Monday, November 19, 2018

How To Deal With Disappointment

Have you ever really wanted something, but you were denied that something? We all have and probably will.  The question is – “How will you handle disappointments?” Will you be sad – angry – bitter – resentful? I imagine all of us have felt those feelings at some point in our lives because what we wanted to happen didn’t.  Maybe our fault or maybe the fault of someone else or maybe no one’s fault or sometimes God intervenes and says “no” or “not now”. I have been dealt many disappointments in my life and have felt those feeling I listed.  And this thing I have learned.  How I respond to life – no matter what form it comes in – depends upon my spiritual condition – not my determination to do right.  

By the way,  … I am addressing the new nature, Christian, you  - not the old nature, worldly, you. 

I think it is safe to say that many if not most Christians don’t take their faith seriously when it comes to day to day living.  Their faith is reserved for the crisis events of life.  When they are in a “jam” physically, financially, or relationally.  The rest of the time – the majority of the time they are living on the energy of their old nature.  The Apostle Paul wrote this (Philippians 4:11-13) “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him [Jesus] who gives me strength.

You think you are not like Paul, the super saint? I beg to differ with you!  You are exactly like Paul – at least potentially.  Born a sinner – saved from Sin – Sealed by the Spirit. Now where we do often differ from Paul is that we are not totally committed to following Jesus and fully trusting in God. Paul had plenty of reasons to be resentful – bitter – hurt because of the way he was treated.  To overcome disappointments you don’t have to be Paul – just look to Jesus like he did.  The other day I whacked my left forefinger with a hammer – not on purpose.  It really hurt – but there was a job to do.  I didn’t quit – I pressed on with the work.  The reason I remember I hurt my finger then is because the nail is black and blue now – as a reminder.  

When you are hurt by disappointment – you should acknowledge it – you will probably be reminded of it – but you should also respond to it in the context of who you are in Christ.  Remember what your priorities are, or should be, in this life.  I am often reminded of scripture when I face adversity of any kind.  As a result – my response to disappointment has softened. Jesus said (John 16:33) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Don’t let the disappointments that will certainly come your way discourage you. Take them in stride and trust Jesus.  

What does God expect of you – Christian? (Micah 6:8) “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” And your old nature is not going to help you do that. CHARLEY 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Don’t Beat The Donkey - When Your Plan Doesn’t Seem To Be Working Out

Martie and I are taking some time away from rebuilding homes in Houston so I can write a book.  Something that we are confident that God, wants me to do.  Sorry if that sounds outrageous to believe that the God of the universe wants me to write a book – frankly I am as surprised as you are. At any rate – we have – err had – a plan.  We were going to drive to stay with friends on the coast of Northern California starting the first of November – this is the 17th. But, we are committed to finishing what we started here in Houston, so when we encountered delays in finishing the current house – our book-writing schedule slipped.  We were supposed to leave this week – we did not pass the city inspections for the work we paid to have done by licensed contractors.  The contractors all said – they had never had these specific problems before. Now it is Thanksgiving week.  The chances of getting the final inspections finished next week are remote – out of reach.  Our plan is falling apart! 

What should you do when your plans don’t work out like … well, you planned.  You want to follow the Lord’s leading.  You think you are following the Lord’s leading. But – then – the plan starts to fall apart.  I wrote about King Saul yesterday – 1 Samuel 17.  He chose to take matters into his own hands – forget God, Saul could make it happen on his own.  That is a slippery slope.  When we were in Haiti, I led a mini church service one night – it was called “Church on the beach”, although this time we were meeting in a house that was not on the beach.  At any rate, there were a number of people from the U.S. serving in various capacities in Jacmel, Haiti who got together each week.  Very often they talked about how difficult life was for them.  I shared the importance of walking by faith – by the Spirit of God and not on your own power.  In fact – I told them that if they had come to Haiti and God had not called them to be there – they should go home.  Serving in Haiti was just too difficult to do what they were doing on their own – in the name of Jesus.  Let me say – that is not what they wanted to hear. 

(Proverbs 16:9)Men make plans in their hearts, but God orders their steps.”  God is sovereign.  Even when things don’t go the way you planned.  Are you willing to rest in that?  You should not do something in the name of Jesus if Jesus is not in the game.  If you are acting alone – trying to do something apart from God for the glory of God.  (Acts 19:13-17) “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.” 

Don’t lose sight of the fact that, as a born again Believer, you are spiritual and able because of Jesus.  When things don’t seem to be going your way – don’t push it – don’t try to make it happen.

So what to do.  Did we miss something?  Is God trying to tell us something? Martie and I have been praying about this.  I have been resisting the temptation to act on my own - although I must admit, I have considered it. I was reminded of Balaam and his donkey. Balaam was going where he should not.  His donkey refused to go, so Balaam was beating the donkey.   (Numbers 22:31-34) “ Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.” Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”” 

We are stepping back.  We are willing to not go to California. Especially if we are going to miss God’s will if we do it on our own.  I will still write the book – I just don’t know where.  Perhaps right here in our travel trailer.  But this I do know – I need to trust God and not myself.  How about you?  CHARLEY  

Friday, November 16, 2018

Speaking When The Spirit Gives Opportunity – You Don’t Choose The Time Or The Place

You never know when God will bring someone across your path that needs a word of encouragement.  Yesterday we went to dinner with a friend.  The waitress was very attentive and friendly.  She commented on my sense of humor – which can have its plusses and minuses at times – but she seemed to appreciate it. It was then that she started talking about serving others – outside of the restaurant – and very often people did not seem to appreciate or value her efforts.  That sometimes people who serve need to be served themselves – but other people assume, since they serve, they don’t need help – encouragement – or even a word of gratitude.

Sound like a strange conversation to be having with a waitress?  Actually it was a revealing conversation with a young woman who happened to be a waitress.  I suspected that she was a believer and was interested to know so I asked her a question.  “Are you familiar with the story about Jesus and the lepers?”  (Luke 17:11-19) She said “Yes.” So I asked “How many of the 10 came back and thanked Jesus for his healing?”  She said “One.” Ok – now I knew that she was a student of the Word. That changed the whole context and direction of the conversation.  I couldspeak spiritual truth to her.

That opened the door for her to share about how she has drifted away from her faith and doesn’t read the Bible as much as she used to.  That discussion is a long way away from “What kind of dressing would you like on your salad?” I told her that we should not expect gratitude as the reward for our service to others.  If you use the example of the lepers – that will only happen 10% of the time.  So if gratitude is the reason you do for others – you won’t be “doing” for long.  

I asked he if she uses the internet – like duh! She is a millennial! Of course she does, so I gave her the web address to my BLOG and encouraged her to go there to be encouraged in the Faith.  

The point is that you never know when the Lord will bring someone across your path.  You will miss it if you are not ready for it.  Driving home, Martie commented that the Lord had orchestrated her serving us.  I believe that.  Are you ready to speak hope and encouragement into someone’s life? Do you think about where you are before you speak or do you keep in mind Whose you are when you speak? An Ambassador for Christ (1 Peter 3:15).  A witness (Acts 1:8).  A minister. (The I didn’t go to seminary type of minister) (2 Corinthians 5:18) Someone on a mission.  – Yes that would be you!  CHARLEY  

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Waiting On God Requires Faith. Waiting Is Not Easy But It Is Absolutely Necessary

(1 Samuel 13:7-14) “[King] Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering.  Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash,  I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”” 

Martie and I are about to start a respite – a sabbatical for a couple months.  We cannot start until we have finished the home we are working on.  The mission that God has given us.  At the moment, we are waiting for the final inspections to be completed.  There have been delays.  The date that I had planned to leave by has come and gone.  In the meantime, I have been trying to figure out a way that we might do both.  Oversee the inspections and leave for the time away.  Seemed reasonable. That is until the Lord brought the verses in 1 Samuel to my mind! 

The prophet Samuel had told King Saul what the Lord had said.  But Saul became impatient.  The time that Samuel was to return had come and gone.  His soldiers were getting restless. Things were not going the way that Saul had envisioned.  He had to do something.  So he did and suffered the consequences.  I once heard a comparison between King Saul and King David. Saul loved God with a half heart and David loved God with his whole heart. 

Saul had a half-hearted faith.  He would trust God some of the time – those times when things went Saul’s way.  But for the other times – he would trust himself.  That is where I found myself.  Things were not going my way so I had to do something.  Dr. Henry Blackaby said “You have heard the saying – “Don’t just stand there – do something”.  But God says “Don’t just do something – stand there.””  Trust God.  I am certain of what God wants me to do – but I must be willing to wait on Him. 

I suspect that many of you reading this, struggle with the same temptation.  Saul’s men were starting to scatter. How could he expect to prevail if his men scattered.  He did not remember Gideon who prevailed with 300 men 100 years before him.  He did not remember David standing before Goliath as Saul’s men quaked in fear.  We often think that we must do something or the outcome will not go our way.  We trust in what we see and not in God who we cannot see. That is because we have lost our spiritual vision. We love God half-heartedly.

Perhaps there is something going on in your life right now.  Something that you are unwilling to trust God for.  Something that God started but you feel compelled to finish and not wait on Him.  It takes faith in God to wait on God.  Just as I asked the Lord to strengthen my faith – I realize that He is using this very issue to do that very thing.   CHARLEY  

Monday, November 12, 2018

Sometimes – Things Are Not What They Look Like

This past Sunday I listened to a sermon given by a young (20-something) youth pastor.  He is a great communicator and expositor of the Truth and Way and Life.  The focus of his sermon was as my title suggests – things are not always what they look like. His text was from 2 Kings 6:15-17  When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

This same servant had been with Elisha and observed how God used him.  But this was a little closer to home.  There was no way, that he could see, that they would survive this. Have you ever been there?  Your circumstance was so difficult that you could see no way that anything good could come from it.  Anything good, in this case, was what you had decided was what should happen. Stress, worry, fear set in.  A sense of hopelessness and dread.  The point of this scripture is that God had already showed up.  He is sovereign. The servant could not see what Elisha saw because the servant was focused on his circumstances.  Listen – if you are standing in the road and a truck is coming – you don’t just stand there – you get out of the road – God gave you the sense to do that – but when life overwhelms you – tragedy strikes – you may have your heart broken – your life savings lost – your home destroyed in a disaster – whatever – remember that God has not forsaken you.  He is already in the midst of all of that.  

(Isaiah 35:4) “say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you.” 

You have been saved supernaturally – not so that what you experience in the natural will only be good – but more – that you can endure whatever happens in the natural – knowing that your hope in is the Lord and your confidence and joy is not dependent upon your circumstances and predicaments. 

(Proverbs 18:10) “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are safe.”

Remember that and rest in it the next time you think your circumstances have you surrounded. CHARLEY

Friday, November 9, 2018

Understanding Biblical Authority In The Family

Ok .. this will be fun!  This morning I want to address the issue of Biblical authority in the family.  But from a different slant.  Authority and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.  They go together.  If you try to disconnect them – things don’t go well.  I suspect that when most people read Ephesians 5:23 – “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Savior of the body.” The thought is about being the boss.  Remember that the Bible has both practical and spiritual application.  The Father is the head of Christ – Christ is the head of the Church – the husband is the head of the wife (family).  The husband is responsible for the family – he is the “responsible” source of provision for the family – just like the Father and the Son.  

It is possible to delegate authority – but you cannot delegate responsibility.  In a practical sense – a wife may work as well to provide money for living expenses – but the husband is still responsible for providing for the family.  When that doesn’t happen.  When the husband does not accept the responsibility – the family does not function as it should. Remember – this idea has spiritual roots.  It’s God’s design.  Man has a penchant for doing this his own way – and the consequences are not good. Do you see why it is important for the woman to marry a  Christian man?  Someone who is not is incapable of fulfilling God’s purpose and design.  That is not to say that even a Christian will not reject the responsibility God has ordained for the husband. That is what we call “sin”. 

So what about authority?  Simply - authority is the power to carry out your responsibilities.  Often times, men will want to exercise their authority without accepting the responsibility.  King of the house – if you will.  That is exactly what most women fear.  Verse 22 says “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the LORD.”  Jesus is trustworthy.  You are not afraid that He will abuse His authority or shirk His responsibility.  Now when it comes to mortal man – not so much.  Verse 22 says that wives must acknowledge the responsibility and authority – given by God to the husband.  The trouble comes when the husband does not fulfill his role.

What is his role?  Read verse 25. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” Oh – so the husband is to be like Christ.  If the husband is not a Christian then he cannot fulfill this command – impossible. If the husband is a nominal Christian – living in the flesh – then he very likely won’t fulfill the command.  Just like he is not fulfilling the others.  And by the way, while most of the focus tends to be toward the husband – the same can be said for the unsaved or spiritually errant wife.  It takes the power of God to fulfill the commands of God.  If one or both are not walking by the Spirit – they cannot fulfill these Biblical mandates. Amos 3:3 asks the question “How can two walk together unless they be agreed?” 

Something to think about. CHARLEY  

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Who Decides What Is Right And What Is Wrong

Let me first say that my BLOG is for the purpose of glorifying God and encouraging the Church to walk by faith.  I will not espouse political views – conservative or liberal – Republican or Democrat or some other party.  I will address Biblical principals and, hopefully, help you see your life and culture in the context of God’s plan and design.

With that said – what I want to address today is how we go about determining what is right and what is wrong.  It is really quite simple.  The Bible provides the answers to life and the Spirit impresses them upon us and helps us understand them.  We make the choice to obey.  When there is a conflict between what we want and what God says is right, well … that is what we struggle with.  

In the Old Testament, there was a pattern among the generations in the nation of Israel.  There was a generation that knew God, a generation that knew about God, and a generation that did not know God.  I am reminded of a song that goes “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.  Prone to leave the God I love.”  Man’s tendency is to distance himself from God and what is right, to embrace the desires of the flesh.

So that is at the individual level.  What do you do when your culture, your government passes a law that conflicts with the Bible?  As a Christian your first obligation is to God (Matthew 22:37-39).  You are to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”  (Mark 12:17)  But does that mean – even it means to do what is clearly contrary to the Bible?  The answer is “no”.  Does that mean you will escape the consequence for not obeying the laws of man?  No.  It means that we are willing to accept the consequence in favor of obedience to God.

In the military there is something called an “Unlawful Order”.  It is an order that is in direct violation of the Constitution and the  Uniform Code of Military Justice – put simply – military laws.  An order which is unlawful not only does not need to be obeyed but obeying such an order can result in criminal prosecution of the one who obeys it. Military courts have long held that military members are accountable for their actions even while following orders -- if the order was illegal.

A law that says that something can or can’t be done that is contrary to the clear revelation of God to man – the Bible – is unlawful from God’s perspective.  A Christian should not comply with it.  Even if non-compliance means there will be negative consequences for the Christian.  In the context of our culture in the United States – the easy thing to do is just say or do nothing – to go along and get along.  That will be to our shame when we stand before our Lord.  Watching the news om the aftermath of the elections, one man said essentially that he was glad that liberals were elected because it would be easier to do what the Bible says don’t do and what he wants to do.  (my phrasing – not his)

Each of us must examine our hearts and where its devotion lies.  If you are born again – you know what is lawful – right from God’s perspective – and what is wrong.  You should not condone or encourage what is wrong.  Silence is agreement.  We are supposed to be salt and light in the world.  

(Matthew 5:13-16) “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Be the Salt – Be the Light   CHARLEY