O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”. 

1 Timothy 6:20 | NASB

Chatter.  It seems clear that the church in Ephesus had many problems, but one in particular that Paul was instructing Timothy to avoid was arguing about the truth verses a lie.  (There was fake news even back in the days of the bible.) 
Notice Paul says “guard what has been entrusted to you”.  There’s two things come to mind when I look at this scripture. 

1.) Guard the people at the church of Ephesus: 
Timothy is their pastor, it’s his duty to guard the sheep against the attacks  from worldly wolves. 

2.) Guard the truth.
Protecting godly people comes at a price–guarding the truth, which keeps them safe. 
Timothy was a young pastor with His hands full.  Paul gives sound advise on how to deal with rich people and their money, rumor mills, end-time scoffers, and now worldly chatterers.

When you hide God’s word in your heart, you become bearers of truth.   All false arguments and knowledge are quickly put to rest when light pierces through darkness.  

When empty chatter and useless arguments arise, bring truth to the situation. 
Don’t argue, don’t confront, don’t conform.  Change fragile minds with truth of the Light. 

Greater Grace

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  

James 4:6 | NASB

There is a greater grace given. 
The credit, concession, blessing, and favor that’s awarded to us by God, comes through humility of heart.  James makes clear speech in saying that God opposes the proud.  The Greek word used for “oppose” literally means “to stand against in battle”
A greater grace is better than standing behind enemy lines.  But the greater grace all the more, is dissolving the enemy lines in your heart.  That’s where the war begins. 

If you remove the battle banner of pride and self, then it will be a quick victory.  Waving the white flag of surrender brings humility and a need to rely on God’s strength and favor.  There are others watching and waiting for you to lead by this example. 
Be the man or woman of God that you have been called to be. 
Lower the flag of self and allow God to raise His banner over you. 
The greater grace is yours. 

Conformed Transformed Will

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.        Romans 12:2 NASB

Three important words stand out and beg to be discovered this morning.  Conformed, transformed, and will.  Let’s take a quick look.

Conformed in the Greek is the word we derive schematics from.  It translates into assuming a certain form.  Being pressed into a mold and filtered through the world’s strainer causes such forms in the likeness of bitterness, resentment, and anger–just to mention a few. 

Transformed is where we get the word metamorphosis, meaning to literally transfigure. A complete change in appearance or attitude.  A word that’s not mentioned much anymore comes to mind–Revival.  The reason why it’s not heard of much is because Christians are too conformed in certain areas of their life, making it difficult to completely transform (Ouch and Amen).  Change hurts, much like growing pains, and it’s necessary to move forward in Christ.  Transforming your life means cutting off things that keep you from getting better. 

The last word is “will“.  The will of God.  We sometimes pray that “God’s will be done”.

translates the meaning of desire.  Have you ever wondered what God desires? Wonder no more, look in the mirror.  That’s right, he desires you.  It’s never God’s will to hurt or destroy humanity by natural disasters or on other accounts.  When someone says “How could God do this?”, I always respond by saying “He didn’t, we did.”
You can imagine the looks I get.

The last part of the above scripture is misinterpreted often.  Most believe and teach that God’s will means for us to be good, acceptable, and perfect.  Humanity tries continually to do all three, but fail.  Jesus said that no one but God is good.  Jesus was the only perfect person that ever walked this planet, and Jesus is the only acceptable person that grants access to the Father.  It’s God’s desire (will) that is good, acceptable, and perfect towards us.  That’s what we must conform to, cling to, and allow to transform us into–His likeness. 

How Fasting Works

Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”  2 Samuel 12:21-23

I’ve spent most of my adult life fasting periodically for people and for my own spiritual growth.  King David gives an excellent and simply opportunity for us to understand how fasting works.               Let’s take a closer look…

First, you must have a clear understanding of why you’re fasting. It’s not about you, it’s about God working through you as an intercessor. See the end result before you start, it builds your faith.  

Second, you must follow your planned fast from start to finish.  Don’t deviate, make excuses, or quit.  Stay focused, with mental and spiritual accuracy.  

Third, know when it’s over–and call it done.  Your fasting is with purpose, so when the answer comes from the Spirit and you know it’s complete, stop.  It’s time to move on, whether you received the answer or not.  

Don’t wait till all Hell breaks loose to decide “hey, we need to fast about this”. When you develop a fasting lifestyle, it will come natural for when, where, and how you fast.  

The Call

For “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:14

Over the years, this scripture has seen many interpretations.  The importance and meaning of the Greek word “call” encapsulates the value of what apostle Paul says here. 

The word call in the Greek is “kaleo”, meaning to invite, summon, invited guest, name given.

There’s been much debate with how one arrives at being saved, but in the end, it’s a matter of the heart and not so much the words.  Your heart must be connected to the words with sincerity in order for salvation to be true.  Many claim to know God and His power by merely saying without emotion, “God, save me”.  Empty words and empty hearts create disbelief. 

Calling on God, truthfully, fearfully changes the atmosphere in which you live.  You are asking, begging, and pleading for change.  He will pull you up and out of your mess when your desperate call is heard.  Make the decision in your heart to be truthful with yourself and Him.  Call upon Him today to change. 

Good vs Evil

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.

3 John 1:11

There’s much evil in our world.  The headlines speak volume of hate and evil because of the lack of truth and love among humanity.  Journalist lie, politicians lie, and we believe the lies, because our only source of information is driven by fake news. 

In this passage, John is instructing us, even today, to strive to do good at everything so God can be found in us.  When evil reveals its ugly self, fight it with good, with God.  Don’t be offended and don’t intentionally offend someone–answer evil with good. 
You see, the world is offended with everything good.  Jesus said “the world hates Me first, and they’ll hate you because of Me” (Heavily paraphrased). 

We don’t like to admit it, but the human race is slowly returning back to her archaic and barbaric nature of murderous and lying lips.  Slanderous ways always turn to hatred and murder in our hearts.  Violence is clearly born out of jealousy and envy (Cain and Abel).  We must learn to repay evil with good.  Loving people through the eyes of the Lord will change the world, not more debate of who is right and who is wrong. 

Leadership’s Finest Hour

Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him. 

1 Samuel 22:2

When leadership is on you, you can’t escape people.  Whether David was ready to be king or not, it was happening, and it probably didn’t look like he thought it would. 

God knows what you need at just the right time.  David finds himself hiding in a cave depressed, disappointed, and in mental and spiritual deficits as well.  What does God do? He sends 400 people who are in the same shape. 

Leaders, your best day is when you can lead someone out of dire straits by being the example–using your past situations to help them move forward.  That’s how God works! What better person to help someone than one who has walked through the same situation? You. 
If I’m facing financial ruin, I want answers from someone who has had the same problem and climbed their way out.  If my marriage is struggling to survive, I don’t want advise from some PHD that’s never been married! No–I want to hear from people who have walked along the edge of hell’s destruction and survived. 

David had been through a lot, and He was the leader that the people needed. 
Are you the leader that some need? Does your life have success stories that others can learn from? Yes! Make yourself available today.  Someone needs your success and encouragement to make it. 

Then the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, behold, it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod; if you would take it for yourself, take it. For there is no other except it here.” And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”  1 Samuel 21:9

“Whom you killed in the valley” will be the focus this morning. 

Everyone has had the valley or wilderness experience at some point in their life.  It’s where you face the demons, the enemy.  You have to decide to live or die.  Do you watch someone else fight your battle, or do you go in alone like David?
You should know that you don’t come out of the valley until you are victorious and the enemy is defeated.  Whatever it is you face, fear, doubt, depression, health issues, financial issues, addictions, etc., you don’t quit until you win.  All it takes is one smooth stone, the Rock from the river, Jesus.  He’ll take down any giant, no matter the size.  He’s bigger! He wins every time! You win!

Borrowed Armor

In the previous verse, David tried wearing King Saul’s armor.  It’s was too big.  He had to approach Goliath with the familiar, his sling and a stone. 
People will send you up against the giants in their life and yours, with their armor and the weapons of their warfare.  It won’t work.  You have to fight with what you’ve got in your sheperd’s bag.  Five smooth stones. 

Is there something in the bag that doesn’t belong? Someone else’s armor? Fear? Doubt? Unbelief? Insecurity? Shame? Sin?
Empty the bag! Go to the river…grab the Rock…Take down the giant. 


The Calamity of Self 

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

After reading the headlines and major stories from the weekend, one would conclude that this country needs to change.  Blame cannot solve any problems, until we learn to accept the blame ourselves as the culprits of violence, racial divide, and hatred. 

Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, spoke the words above that are needed today.  We can’t see a future or a hope if we’re blinded by our own lustful prideful selves.  Calamity in the original text is ‘raah’ meaning evil, misery, distress, and injury.  Our focus has shifted from God and one nation under Him, to us, and whatever we want, we get. 

It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, racism ends with you.  Hate is hate, regardless.  We need to repent as a nation, and as individuals for being so full of hate and pride, arrogant and ignorant. 

Take the time to ask God to reveal Himself and His plans for you today.  Hope in the future, He is our Hope. 

#Compass #Charlottesville #UVA

When Love Rejoices

(Love)…does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.  1 Corinthians 13:6

Where there’s no truth, there’s no love.  And love not only accepts truth, but rejoices over it. God is love. To know the truth is to know love and God. 

Truth and love walk hand in hand. 

Can the two walk together unless they agree? (Amos 3:3)

There has to be agreement in your walk with God; Truth and love should travel the same direction, with pure motives,  content in doing the will of the Father. 

If two don’t walk in agreement, they’re separately going the same direction, in disagreement.  How will things get accomplished and what will be the outcome? Maybe a change in the direction of the heart should be considered.  

Wisdom’s Inquiry

The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding.

Proverbs 4:7 (NASB)

Solomon was the wisdom guy, the go to dude for knowing things.  He offers some good advise here. 
To gain wisdom…seek it.  But don’t just seek it, search your inner man to understand it. 

“Today, we live in a culture where knowledge is power”…said one silly twenty-something I used to work with.  Problem is, he didn’t want to do the leg work to understand it.  There’s a huge difference between knowing something and understanding things. 

Acquiring knowledge and understanding is a lot like cultivated a relationship.  You have to work hard at it.  It just doesn’t happen.  Often, some think gaining wisdom and understanding is like going through the drive up window of your favorite fast food joint: Pay and eat, and sometimes there’s a prize in the bag(That prize being all wisdom and knowledge). Oh, if only it was that easy.

The Holy Spirit is the key to gaining entry to the door of wisdom and understanding. 
Jesus said to “Ask, seek, and knock”.
With His help, you will acquire that which you seek. 

Ask Him to lead and guide you into more truth powered by His wisdom and understanding.  Ask…