“First seek the counsel of the Lord.”
(1 Kings 22:5 NIV)
How to Set Them—How to Keep Them
Is your life really your life or is it controlled by someone else? Is your time really your time or is it manipulated by someone else? Is your schedule really your schedule or is it dictated by someone else? If your response is, “That’s me!” then you need boundaries.
Do you say yes to everyone and no to no one? Do you find yourself easily taken advantage of? Do you have to grease every squeaky wheel? If so, then you need boundaries.
Are there not enough hours in the day to do all you have to do? Are you feeling stretched beyond your limits? Are you meeting yourself coming and going? If so, then you need boundaries.
Do you try to be everything to everyone? Do you think everyone’s need is your need to meet? Is your life swallowed up in someone else’s life? If so, then you need boundaries.
Are you overcommitted, in over your head, burning the candle at both ends? Do you try to please everyone, yet often please no one? If so, then you need boundaries.
You need to know where your responsibilities end and someone else’s begin. You need to say yes to God and no to everything that’s not His will. You need … boundaries!
Like nations, relationships rise and fall based on the boundaries that guard and protect them. If we try to be everyone’s best friend, we will be no one’s best friend. We all have limits on our time and on our emotional and physical energy.
We cannot be or do everything for anyone, much less everyone, so we must choose who we will be and what we will do regarding the individuals God brings into our lives. Jesus established boundaries for His relationships by … prioritizing the Father … discipling the twelve … and being intimate with the few. He also set boundaries on His actions.…
“Jesus gave them this answer: ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.… By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
(John 5:19, 30)
Hosea, God And Leadership
“They set up kings, but not by Me;
They made princes, but I did not acknowledge them.
From their silver and gold
They made idols for themselves--
That they might be cut off.
Hosea 8:4 KJV
In this very profound chapter from the book of Hosea. The prophet is notating that he and the Lord were left out of the equation, considering a choice of monarchy or leadership. Stating quite vigorously that the people had received leadership contrary to the divine order of God. Rather choosing instead to use criteria other than God Almighty's input considering a choice of leadership. Because of these actions they would open up a conundrum of problems in the nation's relationship with God, and the true prophets of God.
We see as we explore the next passage the direction the nation had gone. For in verse five Hosea rebukes the idol worship and religion being promoted in Samaria. A calf representing idol worship, and a king from whom man had chosen without the insight and petition of the true prophets of God. Thus, supplanting humble leadership of divine order which God required. Rather choosing to replacing it with man-made religion of idolatrous order. Therefore showing no heart for God, and no allegiance toward honoring the true voice of the Lord. Thereby giving God only lip service, and manipulating the religious community for their own gain.
God never intended for kings to lead his people, but he gave them one called Saul out of their ignorance. However, He also chose whom it would be, and through the prophet of God chose men of the best caliber He could. Saul was the first. Later on God would replace him with David because of his lack of respect toward the will of God. David was the king " everyone " overlooked, but whom the Lord chose because He knew he was a man after the heart of God. David would rejoice in his worship, he loved to sing, he loved the the things of God. He was a man though, and would make his mistakes, but who would also always return to the altar of God. He always, humbled himself, he always showed forth a spirit of repentance.
Humble leadership given toward repentance, and leaning toward grace toward all his or her people. Is the heart, mind and will of God. Supplanting or replacing such leadership with just quote " qualified " people or someone who treats his or her people with disrespect. Always leads to ruin and destruction in the long term. Things might be good for awhile, life might not seem to have changed much. Yet, in heaven God oversees the affairs of men and women. He will test those whom we have chosen, and in the fire of God's presence. We will see their sins, their flaws, their lack of true anointing and exposed for all to see.
If you are in leadership of any kind. Honor the Lord in true humility, give your heart to Him. Let Him direct your heart. Let not your heart be persuaded by the misguided understanding of this generation, or the subtle manipulations of those with evil intent in heart. Seek godly counsel, wise men or woman whose hearts have been tried in the fire and have been found to be true to the core. Consider folks of integrity and not given toward the personal graft, greed or personal gain, but for the favor and blessing of others. There you will find God's will, there you will find the favor of God.
Wanted to share this message I shared with the congregation today. I thought it would be of benefit to our students, faculty and friends of FBC. I appreciate all of your prayers and assistance as we continue to expand the ministry of FBC, and see it become an even greater tool for the FGRMC & beyond.
Resolving The Issue Of Indifference
The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? "Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?—when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped'?"
A lack of knowledge is a crippling affliction when it comes to your faith walk.
Job questioned God’s intent, His love. Job wondered, was God blind, did He not see what was happening? God then responded not answering his questions, but challenging his faith. God was waiting for him to realize something, and had confidence in Job that he would persevere. What did He want Job to understand? That He believed in him and that he was an overcomer. He hadn’t abandoned him, but He was working something special out through him. When God did show up, He wiped the tears from his eyes and showed his benevolent love, we soon then read that Job received double the blessings he had previously. Plus, God revealed through his trials those whom were his friends, and gave a fresh revelation to Job about who God is, and how He operates.
God didn’t abandon Job, and He was not indifferent toward him during his entire struggles at all. He was there all the time!
When evening had come, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
The disciples thought Jesus didn’t care if they perished. That He just lay there asleep and was blind toward the circumstances all around them. However, when He woke up! He was not unaware, He was not afraid, He was not dismayed, and gave them a lesson about faith in Him that we cherish to this day.
God is not indifferent toward us at all. He is in the boat, but He wants to see what you will do with that deposit of faith He has given to you.
Do You Recognize Whose Got Your Back?
I remember one day when a bunch of neighborhood kids were picking on me and started to hit and curse me. Three boys just were putting a whooping on me. Then my brother Steve showed up. All of a sudden boldness came over me, and I got up one more time. We were still outnumbered it would seem, but without even throwing one more punch, the bullies ran away. Not even one punch. Amazing! We had overcome, I was not alone. The enemy was defeated without another blow.
I Challenge You Brother And Sister In Christ. Don’t try to take on the whole world! Start with taking on that family issue unresolved, that racial issue at work, that hate you see exposed in someone’s life, the hurting children in your neighborhood, the need for a better education opportunity in someone’s life. Don’t get discouraged looking at the problems of the world. Look unto the author and the finisher of our faith, the God who spoke all things into existence. For when you put your faith in Him and and allow yourself to be anointed by the Holy Ghost. There is no obstacle you can’t tackle. No job you can’t do. No mountain you can’t move. For my God is the God of the impossible, who wants to work through you.
Martin Luther King, Jesus of Nazareth. Gandhi, Rosa Parks, and so many more. They all made a difference. They drew a line in the sand and said NO MORE! God is going to turn this around!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even if I am the only one standing up right now, with God on my side I am a movement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amen, Amen.
For those listening in the the CGMF Prayerline Daily. We have been reflecting upon a series we teach at Covenant of Grace to new members and old. It is from the Shepherd's Trilogy by Phillip Keller, and it talks about the Good Shepherd and intimacy with God.
Our readings have taken us to chapter twelve in the second book " A Shepherd Looks At The Good Shepherd. " We are talking today about " One Flock Of One Shepherd. "
We have a new and fresh message on the CGMF Prayerline daily. Hope you will take the time each day to call in and get your fresh bread for the day.
To listen in call the CGMF Prayerline at 712-432-8399 and use the Conference number 584684. Then hold to be placed in conference and the message will play.
Reflections on Philippians
For most of my childhood, I didn’t know I was weird. I grew up homeschooled, and most of my friends came from conservative Christian households similar to my own. When I finally figured it out, I embarked on a series of attempts to fit in. Often that meant repeating jokes I didn’t understand, quoting movies other people liked, or pretending to be familiar with music I didn’t listen to.
I became an expert on a topic overnight in an effort to create a niche for myself. My contributions to conversation always began with things like, “That’s nothing. One time, I …” And while there was nothing inherently wrong with my desire to have friends and fit in, my attempts at belonging became unhealthy when my goal changed from finding human connection to establishing my own importance.
My mother was the first to suggest that seeking to be the center of attention was not the best way to make new friends. Instead, she suggested, “Find someone at the party who doesn’t have anyone to talk to. If you can make their night better, you’ll end up having fun too.”
Mom’s advice to look outside my own self-interest was a practical application of Paul’s instructions for the Philippian church:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (Phil 2:3–4).
Earlier in his letter, Paul warns the Philippians that some men were preaching the gospel to inflate their own self-worth (1:15–17). When discussing those who were not preaching the true gospel, Paul appeals to Christ’s example of humility.
In my search for approval, I was trying to fulfill my own needs, but I had little motivation to look out for others’ interests. Feeling well-liked inflated my conceit—it didn’t teach me to elevate others above myself or to sacrifice for them.
Little by little, I changed my approach. I began to look for the new person in the room. Instead of dominating the conversation, I learned to ask questions. On the surface, I was practicing useful friend-making strategies, but underneath I was undergoing a change of heart. In his letter, Paul goes on to admonish the Philippians to take their example from Jesus Christ:
Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (2:6–8).
This call to imitate Christ’s humility can be hard for us to hear. It turns our working model of social class on its head. We like knowing our place—especially if it’s a good one. But the gospel levels the playing field. We are all sinners. And if we are all equally in need of God’s grace, how can we evaluate our worth by comparing ourselves with others?
Originally published in Bible Study Magazine Sept–Oct ‘14
Biblical references from ESV
I am hearing wonderful reports from our two Easter Gathering services from this past Sunday.
Folks in West-Central Nebraska gathered in Kearney for an outstanding time together, and folks from the Eastern part of the state in Omaha had a wonderful time together as well. I appreciate all the Shepherd Leaders who worked together to get as many of our Neighborhood fellowship groups together. Hearing about the bus rentals from Lincoln was really exciting. You guys out did yourselves.
Should be able tonight to give you a detailed report on great testimonies and some of the Word that went forth this weekend later in the day. Thanks again for all your efforts my dear friends.
Just to let you know we are continuing our study from the Shepherd's Trilogy on Intimacy With God. We discussed how Jesus tries to protect us from our enemies today. A very illuminating portion of the study that sometimes has brought great peace to many in our fellowship who have studied this course previously.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Patrick Vossen
PS. Here is the info to take advantage of our CGMF daily messages. ( I try to make them daily, LOL )
To listen in call the CGMF Prayerline at 712-432-8399 and use the Conference number 584684. Then hold to be placed in conference and the message will play.
To encourage your faith dear saints of God. Through the remainder of the month I am going to be sharing with you powerful revival hotspots through history to encourage your faith and prayer life. Here is once such incident. Enjoy.
Some months since the leading members of many of the Methodist churches in the city, well known for their exemplary piety, constituted themselves a society with the object of promoting among the people an interest in religion. Their efforts have been attended with success beyond their most sanguine expectations; and as they labor during the entire Sabbath in a given church, and in another church the succeeding Sabbath, the organization has obtained in the levity of common remark, the name of the “Flying Artillery.” The force consist of between thirty and forty, mostly middle-aged persons, among whom is ex-Alderman Wesley Smith.
Soon after its organization, the “Praying Band,” or “Flying Artillery,” visited this church, and occupied an entire Sabbath in prayer and exhortation. Meetings have been held every evening since, and the large church has been crowded constantly. For two weeks in March, a daily prayer-meeting was held here, which was then removed to the Baptist Church. Upward of one hundred and fifty converts have already united with the church.
41 Isaiah said these things because he saw Jesus’ glory; he spoke about Jesus. 42 Even so, many leaders believed in him, but they wouldn’t acknowledge their faith because they feared that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 They believed, but they loved human praise more than God’s glory.
John 12:41-43 CEB
We all like to have human praise, or folks liking us. Whether its on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, our jobs, church etc., etc., it’s appreciated and makes us feel good. However, if liking us, or working to be liked is the ultimate fix in our lives. Its probably not going to please our Saviour that much. For He came into the world, and world ” knew ” him not ( John 1:10-12 ).
The Messiah society was looking for couldn’t be this Jesus they thought. Because he didn’t have the right theological approach, and his personal call to holiness was not the kind of outward addressing message the Pharisees had been ascribing to. He just didn’t fit the religious expectations of the day, and His message starkly contrasted that of the Judaism that the Scribes and Pharisees were embracing. His message was personal, convicting, hope filled and talked of such intimacy with God. This couldn’t be true religion they thought, but this was exactly the cure for the vain religion that had become the norm of the day.
Jesus the Light of the World came on the seen and exposed the present day ills, the culture of greed, and the sins of the leadership of the nation. He taught a revolutionary message of hope and redemption. Where people could be set free from the burdens of sin and have a renewed and personal relationship with God. What he shared and the ministry he expressed saw signs and wonders follow every step it seemed. With the dead raised, the lame walking, the deaf talking and inner healing and hope. This message and the messenger brought life, and he helped bring about a revival of true faith, which would utterly shake the then known world.
Authorities tried to stop it and persecute the Christian believers. Whether the religious institutions of the day, or the governments in power, they tried everything to silence this Christian message. This message about ” setting the captive free “, it just didn’t fit with the culture of the times. Authoritarian regimes brutalized the church, but the church ” grew “, these Christians saw hope in a resurrected Lord, whom appeared unto them for many days after His death. These Christians practiced love and obedience to a Lord who would heal, cleanse and work in miraculous ways through faith in His name. Being ” liked ” wasn’t their main goal. Giving people hope through the ” Bread of Life ” Jesus was.
I know its not always comfortable to ” live ” the message of Christ. To embrace his teachings and to truly come to grips with the true message of the gospel. Modernizing and or ” Americanizing ” the gospel to our culture, and presenting it like 1% homogenized milk is much more to our liking. However, the truth be told. We need the life giving message of the cross more than ever. We need living epistles whose lives can be read by all, and we need them to be true to the cause of Christ.
The Light ( Jesus ) came into the world, but they knew him not, that doesn’t mean it stopped there. He bore the message, he shared the Father’s love and many came to embrace the message Jesus preached. The light he shone revealed the hypocrisy of the religion of the day. It made many rebel, and some look to kill him from the onset of his ministry. However, Jesus didn’t come to be ” liked ” he came to set the captives free.
Have you ever seen people shocked when they have been set free? Its amazing the varied responses. Some just can’t accept it and run from it. Some hide in a corner not knowing what to think. However, as time moves on and the change is seen, many rise up to be counted with those whom have been redeemed. The oppression, the pain, the hurt, the brutality, the heartache. Well, it turns to hope and light begins to shine, and new dreams are dreamed and new opportunities come to life. Jesus knew it wasn’t going to be easy and not everyone would like him. However, he knew there would be those who would choose to love him, and that outweighed all the personal feelings he might have had in his life. It took him to an old rugged cross, and he gave himself away for those who liked him, hated him, loved him or ignored him. He just simply gave.
Bob Gass has written a devotional that I have been going through that is having me soul search a great deal. I have shared bits of it with the my Neighborhood Shepherd Group and the Church. However, I feel I am just scratching the surface. Chapter One got my attention, but Chapter Two hit me with a two by four and knocked me down. I just had to reflect, repose and pray on it an awful lot. I share that chapter with you today from my Logos Library. It is from Bob’s book ” Forgetting Your Past:Turn Your Pain Into Purpose. ” You might want to make it a part of your library as well.
Dealing with the Past
Every experience you’ve had from the moment you were born until now (and even while you were in your mother’s womb) has made you what you are today. The things that happened to you, especially during your earliest years, determine how you’ll act (and react) for the rest of your life.
That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “A good man gives out good from the goodness stored in his heart; and a bad man gives out evil from his store of evil.” (Matthew 12:35 Phillips) There are things stored up in each of us that must be dealt with before we can move ahead successfully. Psychologists estimate that we spend up to 50 percent of our mental and emotional energy repressing painful memories.
My brother Neil, who spent many years in private practice as a Family Systems Therapist, tells me that the counseling community has recently done a one hundred and eighty-degree turn. Instead of saying, “Dig deep and go back as far as you can,” they’re now saying, “If the patient needs to vent, let him. But make it brief; then get him focused on the future as quickly as possible.” That’s what some would call, “a sudden revelation of the obvious.”
Two thousand years ago the apostle Paul wrote, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching unto those things which are before …” Philippians 3:13). Paul understood that forgetting and reaching are the keys to inner healing. One will not work without the other. Forgetting closes the door on the past; reaching opens the door to the future.
You say, “What did Paul have to forget?” Plenty! On his orders, Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death. Paul watched the whole gruesome scene. Could you forget that? Listen to his testimony: “… I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it” (Galatians 1:13 KJV).
“Wasted”—that’s a Mafia term. While Christians slept, Saul of Tarsus and his zealots would break down their door, and, oblivious to the cries of children, take some parents to prison and others to the chopping block.
But now he goes back to those same towns to preach and when he stands in the pulpit, guess who’s sitting in the pews? The widows! The orphans! If Paul had not learned how to deal with his own past, he never would have written one of the thirteen best sellers we now call “epistles” or founded a church that would last for two thousand years.
This, then, is the man who writes, “This one thing I do, forgetting …” (Philippians 3:13). This book is written especially for three people; you could be one of them.
44 Jesus shouted, “Whoever believes in me doesn’t believe in me but in the one who sent me. 45 Whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. 46 I have come as a light into the world so that everyone who believes in me won’t live in darkness. 47 If people hear my words and don’t keep them, I don’t judge them. I didn’t come to judge the world but to save it. 48 Whoever rejects me and doesn’t receive my words will be judged at the last day by the word I have spoken. 49 I don’t speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me regarding what I should speak and say. 50 I know that his commandment is eternal life. Therefore, whatever I say is just as the Father has said to me.”
John 12:44-50 NRSV
A final appeal to belief: Jesus makes a last, passionate appeal to the multitude (44–50)
a. Then Jesus cried out and said: These are the last words in John’s gospel from Jesus to the public. In this last speech to the multitude, Jesus emphasized the themes of all His previous preaching in John.
b. He who sees Me sees Him who sent Me: Jesus stressed His unity with God the Father.
c. I have come as light into the world: Jesus stressed His own truthfulness, and the need man has to follow Jesus.
d. I do not judge Him: Jesus stressed His love and acceptance for the sinner; yet the word that I have spoken will judge Him—there are inescapable consequences for rejecting Jesus.
e. I have not spoken on My own authority: Jesus stressed His own submission to God the Father. His authority flowed from His submission to God the Father.
( John DGCB by David Guzik )
Some personal notes:
Jesus seems to emphasize some important points we need to consider in this reading. Here are five I share with you.
Reverend Patrick Vossen,