BUY A TENT!

 

Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent.  Exodus 33:7 NIV

Moses did something we need to do: “Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent” (Ex 33:7 NIV). And what would happen in that tent? “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Ex 33: 11 NIV). Face time with God! That’s what you need. Turn off your mobile

phone. Sell your TV and buy a tent. God has your answer. And what did they talk about in that tent? Moses prayed: (a) “Let me know whom you will send with me” (Ex 33:12NIV). Some of the problems you’re experiencing m’e because of the people who are influencing you. (b) “Teach me your ways”

(Ex 33:13 NIV). You say your way of doing things doesn’t seem to be working too well. Get God’s input! (c) “So I may know you” (Ex 33:13 NIV). This word “know” is not a casual acquaintance; it’s intimacy between two people. How well do you know God? (d) “So I may … continue to find favor with you” (Ex 3:13 NIV). God’s favor-you’ve got to have it! It opens doors, gives you the advantage, and influences people before you speak a word. And what did God say back to Moses in that tent? “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name” (Ex 33: 17 NIV). How would you like to be on a first name basis with God? Buy a tent!



WHERE GOD GUIDES, HE PROVIDES!

A great door … has opened to me.     1 Corinthians 16:9 MV

Dr. David T. Demola says, “Where God guides, He provides.” If you’re doing all you know yet nothing’s happening, it could be that: (a) it’s your season for sowing, not reaping. So be patient; (b) you’re in a time of training and preparation. So learn each lesson well; (c) you could be off course, doing something God didn’t call you to do. So go back and check with Him. Moses told God: “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us” (Ex 33: 15 MV). If God’s not behind it, you don’t want to be involved in it. Humility demands that sometimes we stop and say-“Oops, that was me, not God.” Does this mean it’s always smooth sailing in God’s will? No. Even when God is in something you’ll still deal with delays, discouragement and setbacks. Paul wrote, “A great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me” (ICo 16:9 NIV). Opportunities and obstacles, they go together. What you don’t want to do, however, is allow it to become a self-esteem issue: “Does God love me? Has He really

called me? Am I in His will?” Jesus took His disciples on a trip that involved going through the worst storm of their lives. All you need to know is that He’s on board. Why? Because He’s promised to bless His plans, not yours. If God’s guiding, providing and blessing you in spite of the storm, rejoice. If He’s not, seek fresh direction. Ask Him what He wants you to do. God will bless you every time-when you’re doing what He’s told you to do.



JUST GLOVES

The Holy Spirit … will produce this kind of fruit in us.  -Galatians 5 :22 TLB

We just the glove. The Holy Spirit is the hand that fills it, empowers it and makes it function. Without Him, we’re sunk! The Christian life isn’t hard, it’s impossible- without God’s indwelling Spirit. “What will the Holy Spirit do for me?” you ask.

(1) Move you forward. “The earth was without form, and void … the spirit of God moved … and God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Ge 1 :2·3). The first thing God’s Spirit will do for you is move you out of darkness and into light [understanding]. You can’t be filled with God’s Spirit and stay

where you are; He’ll always move you forward.

(2) Comfort you. Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the “comforter” who would never leave us (See Jn 14:16). When you wake up anxious about your day He whispers, “Don’t worry, I’ve got everything under control.” When you feel like you can’t go on, He holds your hand, stays by your side, strengthens you and says “I’m right here with you.” The Greek word for comforter is paraklete, which means, “one who comes alongside to help.”

What a promise! You’re not in this fight alone-you’ve got God’s help. Use it!

(3) Protect you. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard

against him” (Isa 59: 19). When the enemy moves against you all you have to do is pray, “Holy Spirit, be my standard bearer and my defender.” Go ahead; try it. Those who did it in Bible days saw their foes scattered, took home the spoils of battle and enjoyed God’s richest blessings-and you will too!



DON’T GET HOOKED

Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.  -Luke 9:55

Face it; some people are unwilling to take responsibility for their lot in life, so they plough through .each day complaining about everything. And because they’re Incapable of loving themselves they can’t extend love to others. Often their negative edge just masks their real struggle. Deep down they’re afraid of being rejected, so they don’t get too close to anyone-except kindred spirits. So how should you respond to such people? Don’t get hooked! If you can’t lift them up, make sure they don’t drag you down. When Nehemiah’s enemies criticized the wall he was building he replied, “I am doing a great work! Why should I stop it to come and visit with you?” (Ne 6:3 TLB). And what was the result? “The wall was finally finished . . .just fifty-two days after we had begun! When our enemies heard about It, they were … humiliated, and they realized that the work had been done with the help of our God” (Ne 6: 15 TLB). Was It easy working around people like that? No. How did Nehemiah do it? When he started getting discouraged he prayed, “Lord God please strengthen me!” (Ne 6:8 TLB). Notice, he didn’t say, :’Lord, zap them.” Or, “Lord, make them. nice to me.” No, he asked for strength, maintained a good attitude and prayed that God would take care of his critics. And God did. Many of the people who aggravate you have no idea why-it’s just their nature. When Christ’s own disciples wanted to call down fire on the heads of those who wouldn’t accept their message, Jesus said, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.”



LOOKING FOR JESUS

Sir, we would see Jesus.  -John 12:21

One day some Greeks came to Philip saying, we would see Jesus.” And if you listen-that’s what around you are still saying today. You say, “Tell them to church and they’ll see Jesus.” Maybe, maybe not. Get some folks who fill a church pew every Sunday and you just might see the devil at work. One of America’s finest ministers was sitting on a plane one day reading his Bible. The lady in the next seat turned to him and asked, ”Are you a preacher?” He said, “Yes, Ma’ am.” Then she asked, “Do you believe in a real literal devil?” With a chuckle he replied, “Lady, have you ever been to an annual church business meeting?” You may smile, but if you’ve been in church a while you know he’s telling the truth.

Board member, people are looking for more than just a good budget, they want to see Jesus=-in you. Choir member, you may sing like an angel and bring the house down, but when your song ends people want to see Jesus=-in you. Pastor, you may be a skilled expositor and a gifted orator, but when the sermon’s over people want to see Jesus-in you. Sir, lady, when you get through telling the folks at work what you stand for, they want to see Jesus-in you. You don’t have to defend Him, just display Him through your attitudes and actions each day. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up … [I] will draw all men unto me”

(Jn 12:32). We do the lifting; Jesus does the drawing-that’s how it works!



THE POWER OF CRYING OUT (2)

In the day when I cried out, You answered me. Psalm 138:3 NKJV

Most of us find it humbling and difficult to cry out to God in times of trouble. Especially men! They refer to be known as the strong, rugged, self-sufficient types. They’d rather endure tenaciously and conclude with pride, “I did it.” Bill Gothard tells of several thousand men kneeling in a convention center in Knoxville, Tennessee, crying out in a loud voice, “Abba, Father, in the name of Jesus deliver me from anger and lust!” Some months later a man who had battled pornography for many years wrote to him saying: “I have long been held captive by lust. In the third grade I picked up what looked like a comic book. It was my first exposure to pornography. My young heart was captured. Lust nearly ruined my

marriage on numerous occasions. I wanted to be free from it and confessed it many times to God. I even sought help from Christian counselors. In May 2001 your message on crying out was given at our men’s meeting. For two more weeks I struggled with lust. Finally, on the way to work I stopped the car and cried out to God for deliverance. God was faithful, and the bondage has been broken.”

David said, “In the day when I cried out, you answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul,” If you’ve tried every way you know without success, why not try God’s way? Do what men and women have done throughout the Scriptures -get alone with God and cry out to Him. He’ll give you the strength to say “no” to your old ways.



THE POWER OF CRYING OUT (1)

 

In his book, The Power Of Crying Out, Bill Gothard writes: “The most significant difference between the prayers of God’s people in Scripture (so powerfully effective) and our prayers today (so seemingly ineffective) is this: there was a fervency in the prayers of biblical saints-a fervency that is inherent in crying out. When we grasp this fact, the pages of Scripture come alive with sound!” David said: “In my distress, I…cried unto my God: he heard my voice” (Ps 18:6). The Hebrew word that describes David’s outcry is shava, a higher pitched cry for help. Again the Psalmist says: “I called to you for help and you healed me” (Ps 30:2 NIV). We know from our own families that a true father’s heart hears his children’s cries, and that his children naturally cry to him. In the same way, crying out to God is our child-to-father impulse, planted within us by the Holy Spirit. “[Because we are His children],” Paul says, “[We] have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, ‘Abba, Father!” (Ro 8: 15). The Greek verb here for crying out is a strong word usually translated as “shouting.” Away with dignity and decorum! Desperate situations call for desperate measures. We must allow the Holy Spirit to cry out from within us. Why?

Because God hears and answers the cry He Himself inspires. Ever found yourself deliberately uppressing an urge to cry out to God? Could you be quenching the Spirit of God? If so, it’s time to make a change-to respond to Him in humility and obedience by “crying out.”



BE CAREFUL WHO YOU PICK

Don’t appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily.   I Timothy 5:22 TM

It’s dangerous to promote someone to church leadership simply because they’re successful in the secular arena. We must allow time for their character to be seen. If someone is unwilling to wait, or serve in a lower spot, they probably don’t have the maturity to handle a higher one. Leaders who in the  footsteps of the One who “made himself of no reputation” (Php 2:7). nail their ego to the cross and humbly serve where there’s a need. We are in a constant battle with “the spiritual forces of evil” (Eph 6:12 NIV). And how do they come in? Often on two feet, complete with resumes and talent. Paul warned Timothy, “Don’t appoint people to church leadership too hastily.” It’s a lot easier to get someone on to the board than it is to get them off it. Meanwhile God’s work can get hurt.

Philip went to Samaria to preach the whole city came to Christ. If ever a church needed leadership in a hurry, they did. And that’s when Simon the Sorcerer showed up. Talk about a successful career! ”All the people, both high and low, gave him their attention” (Ac 8:10 NIV). And that’s not all: “Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the … miracles he saw”

(Acts 8:13 NIV), But then the mask comes off and he offers Paul money saying, “Give me this power” (Ac 8:19 NkJV) Wow! The old power play! Peter replied, “May your money perish with you. . . your heart is not right before God. Repent” (Acts 8:20-22), And Simon did. Be careful who you pick!



TROPHIES OF GRACE

He must … go through Samaria. John 4:4

In spite of His overwhelming schedule Jesus walked miles out of His way to speak to a lonely woman at a well. He did what a lot of ministers today are unwilling to do. And you have to ask why. Didn’t Jesus have a secretary who said, “He’s

busy, I’ll try and fit you in next month.” Pastor, could your schedule be getting in the way of God’s? Maybe you’re a tiger in the pulpit but a wimp on the street. You can script it for the crowd but you haven’t learned to share it one-on-one. Come on, pastor; do you personally win souls or do you just talk about it?

Jesus not only walked to that well, He waited until she showed up. Who did He wait for? Some famous personality with all the right connections? A big donor with a big checkbook capable of underwriting His ministry? Most preachers would fly halfway around the world for that. But no, she was a no-name, five times divorced, promiscuous woman with a bad

reputation and a live-in boyfriend. Please understand: when others are looking at your past, Jesus has His eye on your

future. With Him every weed is a potential rose! Whatever syou’ve done, God’s not holding it against you. Jesus didn’t see this woman as bad-He saw her as lost. Big difference! Once she was “found” she was the kind of person who’d be as strong for God as she’d been for the devil. This woman was destined to shake up the entire city of Samaria: “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony” (In 4:39 NIV).



IT’S THE MESSAGE, NOT THE MESSENGER!

He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me. John 13:20

If you’re wise you’ll focus on the message, not the messenger. “But shouldn’t leaders set a good example; shouldn’t they be called to a higher standard?” Yes, those entrusted with great responsibility experience greater correction. But God does that-not you. Though King Saul repeatedly tried to kill David, David realized God had chosen Saul. When he’d a golden opportunity to take Saul’s life, David said, “The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed” (lSa 26:11). This may come as a shock-God has no perfect messengers. So He uses what He’s got. And many of them are still struggling in certain areas. They’re being developed even while they’re delivering the message God wants you to hear. A perfect word from imperfect lips-that’s how God does it. Samuel led Israel for 40 years. He even anointed David to be King, yet his own sons went astray. David, whom God called a man after His own heart, committed adultery and covered his tracks with murder. Yet the Bible says, “He … served the purpose of God in his own generation” (See Ac 13:36 NAS). Peter’s dark chapter of denial didn’t prevent him from winning multitudes to Christ. So, when a leader proves to be imperfect what should you do’? (a) Learn from his or her mistakes. (b) Pray for them. After all, if you can’t find mercy in the House of God where are you going to find it? (c) Keep listening to their message, for

Jesus said, “He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me” (Jn 13:20).




 

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