Know The Gospel of Jesus Christ

1-john-4_1I grew up in the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church – 4th Ward, Houston, TX.  My pastor was Rev. C.W. Kimble Sr.  and my Sunday school teachers were some of the most knowledgable women about the Bible you could ever imagine! (my favorite was M. E. Prescott)  As I was growing up, I was taught that a preacher had “preached” when he had aroused our emotions AND said something that caused real life change/impact. We should not be bored to sleep, nor should we walk away without a changed hearts.  ‭‭Our Sunday school teachers told us that you could judge a sermon by whether or not a preacher made it plain to you that He knew that Jesus was The Christ; AND if he presented in a way that you could not help but confess it too.

Recently I was watching Christian television with my mother – now that she is older, she loves listening to church services.  I was amazed at the number of preachers & pastors &ministers on that television from around the world that preached a gospel of man. Do you know what I mean?

A gospel of man is one that says that God favors us in such a way that nothing will ever go wrong or be difficult in our lives. Really? I was called to missionary living – my colleagues and I cannot embrace that one. A gospel of man is one that says that if you don’t have an over abundance of cash, you just aren’t trusting God enough. Really? I served God in rural West Africa and some of the most devout and committed Christ followers I know have just a bit more than nothing!

These are just two – but there are many other crazy teachings out there that don’t highlight God’s desire that we be committed completely to Him; that our lives reflect His love for all people; that our hearts have concern and care for the poor. There are many who preach that the word prophet means future teller and not justice enforcer.

I’m grateful that I grew up with a Bible teaching pastor; am currently under the shepherding of a Bible teaching pastor, and that I’ve had Bible teachers all along the way!  Grateful!!

My friend, I want to assure you that the Almighty God did not create you for your own benefit and your own prosperity. I can assure you that He did not send His Holy Spirit to live in you in order for you to be able to see the future or in order that you will never ever have any difficulty in life. I can assure you that He did not send His only son in order that you could “have thine own way”!

Watch what you’re listening to. Every one that cries Lord, Lord – is not a mouthpiece of our Jehovah.

1 John‬ ‭4:1‬ My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.

No Compromising

No-Compromise1 Kings 20:42 “He said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people”

God gave Israel victory and according to God’s law the enemy should have been destroyed – in allowing the king to live, Israel sinned against God.

Sometimes the things that God asks us to do are hard things.  They are hard because we view them through a human lens and want to judge the actions based upon human logic.  If the Lord tells us to slay a giant – we feel that this act would be inhumane – and we would, instead, want to imprison the giant.  This is a truth across our lives and is truly a test of our heart’s devotion to God.  When we face an issue, are we really willing to do whatever it is God demands of us?  We want Him to assure our victory, but are we really willing to do whatever he demands?  I am reminded of the scripture that tells us that those who love him and would follow him would ‘hate’ father, mother, sister, brother, etc.  There are times in our lives when God may ask us to cut off relationships, confront sin, admonish the unfaithful and even harder tasks.  He assures our victory if we would only obey his word without compromise.  But our hearts and minds must be truly girded up with the full armor of God if we are to be able to stand.  It is important that we remember at all times that our lives are hidden in – wrapped up in — lost in the person of Jesus Christ.  If we take thought of our own desires or even the unpleasant nature of a request posed to us by the Father we are living with our minds on things of this earth.  As we set our minds on God’s will and God’s way – it is imperative that we really believe that without obedience victory will not come.   We must live our lives in the name of and for the sake of our King.  No compromise!  It is good to extend mercy – but not if God speaks against it.  It is good to be gracious to our enemies – but not if God speaks against it.  We must be prayerful – listening – trusting.

Father,  As you lead me and guide me, may my heart be malleable, open and ready to receive your instruction.  Help me to lean only on your understanding and not be tempted to bring to mind what I believe and know in the flesh.  Father help me to obey completely at all times and in all situations.  Help me to fight the fear of this world and this age and to embrace Your approval only.  May my heart seek to obey, love and trust you with all that is within me.  When you tell me to rout the enemy, please give me the courage to do so.  When you tell me to extend mercy, please give me the wisdom to do so. Lead me and guide me.  I will follow.  Amen

It Remains to be Seen

ImageThis is the title of an old Mississippi Mass Choir song from a while back – the lyrics encourage us to remember that what God will do for a person who submits to His will remains to be seen.  Lately, I have been laying out a lot of requests before the Lord – nothing flighty or selfish – but still, there have been many things placed before the Lord.  There have been times that I was tempted to just remain a faithful Christian, but somehow get out of this missionary calling – you know – so I can get some things done!  (hope you didn’t miss that big “I” in there!)  Instead of quick answers to my requests it seems that disappointment looms for a while longer than I desire.  I need Him to move my His Spirit on my behalf today!  Doesn’t He see that!  And in response to my whining – do you know what He asks me?  He asks me, “Jan, do you love me?” and of course I say yes.  And then do you know what He says to me?  He says, “Then love me well, do what I am asking you to do and trust that I know what you need.”

So, I turn to the Bible and ask him to calm my spirit and the words that leap off of the page say that indeed no one has seen or even heard of the good things He has in store for those that love Him.  Further, I turn and find that those who love Him will walk in His way.  And I know in my heart of hearts that His way for me for this season is a life on the mission field in Ghana.  He can and will meet my need and He doesn’t need me to relocate or abandon my calling to do it.  He really does have my best interests at heart and He really does delight in meeting the needs of His obedient (though sometimes impatient) children.

I trust Him to meet my need in ways that I cannot imagine or even dream!  He will do exceeding abundantly more than I could even reason to ask!  Yes He Will – for He is not a man that He should lie to me!  He is a faithful God!

So as I lay before the Lord many needs – no folly – real need – I am learning once again today to rest because as the lyrics to the song say:

The safest place in the whole, wide world is in the will of God, trials come great and small just stay in the will of God; come what may from day to day, keep the faith and be still.

It remains to be seen what God can do for the one who submits to His will.