless the poor or needy by giving them some money... maybe helping with some monthly bills... a house payment, a car payment... maybe buying some Christmas presents for their children...
  • B. You are a teacher, not making a ton of money to pay your own bills.... but wouldn't you know it, THE LORD lays it on the heart of the administrator at your school, they take notice of you & what a great job you are doing and Whaaa-Laaaaa.... you get a raise at your job! You receive INCREASE! 
  • C. With your INCREASE, not only do you tithe off of it (give the top 10%)... but you also decide to sow some MORE money into the Kingdom of God... maybe a ministry that is having a great harvest in seeing people saved. 
Do you think GOD is OK with you being EXCITED about your INCREASE? I would say a hearty, ABSOLUTELY! :) 

As a Believer, as a Christian, it is OUR responsibility to help the poor. It is not the governments responsibility to raise taxes, implement more policies to get more of our money to put it towards this or that. It is the Christians responsibility to help the poor. The guy standing on the side of the road with a sign, it's your responsibility to help him. It's my responsibility to help him. Sure, we can't determine... is he just a "con-man." Once that money is out of our hands, we can just commit it to God. God, I did my part. I saw someone in need, and I gave. 

What's good for you? Check this out, Deuteronomy 15:11 says, "For the poor will never cease out of the land." The poor will always be here. What does that mean to you? According to the Word of God, there will NEVER be any shortage of blessings available to you. Do you need to be blessed? Do you want God to help in the current thing you are undertaking? Give. Reach into your wallet, roll down your window, the guy holding the cardboard sign... yah, him... today, choose to give. Or like my dad did... take him into McDonald's, buy his lunch. When you do that, when you GIVE, you put into affect this principle! You put into affect, GOD blessing YOU in all you do! And God's Word works, it does not return void!

What about the church? What about America? It's not the governments responsibility... but so many Christians aren't doing their part. Well then, let it start with you! Let it start with you. Remember & get excited about this....
THE LORD WILL BLESS YOU in ALL your work and in ALL you undertake.
Then, if you have a need in your life, put God in REMEMBRANCE of His Word! "Lord, I gave!" Stand by and watch Him work on your behalf!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Getting YOUR Prayers Answered!

Psalms 37:4 - Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.
Isaiah 43:26, 62:6 - Put Me in remembrance [remind Me of your merits]; let us plead and argue together. Set forth your case, that you may be justified (proved right)... you who [are His servants and by your prayers] put the Lord in remembrance [of His promises], keep not silence...
Isaiah 55:11 - So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. 
As I sat this morning as I began my Quiet Time with the Lord, I just wanted to hear what was on "His" mind. I don't do this all the time.... but have you ever thought, "Lord, what are you thinking this morning? What's going on with you?" :) Not like He doesn't have the WHOLE world praying to Him... and it's "awake-time" somewhere in the world all the time! Well... this morning was one of those mornings where I was curious. :)

In the still, quiet moments, sitting on my couch with my coffee, Pandora worship music streaming from our 'smart TV' in the background... I just sat & listened.
... I am here to accomplish My Word! ... Most do not pray My Word so these promises are not working for them.  
I took a few moments and decided to look up the word petition. Petition. According to the dictionary, it calls petition a formally drawn request , a request made for something desired, especially a respectful or humble request, as to a superior or one in authority. Petitions are most often known for being made in a court of law. A formal, drawn up petition/request. If you take a moment to think about a "petition" in a court of law, if you are like me, you would maybe think of something like this: 

  • Something that has been researched & drawn up.
  • Something bulleted or numbered off so that I can prove my point accurately and thoroughly. 
  • Something that I can include examples or stories with in order to further bring home my point. 
If I were petitioning for something in a court of law, I would MOST DEFINITELY have my ducks in a row so that the judge would see that I am serious. If I really wanted to win, I would walk in there with my stuff together, if you know what I mean, right? Wouldn't you? 

So, why don't we do the same thing with God...when it comes to our life? Our dreams? Our goals? The desires of our hearts? 

Isaiah 55:11 reminds us to put GOD in remembrance of HIS Word! To remind Him WHAT He has said, WHAT His promises are in His Word. He said Himself that the Word was put in place to ACCOMPLISH that which it was made to accomplish. So, with your dreams & goals, your wants & desires.... DO SOME HOMEWORK! 

If you were going to PETITION in a Court of Law, you wouldn't walk in there with NOTHING! Right?! You would have your stuff together, you would probably be in your nicest, most professional business suit. You would have your legal pad. You would have your evidence. You would have the facts. You would have it all! And, it should be the same when you come to God in prayer to petition a request. God has placed His Word here for us to USE IT to get what we want. Let me give you a few examples. 

Tyler & I, for our last two vehicles were believing God for them. Our first one was in 2009, we had believed for a Nissan Murano, and the 2nd one was earlier this year, we were believing for a Honda Odyssey. We found exactly what we wanted, we SOWED a financial seed for them, and we DAILY thanked God for them. We also put God in REMEMBRANCE of His Word. 

"Thank you Lord that according to Deuteronomy 6:11, you tell us we are to RIDE PROSPEROUSLY. We thank you Lord for our Honda Odyssey. We thank you for our swagger wagon, leather seats, a built in DVD player & Navigation would be really nice, but I could do without it."
Well... guess what we got? God outdid Himself! We got BETTER than what we were believing for! We got a 2012 Honda Odyssey Touring ELITE. Fully loaded. Heated seats. Tinted windows all the way around. A 16 INCH DVD player. 8 passenger. A built in COOL BOX to keep drinks cold. Several other extras ...and it DID have Navigation! :) I waffled on what color I wanted.... and was not specific on that. I kinda wanted dark grey, but never got real specific. We got a white one that Tyler drove right off the show room floor! :) Which... I never knew this, but driving a vehicle off the show room floor was always a secret petition he had. 

But the point.... we did our homework. We test drove it. We got pictures of it. We sowed financial seed for it. We found scripture, GOD'S WORD, to back up what we were believing for... then we put GOD in remembrance of HIS Word. And do you know what, His Word works every time! If you don't believe me, check out what HE says about it!! "My word (THE BIBLE/SCRIPTURE) be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."

Do your homework. Send forth God's Word. Make your petition known to God, but have your homework to back it. Have "proof for your case." Pictures, Scripture, Seed sown towards your dream, goal or need. Present it to God and then STAND YOUR GROUND! Continue to THANK HIM for the desired result you are waiting on. You get serious about your dreams and goals, and God will help them come to pass! :) 

And friend.... Do not grow weary in well doing, because in due season you WILL reap if you faint not. Stand your ground until your petition comes to pass. We have proof sitting in our driveway. It does work.... and if it worked for us, it will work for you!

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