WAIT ON THE LORD

Waiting On The Lord

Don’t give up on God’s promises in your life. God does not count time as we do. Wait patiently, and with faith in His faithfulness, and you will receive them.

Delay is not denial. Timing is everything.

Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart.

“…follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. …”I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.” Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.”” Heb 6:12-15 NLT

TEAM

TeamChurch

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” Eph 4:11-12

TEAM = Teaching Everyone About Ministry

Hey church leaders, when you accept an invitation to lead a ministry in your local church, be willing to meet with and receive training and mentoring from your pastors. It’s their job to help equip you to be successful, and teach you how your ministry fits into the blueprint God has for the whole church. They have yours AND the church’s best interests at heart.

Leading other people under Christ is a great responsibility, and must be accompanied with great humility in order that Christ to be glorified, the flesh mortified, and the devil horrified. Humble yourself so that grace can flow to the low place.

Teaching everyone about how to work together in ministry is the only way for the local church to be a team that wins.

With a TEAM, you can reach your DREAM.

George W Black

 

CHARISMA OR CHARACTER

character_above_charisma

“Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.” Matt 7:15-20 Message Bible 

In Matthew chapter seven there is an astonishing statement about bad leaders in the Church, made by the Head of the Church (no, not the Pope, Jesus Christ…nothing against the Pope though :). I say astonishing, because given the religious climate of the time, it was definitely not politically correct. I have read “How To Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, and this is not that.

Jesus was the original counter revolutionary, but today religion often tries to tame him, co-opt him, leverage Him for selfish ambition, but rarely surrender to Him. (Saving this rant for another blog 🙂

I felt I was missing something powerful in the familiar words I was reading, until I decided to check the chapter out in the Message translation. As Chef Emeril Lagasse is known for saying, “BAM!” It hit me hard. “Jarring” is another term for it. I was glad it affected me. As long as I can feel the effect of Jesus words, I am not beyond hope, and neither are you. Let me explain.

Jesus hated the sin of falsely-religious people, and was harder on them than  anyone else. Maybe this is why religious people called Him a “friend of sinners.” Sinners are often less hypocritical about their true spiritual condition than religious people. ZINGER. Okay, I know I am already in hot water with somebody. Sorry. (Not!)

Having been raised on the King James Version of the Bible, my understanding can sometimes be limited by the preconceptions that still drape my mind when I read this older version, as wonderful as it once was. My go-to versions are the NKJV,  NLT, AMP, MESSAGE, and NET, in that order, but I use dozens.

Thankfully you don’t have to be a Greek or Hebrew scholar any more to uncover the expanded meanings of any word or verse in the Bible. Online Bible software makes it easy, and many modern versions of the Bible help in this process as well.

When I read verse 15, I was shocked at how absolutely brutal Jesus was on ministers that have lost their first love – um, er, that is putting it nicely. 

Sometimes our nice, polite, word-for-word English translations, don’t really convey the full meaning originally intended. If ministers can backslide as low as Jesus was indicating (diseased trees with bad apples, WOW!) no wonder our churches and members are so far from God. When the blind lead the blind, Jesus said they both fall in a ditch (Matt 15:14) or lose their tails, as in the old nursery rhyme, “Three Blind Mice.”

Dear fellow pastors, ministers, and every Christ-follower: none of us are beyond the deception and danger that Jesus referenced. It has repeatedly occurred throughout history, and is the principle reason so many today discount our God and distrust the “clergy.” (I really hate that term…not sure why.) We must be brutally honest with our own hearts before we can lead people as Christ intends, and I know it starts with numero uno. How about you?

Physical blindness is not often an immediate condition.  There are accidents of course that can cause it, but most lose sight gradually, over time. Cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, all progress with time when left untreated.

So does spiritual blindness, which leads to faking it.

Spiritual blindness results from knowing what God is asking us to do, and ignoring it, repeatedly. The theological term for this is “penal blindness.” Jesus said “to whom much is given, from him much will be required.” (Lk 12:48) In other words, God holds us accountable for the light we receive, and will judge us accordingly.

In God’s love and mercy, He begins withholding light (understanding and revelation) when we begin moving into disobedience. He does this so He does not have to judge us. The result is somewhat akin to Hans Christian Andersen’s short story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Our religious traditions (faking it) take the place of true spiritual revelation and direction, but we still think everything is okay. We be lookin fine, right? Wrong!

Been there, done that, and even bought the T-shirt. Who hasn’t? But God had mercy on me, and still does, every day, and He will for you too. But we can’t “fake it till we make it.” We have to fall on the rock and be broken, and then He can use us. Multiplication always follows brokenness, as in the story of the five loaves and two fish.

Religious people are the worst offenders because they (sometimes we) can develop a HABIT of ignoring God’s obvious truth and direction, in favor of our own preferences, practices, traditions, titles, etc. Jesus characterized the religious people of His day as, “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matt 23:24 NKJV)

This was really funny when Jesus said it. I mean, seriously, can you imagine an “in your face” conversation where the Lord is saying this to falsely religious people? Talk about Laugh Out Loud. This is hilarious stuff…hit em again Jesus…unless He is saying it to you.

Jesus was using hyperbole, meant to highlight their hypocrisy. Aren’t we sometimes just as guilty? Yup.

“Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.” Matt 15:6 NKJV

We undo the effect of God’s Word every time we excuse ourselves from being doers of the Word, and become hearers only.

But how did they become so blind?

They became blind a little at a time.

A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Ouch. I know. Truth is a two-edged sword…or maybe today we can call it a surgeons scalpel, the kind used to take out the cancer that will eventually kill us.

If you can still say “cut me Jesus”, your gonna make it.

The only way to prevent penal blindness is to repent quickly when we become aware of our sin. When we don’t, our hearts become desensitized to sin. When we don’t deal with our sins, even religious sins of pride, etc., they will deal with us. Religious sin, and all sin, is like seeds that will one day produce a harvest. You can fake it for a while, but harvest-time is coming.

No thanks. God has better plans for my life, and yours.

“You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.” Heb 3:13 NLT

Maybe this is one reason that the New Testament epistle to the Hebrews places repentance from dead works at the #1 spot on the top-six-list of the doctrines/core teachings of Christ. (Heb 6:1)

Repentance is a word that most today do not fully understand. It is not just feeling sorry for our sins and disobedience. Real repentance is a decision that always bears fruit. (Matt 3:8) This fruit is having a change of mind that agrees with God, agrees that He is completely right and we are completely wrong, and then takes action to change course and go God’s way.

For instance, if am leaving Memphis TN and trying to go to Little Rock Arkansas (which is West), I may “feel” that going East is more appropriate. I may prefer going East. My habit may be to go East. But going East from Memphis is taking me to Nashville, not Little Rock. The best thing I can do is consult the road map (or GPS – Global Positioning System ) to determine the right course to follow.

The Bible is God’s road map for our life on earth. It is God’s Positioning System.

If you consult a map and find you are headed in the wrong direction, it doesn’t matter how sorry you may feel. It doesn’t matter if you cry about it, and tell others how sad you are that you are going the wrong way. It doesn’t matter if you tell people it’s just your nature to drive East, because that’s what you have always done (habit).

If you are headed the wrong way, there is only one solution – EXIT & TURN AROUND! You must change your mind  to agree with the map about the direction you are going, and then be willing to course correct.

If you don’t get off the interstate when you are headed in the wrong direction, there is no repentance. Repentance is not a feeling or an emotion, it is a decision that is demonstrated by changing direction. There have been many times I was headed in the wrong direction. I was sincere, but I was sincerely wrong. I had to repent.

Maintaining the wrong course never gets you to the right destination.

Many church members, pastors, ministers, churches, Christian organizations, etc. are headed in the wrong direction today. They are building on the foundations of men rather than Christ. But there is a solution to the problem – TAKE THE NEXT EXIT & CHANGE DIRECTION.

God is gracious and full of mercy, but we have to admit-it to quit-it. Only then does the fruit of repentance bring us back into alignment with the perfect will of our Father, and glorify Him.

My prayer is that Jesus will help us never bring dishonor to His name through the sin of religiosity, or any other sin. I pray that He will help us find the place of repentance when we begin to fall away in our hearts, and that instead of faking it, we will deal with our sin before it deals with us.

We need another great awakening, for His honor and glory and Kingdom expansion alone. I believe it is coming, but it will be the fruit of true spiritual vision, and real repentance from dead works.

“Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character.”

George W Black

NEW BEGINNINGS

new-beginnings

Gen 1:1-3 NLT “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. {2} The earth was empty, a formless mass cloaked in darkness. And the Spirit of God was hovering over its surface. {3} Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

Our  church builder for Rejoice Church, Rusty Kirk, declares that God is a Baseball fan because the Bible begins with “In the Big Inning.” And to be sure, the Creation of the heavens and the earth was the biggest inning ever.

As the Master Architect of the Universe, God set a precedent with beginnings. Everything has a beginning, and very often the way a thing begins is also how it continues…or ends.

The “seed” that is planted at the first has tremendous influence over what follows. Every beginning releases a “genetic code” of sorts that silently and invisibly shapes and guides the events that follow. A natural plant seed is self explanatory, as is the conception of a child. But the impact of beginnings, and new beginnings, affects so many other things.

The habits we learn at an early age, both good ones and bad ones, have long term affects on how we conduct our lives. Something as simple as the way we start our day often affects how the rest of the day goes. Sports teams always want to score first in the game to propel them to confidence and victory. Beginnings are very important. God designed this into the universe, and our psyche.

The first chapter of Genesis chronicles a new beginning for the earth, a recreation from former devastation. In so doing, God carefully crafted the elements or “seed” of this new beginning, already knowing what would follow. In like manner God crafts the elements in our new life in Christ. The proper beginning of a new Christian’s life is vital to survival. This is why the Bible says God puts the solitary in families. (Ps. 68:6)

Babies need the care and nurture of a family, both naturally and spiritually. A baby learns its’ identity from it’s parents and siblings. A lack of proper “family” influence in the beginning can contribute to a life of emptiness, formlessness, and darkness. Without proper guidance and direction we may never find and fulfill our purpose.

This is one of the many reasons the local church is so vital. The church is a family where new Christians can learn their identity in Christ. Jesus said His sheep know His voice. But He didn’t say His lambs did. So how do the lambs learn the Master’s voice? By following the sheep, who are the mature Christians who have already been formed by family and parental relationships.

If you have not yet found your spiritual home, it’s time to stop floating and start finding. Jesus said ask you and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. You need a local church family that can be your “ohana”. Ohana is the Hawaiian word for “family.” And as Lilo famously stated in Lilo & Stitch, “Family” means no one gets left behind.”

Family and formation take place through divine connections. Divine connections remove the darkness and confusion of formlessness. Only within the context of true family can we learn our true calling and purpose.

But let me take it a step further. Local churches and ministries need to be in families too. Pastor Brian Moore stated at the Rejoice International Summit in May of 2014, “Not every network is the right network. You have to be in the right network for the net to work.” Profound yet simple.

Each of us that are networking together with other churches bring something needed to the table that makes us all better. Our individual contributions strengthen and encourage. But this is only possible because there is a “table” from which to share. It is this common table that unites us in communion, and from which we all draw our inspiration and vision to do God’s work.

“Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

All for Jesus, George W Black

YOU ARE DESTINED TO WIN

Destined To Win

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Eph 6:10-12 NLT

I am seriously mad at the Devil. The Devil doesn’t play fair. We have to stop being surprised at the difficulties we face when we are serving the Lord. The Devil is good at being the Devil.

But God is good at being God! And you are destined to win with God is you don’t give up!!!

You will have to fight the good fight of faith. I tell my grands “whiners never win” when they are tempted to complain about their sibling getting the upper hand. They love that and giggle, and get back in the tussle. You need to as well.

The Devil knows you are called to be dangerous, so he throws hand-grenades and plants land-mines to blast and cripple you into submission. He we use whatever it takes to stop you, if he can. There is nothing too low for him to use, because he has no honor and no gentleman’s code of conduct. There is no Geneva Convention Rules. His only objective is your defeat.

Dear child of God, you must not give in or give up. You must not settle for where you are and what you are experiencing. Don’t let your present condition become your permanent condition. Defeat is not God’s plan for your life, it is not what Jesus died for, it is not God’s will and it is not God’s best.

It’s time to get up and fight back in the name of Jesus. You are not destined to be defeated, you are destined to win. Be a soldier of the Cross and accept your call to be a bright and shining light in a dark and dying world. The world did not understand Jesus, and it will not understand you. But you must not accept compromise to be accepted. You must not betray the One who died to set you free.

Jesus died to make you powerful, not comfortable. The Devil never takes a vacation, so stop going AWOL (absent without leave) every time he attacks you or hurts your feelings. Our warfare is not with flesh and blood. Jesus told Peter “get behind me Satan” and so must you. It is time to rise up in the authority of the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, and go on the offensive. The gates of Hell cannot withstand the attack of the lowliest saint when empowered by Christ Himself.

It is a given that the Devil will use every weapon at his disposal to discourage you from your mission in life.

If your enemies do not work, he will use your friends.

If poverty does not work, he will use prosperity.

If unemployment does not work he will use promotion.

If hardship will not work, he will use comfort.

Never underestimate Satan’s high schemes to bring you down. He dreams of neutralizing you, sidelining you, destroying God’s plan for your life because he knows you are destiny. The Devil knows your destiny because he knows what Jesus Christ paid for you on Calvary. You are the Blood washed, born again, Spirit filled child of the Most High God. Your destiny is to rule and reign with Jesus Christ both in this life and in the life to come.

“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” Eph 6:13 NLT

You can win if you will not give up. You can win if you will quit making excuses. Quit excusing yourself form the hard work of dedication and devotion. You can rise up in prayer with a renewed focus on your true purpose. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t throw in the towel. This makes the Devil glad. But it’s time to make him sad. It’s time to let him know the deceptions and lies have not worked. It’s time to push back on your negative circumstances and declare you cannot be bought, you cannot be pacified, and you will not be satisfied with a lukewarm Christian life.

I can feel Satan quaking in his boots as you read this. I know he knows you are through with weak willed living, and he is already scrambling for fresh ammunition. Don’t let him do it. Call him out right now. Declare yourself clearly and confidently. When the Devil tempted Jesus, our Lord’s only reply was to quote the Word of His Father. You must do likewise. Open your Bible, the incorruptible Word of God, and begin reading it out loud. Read Ephesians chapter six on spiritual warfare. Read Psalm 23 on the Lord being your Shepherd. Read your favorite verses. But by all means launch the Word of God with your words. Salvation and deliverance comes from believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth.

It’s time to get off the fence. Stop being double minded. God has said He will be with them that are with Him. Are you on the Lord’s side? Shout AMEN!!! Then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and throw yourself back into the fight. Read the back of THE BOOK – you win. YOU WIN IN THE END!

YOU ARE DESTINED TO WIN IF YOU DON’T GIVE UP!!!

“And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.” Gal 6:9 AMP

All for Jesus, George W Black

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