Tuesday, April 29, 2014

When focus is kinda hard, vertical trust can also be kinda hard...

..therefore remain true to your Lord and never assume that your experience here is always a trial-less cake-walk, Christian. Too much is at stake. 

With all due respect, please be mindful minister that small spiritual compromises along the way, (character-lapses, sinful choices) can get you quickly disqualified, snared, and out of ministry. Is it worth it? No! You want real freedom. Too many get distracted away from Christ and..CRASH.. become ship-wreck-like. Start by praying for other ministers, people in general, and for other churches.. even if you don't think they deserve it. Your pulpit is no place to compete, put em down, or "settle the score." How are we going to have time to fish for souls if we're too busy fightin' with other fishers that we feel (or even know) aren't walking right? Let's overcome evil with good.
Listen, here ain't really "There" (heaven). Yes, you know it can sometimes be a bit hard down here gettin' elbowed, scoffed at, shoved around etc. Jesus told us to love our enemies. He said that we need to learn and His yoke is easy for us. Man, that statement should really motivate us to study the Bible, to pray, and not to take-on any extra baggage in addition to His easy yoke for us.

The Apostle Paul admonished, "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." (2 Tim. 2:3-5). The Bible also urges all us to remain dead-bolted-like with our gaze upon our Chief Commander (the Lord of God's army).  

Question: Why do we think it's so strange when the Bible already cautioned us about that.. "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.." (1 Pet. 4:12).

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isa. 26:3).

"And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isa. 30:21).

I have a lot to learn (no more than that even), but want to encourage ya in this. Hear me out. I really don't mean to come off as smug or even slightly cavalier. Perhaps you or another faithful believer you know, might be laid-up at home in bed right now thinkin' "This guy has no clue as to what I've been through." You're right, I don't know (sorry if I've been insensitive). Please let me know so I can pray for y'all. Just sayin'..we're not home..yet. Think about things above where Christ is. Yes, our living hope is connected to our living God in our real home—Heaven.

I'm doin't that today.. thinkin' about Him and what's above with Him..like righteousness, peace, joy and loving fellowship in that awesome place of worship. Recently I heard that a dear pastor friend fell.. badly.. and now is out of work. Had a mega-church. Made a big dent. I so miss hearing him. His family is really hurting now and needs prayer. This is why I write. Let's humbly go the distance with our Lord without any sin-habits that destroy families. Listen, a study that was done.. For every 20 men who go into the ministry by the time they reach 60 years of age only one is still in Christian ministry.

Does God still love and have a plan for em? Sure. This man can repent and be restored even though it won't be in a pulpit. Hey, we all need to confess and repent at times.. and get back up. Are you like that now? Get up! Live a holy, pure and honest life and if you stumble over, get back up again. Stay away from those places you fall at. Not tryin' to look down on or guilt anyone. There's no condemnation in Christ..there's still hope in Him. If a sailor falls down on the ship's deck, it doesn't mean he fell out of or off the ship. Integrity, consistency, and fortitude are so needed today. It's not too late to build a good foundation with the Word. Character counts! Sampson was a skirt-chaser and it cost him his sight and more. Prideful King Saul also didn't have good character. He disobeyed God repeatedly and had no one to blame but himself. What will you choose?

If you have a breakdown in your character, you will lose-out and others will too who need to be ministered to.

Of course many men were never called to this and are now out, and many get burned out (or forced out) by cruel abusive religious-acting leaders who among themselves.. like to control n vote gobs and maintain things more than they care about people. And then many have simply been disqualified cuz of bad choices. Keep on going with the Word no matter what others do.

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar: 'We don't need to answer your question. If our God—the one we serve—is able to rescue us from the furnace of flaming fire and from your power, Your Majesty, then let him rescue us. But if he doesn't, know this for certain, Your Majesty: we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you've set up." Read Dan. 3:8-30

If you lose integrity in Christ, you lose everything. Be biblical. Godly character is basically ..good habits continued long and for the glory of God.

The Apostle Paul said, "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." 1 Timothy 1:12-13

You already undoubtedly know how frustrating it can be deal with all kinds of beloved Christians (yup, carnally minded, worldly minded, nominal believers, and the religiously minded who ain't biblically n spiritually minded) who seek to undermine us or hinder us in the work sometimes. But that country soul-winner Vance Havner pointed out, "If we are too busy using our sickles on one another, we're going to miss the harvest."

Be busier seeking the Lord and His willt, and winning those lost people around you He cares about, and in properly disciplining the others who already know Him...just like Jesus would (and did) do. Why? Cuz when we get all distracted and busy in the flesh with infighting, arguing all the time over really minor and other non-essential points, we can literally miss the big picture of a lost world goin' astray every day, a world of confused people that primarily need to hear the Gospel of Christ. Let's never get all caught up in arguing with other believers or with non-believers and then miss God-given opportunities to share the Good News with the lost.

Okay, so what practical steps are you saying we take, Kurt?

Take these steps. Forgive em and stay sweet (not too sweet like those in the world can be..) in your spirit towards all people and leaders. Really know the Lord. Be holy like He is. Fear God daily. Rejoice in Him. All-out praise and thank the Lord in your circumstances. There will be more than gobs to thank Hm for. Yes, and remain in tight connection with Him and His Body (the local church) wherever He leads you. Become fruitful with His character, and not become tainted or disqualified. #prA2day

Accept the humiliation of (temporary) lame circumstances. Reject being distracted away from Christ who is all-sufficient for every situation and still loves you. Decline becoming prayer-less, or hard-hearted, or spiritually-jaundiced, or numbed from disillusionment, cynicism or lack of fellowship. Reject grumpy gripey murmuring. Don't wasting your pains or sorrows. 

Cuz of Adam's fall (Gen. 3), "the creation was subjected to futility" (Rom. 8:20). And Paul refers to this "futility" as "bondage to corruption" (Rom. 8:21). And believers are not immune to the horrors, troubles, and upheavals of disease or calamity down here. Sometimes we are "groaning together in the pains of childbirth" if ya will (Rom. 8:22). That is, this kinda junk will usher in a new creation. So 'til we are raptured or in some other way outta here, keep your focus primarily on Jesus Christ. He's got a good plan. Hit like at: facebook.com/shareJesus 
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