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The Right Hand Complements the Left

The book of Genesis tells us that God made all animal life before He made Adam.  Then, God said, “It’s not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”  God took a rib from Adam, and He made Eve.  In Eve, Adam found the complement that was missing in his life, and in Adam, Eve found the complement and place where she belonged.  Together with God, they were now complete. They all needed one another to be complete.

God gave Himself something that day to love and to save.  God gave Adam something to love and to serve.  God gave Eve something to respect and to love.  In a way, this was the first marriage ever to happen.  Three things – not just two people.  God to Adam to Eve.  This is what makes a marriage to work.

Ephesians 5:33 says, “Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  When God says nevertheless, He is saying, I want you to do all the things I just told you to do but I want you to especially do this. Husbands, love your own wives, and wives, respect your husbands.  Marriage needs these things to be whole and complete.  It needs these things because they are complementary, the same way God saw that man needs woman to complement his life and make it whole.

The man is always looking for something that is missing in life, and the woman is always looking for her place of belonging in life.  Adam was missing that rib that God had used to form Eve.  And Eve was looking for the place in the body where she would naturally fit like any other rib.  Life in a way is the pursuit of finding the complementary things that are missing.

In any relationship, the man and the woman have different primary needs.  God saw this with Adam and Eve, and it exists still today.  Love is the foundation of any relationship; that is why Jesus came to give His life for us.   But love looks not just for love in return; it looks for love and something more that complements its work.  We love Jesus, so we long to obey Him.  Love is complemented by obedience.

Many marriages and relationships do not work the way they should because the man and the woman may be willing to bring love into the start of the relationship, but they do not bring the complementary things needed to make that love amazing.  We love, expecting to get love in return.  But we need more, and our love should lead to more.  If love is the right hand, it needs a left hand.

Men, consider this.  When you are told to love your wife, love her boundlessly in ways that cause her to respect you.  Respect is the complement to your love for your wife, and love is the complement to your wife’s respect.  Since the wife is asked to respect her husband, God wants husbands to love in amazing ways so that our wives find it easy to respect us with amazing love.   Love and respect and complementary.

Ladies, consider this.  When you are told to respect your husband, do it in ways make it easy for him to love you with the most respecting of all love.  The wife’s respect is the complement to the husband’s love.  Since the husband is asked to love his wife, God wants you wives to respect in amazing ways so that your husbands find it easy to love and care for you in the most cherished and respectful ways.  Respect and love are complementary.

Love needs respect, respect needs love, and it all needs God.  Husbands, don’t make it difficult for your wives to respect you.  It is hard for a wife to respect an unloving, selfish, and carnally driven man.  And wives, don’t make it difficult for your husbands to love you.  It is hard for a husband to love an emotional, selfish, and carnally driven woman.  And husbands, don’t look to your wives for respect—or wives, don’t look to your husbands for love—unless you have first looked to Jesus with respect and love.

If you do this, you will have a great chance to change the path of your marriage, to have the marriage God intends for you to have.  Bring that which is complementary to that which you want the most from your relationships.  God will bless you for this.  The right needs the left; the left needs the right; and it all needs God.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love You.

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Who Are You Gonna Call?

Sometimes, we can get so caught up with life that we come to believe we can only depend on ourselves to make it through.  Sometimes we even believe that the only person who will care about you is you.  But that is not completely so. Though we may be smart, intelligent, or resourceful, we are also made to be very dependent people.  We have been made just short of being able to totally rely on ourselves.  We are made this way so that we learn to count on someone else to complete our lives.  And we are also made this way so that we learn we are needed to complete something in the lives of others.

It is important that we understand this if we are to live the best life possible for us.  God made us to be complete in every way, but we complete our lives by giving Him the place in our lives He reserved just for Himself.

King Solomon understood this.  When he had finished building the temple to be the home for God, he prayed to God, saying, “God let your eyes be open and your ears be attentive to my prayer” (2 Chronicles 6:40).  He invited God to come to His resting place and to never turn away His face from the people.

God responded to Solomon with this well-known scripture found in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Solomon had the sense to know that life was not complete unless God had a place to live with him and his people.  God responded with love, saying He would do what Solomon asked and more.

Solomon built the house for the Lord and then called on His Name.  He called Him to come and to live.  We ought to learn from Solomon.  Our lives cannot be complete until we complete the work that God has started in each of us.  What is this work you ask?  Well, its three things—three things that we can see in Solomon, and three things that we should see in ourselves.

First, Solomon called on God to save him and His people from themselves and from others.  Solomon was saying, God, you choose us, now save us from ourselves and from our enemies.  Today, you and I need to be saved from ourselves and from the enemy that is ourselves—the person within us who keeps us from seeking to be saved.  We cannot make it alone.  So, we should first make sure we call on the Name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13).

Then Solomon called on God to live life with them.  He asked God never to turn away His face from them.  Life is not meant to be lived alone.  We have a place in life that only God can fill, and we must make that place available for Him.  We should call on the Name of the Lord that He would come live in us so we may live through Him.

Then Solomon called on God so that the people could serve Him.  He had the priests and all the people come to the temple to offer sacrifices to God.  He wanted to make sure God would be home to accept their offerings.  We have a place in life that we must serve with our lives.  Life is not about what we can get.  The Lord wants to teach us that life is more about what we get to do in serving Him.

So, we should call on the Name of the Lord so that He will be there when we serve Him.  Zephaniah 3:9 says, “For I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the Name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.”

In the times of your life when things are not going the way you would like, consider these three ways that you should be calling on the Lord for help.  When you are lost, living independently and need to be saved into eternal life, call on His Name.  When you are living, but life is not working out the best way for you, call on His Name.  And when you find yourself serving your wants instead of what He wants for you, call on His Name.

If you call Him, He will hear you, He will come to you, and He will heal your life and the land around you.  He will teach you to pray, to repent, and to be humble.  You will learn that your life is not complete until you give it back to Him for His service.  Life a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Desires Over Goals

Desires and goals are not the same.  What got you started and what keeps you going in your relationship with the Lord?  Some of us would say it is simply by the grace of God that we know Him.  That is true.  But there is a bit more to say.

Abraham was 75 years old when God promised to make him a father of nations (Genesis 12:1–4). He was 86 when Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:16), but Ishmael was not the promised child.  Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac, the promised child (Genesis 17:19, 21), was born (Genesis 21:5).  What do you think Abraham was doing for the first 75 years of his life?  What were his goals?  Did he set out to be a father of all nations?

Abraham was able to avoid a problem that many of us do not avoid today.  He was moved by his desires more than by his goals in life.  Abraham’s desires were the reasons for the few goals he pursued.  His desires were the reason he lived the way he lived.  But, what about you and me today?  Why do we live the way we do, and why do we have the goals we set for our lives?

Scripture teaches about desires.  Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.  To behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.”  Here David is telling us of just a single desire, the desire to live with the Lord in His house all his life.  Not a goal; just a desire.

David understood the power of having desires that fueled why and how he lived.  Because he understood the nature of desires, he didn’t have or need many goals for his life.  He didn’t need to set goals for how to be something; his desires taught him who to be and how to live.

You and I should learn from David and Abraham.  We should listen to what the Spirit of the Lord wants us to know about our desires and our goals.  Often, we are told we must set goals for what we want to do in life.  But that is not all that we should hear.  When we don’t have the right desire as the reason for our goals, we can find ourselves pursuing goals for the sake of what we want to get.  This can derail our lives and cause us to live unfulfilled.

So how do you know the difference between living based on your desires and living to chase a goal or a want?  Well, goals tend to be short-termed, focused, specific, and rigid.  They are unchanging, even when everything around you is changing, screaming at you to change too.

Let’s say you want to be married by the time you are 30.  That would be a goal.  But goals like this are a setup for failure because what happens if you are not married by 30?  Or what happens if you are not patient, and you marry someone you shouldn’t marry simply because you are almost 30?  Goals come from your mind, and your mind reacts to the world.  Goals can never express who you are in life.  They only indicate what you can do in life.

Think about Abraham.  What did he think, having to wait so long to become a father?  He messed up and had Ismael because he thought he had to do something to become that father before it was too late.  He didn’t wait.  Sometimes goals make us get out ahead of where we should be.

But after this, Abraham learned he didn’t need to have goals as long as he had desires for his life that came from God.  Our desires come from our hearts, the place where the Spirit of the Lord lives.  God wants us to live by desires that are the reasons for how we live for Him and before others.

You desire someday to be a wonderful parent to some wonderful children. This is a desire.  It is a desire that God loves, and a desire He would help you fulfill.  But your reason for wanting children is so that you can be a wonderful parent.

Desires are not rigid.  They are not short-termed, and they are not something we pursue.  A desire is an expression of why and how we live out our lives the way that we do.  Our desires should be the reasons for the few goals we set in life.

People set goals for what they want to do with their lives. Believers follow desires that express why and how they live out their lives.  When we know our desires, it opens us to all that God can do through our lives.  When we know our real desires, nothing will be able to keep us from living the way God wants us to live.  Goals can be roadblocked, but there are no roadblocks to desires.

Our goals are the place where we do with our life what we want to do.  But our desires are the place where life is fulfilled by God.  Look at your desires and make certain they are real in God, then make your desires the reason for any goal you may set.  One thing we should desire, and one thing only, is to live all our lives in the house of the Lord. Our desire should be to have no goal that is not connected to who God wants us to be.

We don’t need to set a goal for what to do with that.  We don’t need a goal for what time to start the day when we have a never-ending desire for God.  We don’t need a goal to accomplish something by a specific time; we live out what God has accomplished in us.  We don’t need a goal for what to do next; we live each day God gives us the way He wants us to live.  Our desires should have no beginning and no end.  They are infinite and eternal.

We need only the desire to follow what the Spirit will tell us in our heart.   Don’t have a goal to start a homeless shelter if the Spirit of the Lord hasn’t already found in you the desire to build a home and a shelter in your heart for His life.  This is an eternal desire, and it is the basis for all that we can ever want or do in life.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Will You Go?

In Isaiah chapter 6, Isaiah hears the voice of Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”  Isaiah hears this voice after he had been touched by the Lord to atone for his sins and to wipe away his sinful ways.  Isaiah hears the voice, and he simply responds by saying, “Here am I.  Send me.”

Isaiah didn’t know what the task was going to be.  He didn’t know what he was committing to do, but he responded by saying, “Send me.”  He had been prepared to be and to do whatever the Lord was going to ask of him.

In John, 21:19, Jesus is talking with Peter.  Three times Jesus had a question and a directive for Peter.  He asked Peter if he loved Him, and each time Peter responded by saying yes.  After Peter’s responses, Jesus directed Peter to simply feed His sheep.  At the end of all this, Jesus says to Peter, “Follow Me.”

Unlike Isaiah earlier, who knew he had been prepared to go and to do whatever the Lord asked, Peter didn’t really know what was coming, but he was willing to go along because it was for Jesus.  He wasn’t yet prepared for what he was going to be called to be or to do.

There are times when Jesus calls on each of us to follow Him to play a role in the game of life.  We are like Peter.  If Jesus is the owner of the team, we are all eager to be a part of the team no matter if we are prepared or not.  We are eager to tell Him that we are ready to play, and we even think of the position we believe is best for us.

We tell Him we can be the quarterback because we know we can through the ball far and accurately.  Or we tell Him we can be a wide receiver because we can run fast, and we have great hands.  Then some of us will tell Him we can be the running back because we are quick and agile, and we hold onto the ball.  Still, a few of us would say we are best suited to be on the front lines because we are strong, and we can make a way for everyone else to have a breakthrough game.

With Peter, all Jesus wanted him to do was to simply feed His sheep; nothing highly visible but important to the life of the sheep.  Three times He said this to Peter.  I imagine Peter was surprised.  He probably wanted to do something more important.

Jesus listens to all of us, and He finally says to us, “I don’t need you to be the quarterback or the wide receiver or the running back or the lineman.  I need you to be the football.”  Jesus knows that it will be easier for us to be and to do what he wants when we are willing to give up thinking about how the game is going and how important we believe we are to the outcome.

You see the football is just a tool in the hands of the quarterback, the wide receiver, the running back and the lineman.  The football doesn’t think of what it wants to do to win the game.  It knows it will be kicked around, thrown around, tugged, and pounced on.  Sometimes it will even be spiked like it wasn’t important to the outcome of the game, yet the game cannot be played without a football.

Like the football, life cannot be played the way Jesus wants us to play it if we are not willing to let Him decide the roles we play and who ultimately wins.  We just need to be willing to be the part of life people never really think about, but it is the key to all their life.  We must learn that it’s okay to be the football in the hands of Jesus.

The question is, now that you know ahead of time, will you allow Him to prepare you for the role of a football, and will you go when He asks, “Who will go for Us?”

Life a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Nothing Changes Until Your Mind Changes

When I was younger, I wanted to be the best person that I could be at anything I wanted to do.  I was an “A” student in school, so I wanted to be an “A” performer in life and work.  But life and work turned out to be a lot harder than schoolwork.  I wasn’t an “A” performer, and I couldn’t understand why.

I thought I could just outsmart whatever was before me.  But smarts, intelligence, and wits didn’t work in life like they did in schools.  One day, out of frustration with how things were going for me in my job and in my life, I asked myself, “Why am I not able change the things I want to change in life?”

This is what came to me at that moment.  I was making life a lot harder than it needed to be.  I had to give up on being the person I was so that I could be the person I needed to be.  Nothing will change for us until our minds change something about us.

In Romans 12:2 scripture tells us of this, “And do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may be prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  This helped me to see that God wanted me to change. He didn’t just want me to act like I was different. He wanted me to change to something different.

I don’t believe I’m the only one like this.  If you want things to be better around you today, the quickest and surest way to do that is to change something in yourself today.  We must decide to change our minds about who we are and who we ought to be.  We must go through a mental transformation of sorts.  Trying to do better by being the same person won’t work.  Trying to serve the Lord by being the same person we were before knowing Him doesn’t work either.

I believe the Lord wants to do some things that would make us something amazing in our love for Him and for others, but we keep Him from doing that because we want to do the things we want just as we are.  I believe everyone at some point must go through an encounter like the one I had with myself.

Just like our shadow will follow us around all day, our lives are destined to follow our thinking around.  No one can consistently do more than his or her mindset permits.  That is why God asks us to be transformed by renewing our minds.  The old you will continue to do the old stuff the old you has always done.  The old you will continue to do the old things the old you wants to do.

We cannot serve the Lord with the minds we use daily to serve our earthly needs.  I realized change is change, and that is different from doing something different.  We can wear different clothes each day, but we will still be the same old person.  We can wear different shoes, but the same old person will walk in the same old ways.  We can take a different job, but the same old person will go to work in the same old way.  Your mind as it is will keep you conformed to the world as it is.  An untransformed mind is not your friend.

Nothing changes until our minds changes us. When you allow your mind to change your attitude about you, you will discover the most valuable thing that you can have in life.  It is the thing most responsible for helping us live out who we are and who we should be.  You will discover the person God wants you to be.  You will discover who you are.  That should be the reason for how you live and what you do each day.

All of us have the need to change our minds about ourselves.  Your mind is not always your friend.  Your old mind will keep telling the old you to do the same things when it should be telling you to be transformed to something new so that you can do new things in a new way.

Nothing can change until your mind changes what it thinks about you.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Bring Something He Can Burn

There is a story in the bible of a time when Abraham is called to go to a nearby mountain and offer his young son, Isaac, as a sacrifice to God.  Abraham and Isaac arrive at the mountain.  Isaac is unaware of what is supposed to happen that day.  He says to his father, look, we have the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?  Isaac had seen his dad do this enough to know that an offering was not complete without a lamb.  Abraham tells Isaac that God would take care of providing the lamb this time.  You can read this account in Genesis 22:7-10.

Many years later, Jesus and His disciples were in a boat crossing over a lake.  The winds were very strong that day.  In Luke 8:23-25 scripture says, “As they sailed, He fell asleep.  A windstorm came down on the lake and they were filing with water, and they were in danger.”  They went to Jesus and woke Him, saying they were perishing!  After calming the wind Jesus said to them, “Where is your faith?”

That was then.  Today, God does not ask us to offer a burnt offering anymore.  Jesus did that for us once and for all.  He is our burnt offering, given to take away the sins of our lives.  While He took away our sins, He did not take away our challenges.  When we are challenged to get across the lake with strong winds against us, there are some things we must bring and there are some things God will provide to help us get through our challenges.

Examine your life carefully and learn how you got to where you are as you travel to where you are going.

If disobedience got you to a situation, obedience will be needed to get you out of that situation.  Turn to God in obedience, and He will calm the things of disobedience around you.

If fear got you into a situation, belief in God will be needed to get you out of that situation.  Turn to God in belief, and He will set afire your fear to burn it.

If greed got you into a situation, temperance will be needed to get you out of that situation.  Turn to God in temperance, and He will set afire your greed.

If hate got you into a situation, love will be needed to get you out of that situation.  Turn to God in love, and He will set afire your hate.

And then there are some things that come upon us for no apparent cause.  For instance, if persecution comes upon you, then faith and belief in God will be needed to get you through.  Turn to God in faith and belief, and He will carry you through your persecution.  He will carry you through your difficult marriage.  He will carry you through your sickness.  He will carry you through a difficult relationship at work.  When you turn to Him, He will turn to you.

All of this is easier done when we approach life the way Abraham and Isaac did.  We ought to wake up every day committed to going up that nearby mountain to offer up ourselves and all our weaknesses as a burnt offering to God.  Along the way, we will take all the wood and all the fire that we need.  And when we arrive, we should be ready to offer ourselves to be the lamb for our offering.  But we should not despair because God will provide His own Lamb for our offering.

So, let’s wake up today and set our hearts on the mountain of challenges that may be in our lives.  Let’s grab those challenges, some obedience, and some belief, and as much faith as we can muster.  Then let’s set off to offer all this to the Lord.  It may be a difficult journey.  The winds may be against us at times, but He will be with us to rebuke the things that would hinder us.  We need but to keep pressing to get to the mountain.

If you are going to do an offering, you want the Lord to say, look he brought the wood for his challenges, and he brought the fire of his faith to burn his challenges, but he has no lamb for the offering.   So, I will provide him Deliverance as his lamb, so his offering is complete.  

Live a Delivered Life.  Love You.

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Never a Nobody

Recently, I was listening to an old song.  It was saying I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody about somebody who can save anybody.  I love the song.  It is talking about Jesus.  But the more I listened to it, the more I realized that Jesus is somebody who can take anybody who believes they are a nobody, and He can make them somebody special to Him.  We are never just a nobody to Him.

There are numerous examples in The Word of Jesus making somebody out of someone who was a nobody to others.  One such example in found in John, 4:4-30.  This is the account of Jesus meeting a woman of Samaria at a well.  The woman had gone out that day to draw water, and she met Jesus there at the well.  Jesus had a conversation with the woman, a conversation that custom said He should not have had.  You see, Jews didn’t have dealings with the people of Samaria, especially an unmarried woman of Samaria.  She was a nobody to the Jews and to her own people of Samaria.

But a nobody to us is a pearl in the making to Jesus.  He has a way of taking a nobody and making somebody out of them, then using them to spread the Word about who He is and how He can save anybody.  Toward the end of their conversation, John 4:28-29 says, “The woman left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, ‘Come see a Man Who told me all the things I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?’  Then they went out of the city and came to Him.”

Jesus took a nobody and made somebody of her.  She left her waterpot on the spot and went home a different person.  She was now somebody.  Imagine her saying to the people, “Look at me!  He told me more about me than you all know of me.  Could He be Christ, the savior of the world?”  Later the scripture says many of the people of Samaria believed Jesus that day and were saved because of the word of the woman who was a nobody who Jesus made somebody He could use to save anybody.

This story is not just about a chance encounter with a nobody who became a somebody.  The place where Jesus and the woman met—the well—was Jacob’s well from many generations before.  This was the place where Jacob returned to his homeland after having lived away for many years.  When he returned, he bought this plot of land and dug the well that he passed on to his son Joseph.  This is important because Jacob had left his land over 20 years earlier as a nobody and he returned a somebody, a child of the covenant of God.  Joseph was imprisoned in Egypt as a nobody, but he was released and made a somebody, second to Pharoah in command in all of Egypt.

Jesus had plans for Jacob and Joseph many years before they were born.  He has plans for you and me too.  So now, it is high time for you and me to step out of being nobody of importance to anybody and into becoming somebody special to the Lord.  We’ve got to come back home from wondering around for many years.  We’ve got to endure times where we may feel like we are in prison.  We must wait patiently until the day we go to the well for water because we thirst to be saved from the things that beset us daily.

So, let’s do like this woman did.  Let’s go to the well, draw some water, and look for the opportunity to have a life transforming conversation with the Lord.  Let’s leave our waterpots full of stuff right there and return to live a life of somebody who Jesus saved from being a nobody who now can tell anybody of how great the Lord is to everybody who is willing to come to Jesus because they listened to somebody who had been transformed by the Love of Christ Jesus.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.   

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Respectful Behavior

I’d like to make this the shortest message I’ve ever done, because it is simple and filled with common sense.  I could also make it a book with an infinite number of pages because it is simple, filled with common sense, but we generally don’t care about common sense when it doesn’t suit our sense.

The Bible tells a story about King David.  Before he was made king, David was anointed by God as a young boy to be His king.  The scripture says the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward until his death.  After this anointing, David killed the giant Goliath.  Goliath was the Philistine champion warrior who blasphemed God.  David took care of that.  You can read this account in 1 Samuel 16 and 17.

Goliath had a behavior problem.  Some people may have feared his size, but they did not respect his behaviors or his attitude.  He got what he had coming to him because of his behavior and attitude.

Later the king of the Israelites, Saul, was angry and jealous that David had been anointed to be the next king, even before Saul was dead, preventing Saul’s own sons from becoming king.  Saul attempted to kill David.  Saul had a bad attitude and some behavior problems.

Imagine his lack of common sense.  He had seen firsthand how David killed Goliath; why then would Saul think he could kill David.  That’s the problem with bad attitudes and bad behaviors; they don’t permit you to use the sense common obvious to everyone around you.  You do crazy stuff.  You are not respected for your behaviors.  If you don’t care about your behaviors, and others will not respect you because they do not care for your behaviors.

Scripture says this about Saul and David in 1 Samuel 18:12-15.  “Now Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David, but had departed from Saul…. And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him.” When Saul saw that David behaved wisely, he was afraid of David.  Now this word afraid is more like respectful of him.

How is it then that David was able to behave in ways that Saul would respect while Saul was actually trying to kill David because he was jealous of him?  Well, David lived in ways that Saul and people like you and me find it difficult to live because we can’t get past living for ourselves.

David had this testimony from the Lord.  He was anointed King of Israel because God Himself said that He had found David to be a man after His own heart.  Here are five ways David showed himself to be a man’s after God’s own heart:

  • David allowed God to shape his desires; David’s wants were God’s wants.
  • David allowed God to save his life.  In other words, David lived a Delivered Life.  God uses the lives He delivers.
  • David allowed God to challenge his will.  David submitted his will to the will of God.  God changes the wills of those who submit their wills to Him.
  • David allowed God to search his heart.  David wanted God to know him as much as David wanted to know God.
  • David allowed God to Love him.  David didn’t just go around talking about how God loved him.  David was transformed, strengthened, and favored by the Love of God to do amazing things.

From these things, David was able to form an attitude that others respected because God was in all the things David was in.  Even in his failures, which were many, David had the sense to invite God to be in everything he was in.  People saw this about David and they respected David’s behaviors because of it.

Its easy for us to live like Saul.  All we have to do is live like we are our own king.  If you don’t care about how people think about how you behave, you are probably on that path Saul took.  If you don’t care about what you think about your own behavior, you are probably lost in your own ways.  Learn to live and behave like something great has a hold of you, and something great will happen around you.  Learn to live with respected behavior.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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The Authority to Be

Scripture tells of a time that Jesus spoke to a crowd about the difference between the life they were living and the life God wanted them to live.  But I want to talk about what happened after Jesus ended this talk.  According to Matthew 7:28-29, “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” 

Authority?  What are they talking about?  And Scribes, why didn’t they have this authority?

Authority gives someone the right to enforce a law, rule, or custom.  Authority gives you the right to make decisions, to command compliance, or to enforce corrections when needed.  Authority is simple.  It justifies and makes legitimate the actions you take with someone who may be in violation of an authority.  The authority to do means there must be an authority that was violated.  That is not the type of authority the people were referring to here with Jesus.

And the Scribes.  Who were they?  Scribes were common people who had knowledge of the law and customs.  They could draft legal documents like contracts for marriage, divorce, loans, inheritance, mortgages, the sale of land, and things like that.  But they were not the law themselves.  They were trained to know a lot about many things.  They were authorities in knowing about things, but they had no authority to enforce compliance with anything.  They were teachers teaching about things they had learned.

So then, just how is Jesus different from both the law and how the law is taught?  In Mark 3:4, Jesus asked the Pharisees, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”  The Pharisees didn’t answer Him because to respond would have weakened the power they enjoyed by being the authority over enforcing compliance with the Sabbath law.  My sense tells me its never lawful to do evil, not on Sabbath or on any other day.  And it is never lawful to kill anyone, not on Sabbath or on any other day.

Jesus is saying, we don’t need to have authority to do what is right or to be what He calls us to be.

Back then as now, scribes needed the backing of authority to teach about the things they knew.  But Jesus came to personify the things that the scribes taught about.  He needed no authority to be Jesus.  He needed no authority to do good because He is good.  He needed no authority to work on Sabbath because He is the Sabbath.  And like that, we need no authority to Be the persons God calls us to be.  We don’t need authority to love someone; we can just be love.  We don’t need authority to forgive someone; we can just be forgiving.  

We don’t need authority to be kind, patient, longsuffering, good, or anything that God wants us to Be.  We need only to allow Him to make us these things.  When you do this, you will be able to stop living a life that needs the authority of someone else to make the things you do be the right things.  A life with Christ is not supposed to be a life where an unchanged you has learned about the things of God. 

The things of God should transform your life from one of doing to one of being.  Then you will go from having to do things under the authority of something or someone to living life having God’s authority to Be the person He wants you to be.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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A New Year with the Lord

It’s New Year’s Eve 2021.  Many of us will stay up late so we can see the new year, 2022 arrive.  Many of us will find a celebration or a party or some other type of event to attend to celebrate the new year.  Many of us will have more memories about what we did to bring in the new year than what we did to make a difference in 2021.

I’m not sure God gets excited about fireworks and parties and socializing to bring in the new year. So, I want to offer you three ways believers can do to bring in the new year so that God would want to join in your celebration.

Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”  The Lord’s Love is steadfast towards us, so much so that it covers us and keeps us throughout the year.  We can see another day because His Love carries us, and we can see another day because His mercies cover our failings.  And His Love and His mercies toward us are never old; they are new each day because we bring new trials upon ourselves each day.

Given the Love and Mercies and His faithfulness towards us, let’s bring the new year by:

Praising Him.  Psalm 150-6: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”  Let your praise of the Lord be the fireworks of your life given to Him!  Wouldn’t that be great?

Waiting for Him.  Lamentations 3:25: “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him.”  If you have lived the whole year ahead of the Lord, now would be a great time to close out the year waiting for Him.  Don’t just wait on Him.  He may not be heading in the direction you are going.  Instead, wait for Him.  He will bring new direction for you.

Hoping quietly in Him.  Lamentations 3:26: “It is good that one should hope and wait quietly.”  Just as we will wait in anticipation of new year’s fireworks that will come and go in moments, do something better.  He finds it good that we would hope in Him for our enjoyment and all else.  Let’s find time in the year to hope in the Joy of the Lord.

So, if you are waiting up till midnight to see the old year pass and the new year come, consider praising Him for filling your life with His Love and with His mercies.  Wait for Him to show you the way you should go for 2022.  And hope in Him for goodness to be your shadow in 2022 and for all the days of your life.

In that second between the end of 2021 and the entry of 2022, if you are up celebrating, celebrate that He is our savior.  Its just a second in your life.  You won’t miss much of the passing of the old year or the entry of the new year.  But you will end the old and start the new with Him at the center of your heart.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.