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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Do Whatever You Want

1 Corinthians 10:31: “Therefore, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

My brother Donnie has a saying which I have always admired: “People are going to do exactly what they want to do.” I agree with him 100%.

The President of the United States does exactly what he wants to do. While turmoil was brewing in all corners of the world, he played golf. As soon as he gave his speech regarding the be-heading of James Foley, he immediately returned to the golf course. He chose not to attend Foley’s funeral nor did he attend the funeral of the brigadier general who was killed in Afghanistan. He does exactly what he wants to do.

Church members do exactly what they want to do. If they want to come to church, they do. If they want to go to the lake or stay in bed all morning, they do. If they want to give their tithe to the Lord, they do. If they choose to spend their tithe on something else, they do. If they want to make a commitment to their church, through the good times and the bad times, they do. If they “feel led” to move their membership to another church , they do. If they want to live for Jesus from Monday to Saturday, they do. If they would rather live for themselves during the week, they do.

People do exactly what they want to do. I have made two observations in this regard. First, people do what glorifies them with little or no thought as to whether it glorifies God. The second observation is that people have a “herd mentality.” They will follow the crowd, even when the crowd is wrong. People are attracted to things which are new and exciting. They get bored or frustrated and need a new feeling of euphoria. Thus, they are drawn to new political candidates, new churches and new jobs. They will follow anyone who promises them something which thrills their senses. Sports fans will flock to new stadiums and new teams, but will stop attending when the new wears off. People do exactly what they want to do.

My boyhood pastor Benny Braddy used to say: “As a Christian, I do everything that I want to do.” But then, when he had gotten everyone’s attention, he quickly added, “But, as a Christian, my “want-to’s” have changed.” When we follow Jesus, we want what He wants, not what we want. Before you eat something, drink something, or do something, ask yourself the question, “Is this what Jesus wants?”

Have your “want-to’s changed?

Do whatever you want. You will anyway.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Flying Away With Jenny

Jenny prayed a simple prayer in the movie Forrest Gump: “Lord, make me a bird, so i can fly far, far away from here!’

Sometimes I want to fly away from here.Like the old gospel song, I long to fly away to ” a home on God’s celestial shore.” I don’t want to die, but I am just sick of this world.

What is it that has me so irritated? The beauty of God’s creation is all around me. Summer is my favorite season. I have enjoyed walks along the beach and views from atop mountains. I have spent time with the people that I love: my wife, kids, grand-kids, parents and grandmother. I have been inspired by God’s Word and beautiful music. Truthfully, I am quite blessed and have a wonderful life. So, what’s the problem?

First of all, social media is my problem. I am addicted to it. I can’t resist reading Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. When I look at these things, my blood pressure goes up. The posts that I read either entertain and inspire me, or they make me angry. I get pulled into “drama” and controversy. While social media is a great tool to testify about Jesus and to share the Good News, it is also a tool of the devil. I get lured into junk that I have no business getting into.

Second of all, the news is my problem. Everyday I read the USA Today, the AJC and Fox News on my tablet or laptop. I keep up with all of the current events: Obama and his golfing, the terrorists and their be-headings, the bombs flying over Israel and Gaza, Russia, China, the IRS, the NSA, the ACLU, the VA, the Democrats, the Republicans, the black men getting shot by white cops, gay marriages, pot smokers, kids dying in hot cars, the Braves stranding too many runners on base….UUUUGGGGHHHH!!! It’s a wonder that I have not ended up in a mental hospital! Rush may be right, but he gets on my last nerve!!

I have allowed people to get in the way of serving my God. When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. I am sinking spiritually because I have taken my eyes off of Jesus and have been looking at people. There will always be someone to annoy me and there will always be someone to disagree with me. And I probably annoy others as well. My devotion for the Lord is weak and I know it.

I eat too much and exercise too little. I eat too much junk food and drink too many sodas. It’s no wonder that my body is tired all of the time. I sleep restlessly because my body is talking to me. It is saying: “Hey stupid, I am the only body that you have. When are you going to take better care of me?” I am terrified at the thought of getting sick and yet I allow myself to think about it constantly.

Is anybody else feeling like me today? Does anybody else want to fly away with Jenny?

It may not be New Year’s Day, but I am making some new resolutions in order to maintain my sanity and usefulness to God.

1. I resolve to limit my social media participation to one hour per day. If I can’t “self monitor” my usage, then what’s the point?

2. I resolve to take a month sabbatical from reading the news. If Jesus raptures me out of here in the next month, then I will have missed nothing important anyway.

3. I resolve to focus my attention back on Jesus and off of people. This will be the hardest thing in the world to do. I will have to take deep breaths before I drive, eat out , shop or worship. It’s not about me, nor is it about them. It is all about Him.

4. I resolve to take better care of my body. Back to the gym. No more crappy food or sodas. No more snorting cocaine. ( I have never snorted cocaine; just checking to see if anyone actually reads this.)

5. I resolve to no longer curse an Upton brother.

Please pray for me. Although God has called me and anointed me to be a preacher and pastor, I struggle with life just like you do. If you want me to pray for you, please respond to this blog and I promise to lift you up to God.

May the good Lord help all of us in the here and now.

“Some glad morning, when this life is o’er…”

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

The World’s Way or God’s Way?

James 3:13-18: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy or self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

War in Afghanistan, war in Israel, and war in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. Divorces, domestic disputes, quarrels in the workplace and divisions in the churches. Why can’t people just get along and be at peace with one another?

The reason for conflict is that the world is living their way and not God’s way. The wisdom of the world is selfish. The wisdom of the world wants what belongs to someone else. The wisdom of the world is built upon the five senses and is controlled by evil forces from hell. The wisdom of the world produces evil: war, murder, divorce, thefts, violence, abuse, lying, boasting and hatred. This is the spirit which is operating in the halls of Congress, the Oval Office, the battlefields of the Middle East, the streets of Missouri, and the broken homes across our land.

The world would be a radically different place if mankind would do things according to God’s way, according to His wisdom. The spirit from heaven is reflected in good conduct, meekness, gentleness and humility before our fellow man. The man or woman with God’s wisdom yields to the good of others and seeks peace not conflict.

Are you a peace-maker or do you constantly start fights? Are you interested in the opinions and feelings of fellow human beings or is your way the only way which matters? The old preacher said it well: “This is a day of experts who have all the answers but who don’t know what the question is.”

The question is this: How do you live your life? To glorify YOU or to glorify GOD?

 

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Why Does God Not Heal Everyone?

Isaiah 53:5: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

In his book Lord, I Need a Miracle, evangelist Benny Hinn made the following comments about divine healing: “As a minister of the Gospel who takes God at His Word, I have spoken words of faith and healing hundreds of times. I believe it is not only God’s will for you to be healed, but it is His will that you live in health until He calls you home.”(p.63)
If Jesus provided healing through His suffering on the Cross, then why do His children get sick and die from diseases? Why would He heal one of His children and not heal them all?
Some would argue that healing is a matter of one’s faith (James 5:13-15) and that those who do not get healed simply lacked the faith which was necessary. When my previous spouse died from cancer, my former mother-in-law actually said that to me. I was livid with anger and wanted to cuss her out. Not enough faith you say? Well, I beg to differ!!
Just a few months before her death, a group of believing church members gathered around her in prayer. We had plenty of faith. We anointed her with oil and cried out to Jesus. She cried out to Jesus. Our seven-year old grandson begged the Lord aloud: “Lord, please don’t let my Nana die!” Why would God not answer the sweet, innocent prayer of a small child? My wife continued to be sick and died.
In my current ministry, I have preached the funerals of two godly deacons who loved Jesus. These were good men of faith and their families believed in the Lord. We prayed over these men and anointed them with oil. They and their loved ones prayed for healing but did not receive it. These men died from cancer.
Just this week, another wonderful man died from cancer. He had plenty of faith. In fact, he had more faith than anyone I have ever met. This fine fellow was mentally challenged, but had an incredible walk with Jesus. When I would visit him in the hospital, this gentleman ministered to me more than I ministered to him! And yet, in spite of his faith and love for God, I will assist in preaching his funeral tomorrow.
With all due respect to Brother Hinn (and thousands more like him) his theology is dead wrong. God does NOT heal everyone. And faith alone does not guarantee divine healing of the body.
What can we say then about God and this matter of sickness and death? Let me make several remarks.
1. God is good. He is perfect and never makes mistakes, nor does He lie.
2. God loves His children with a perfect, unconditional love. His love for us never ends.
3. God is capable of healing everyone but, for some reason, He does not. There is nothing lacking in His ability nor His willingness.
4. God does things that we do not understand.His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts. It is not possible to know everything concerning the will of God in this life.
5. God always does what is right and best for us, even though we may not understand it.
6. God has decreed that we will all die one day. We are all dying from a disease (sin) and there is nothing which will stop the process. Benny Hinn will die one day, unless the rapture takes place first. He is susceptible to sickness and disease just like everyone else, although I do not wish it upon him nor anyone else.
7. God has promised us eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Cancer is not the victor; Jesus is. The grave is not the victor; Jesus is. And God’s children are more than conquerors through Him.
8. God can be trusted.
From personal experience, I can testify that my life is richer, fuller and better than it was prior to my previous wife’s death. I have a new, amazing wife, a new earthly family, a new church ministry, and a new walk with God. While the pain of death was severe, I have been emotionally and spiritually HEALED through the grace of my loving Lord. My previous wife and friends have been ushered into the presence of a holy God!!! They will receive an eternal inheritance with brand new, disease-free, death-free bodies! Hallelujah!
You see, God works all things out for the good. (Romans 8:28) Why does God not heal everyone? Simply put, He has a better plan. It may not be OUR plan, but it is His plan. His plan is perfect.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer