The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Posts Tagged ‘daily living’

Ear and Eye Choices

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 28, 2008

Can we LISTEN to and WATCH anything we want…AND if we can: How does this affect our lives?

YES – we “can” listen to or watch what we “want”. Even as a child of God, we still have the ability to make choices. Paul had that ability…and as a Christian, some of Paul’s choices weren’t very good ones! He tells us in Rom 7:15, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”

When we say we can listen to or watch “anything we want“, that speaks of and sounds like it’s all up to us, that God has given no direction in these matters, and that we are “our own”…and some others might say rebellion.

SO: How can we answer the question, “Can we listen to and watch anything we want“? To find the answer, let’s look at it in THREE WAYS: 

I. WHAT IS OUR ATTITUDE?

What’s your attitude on what you bring into the “eye-gate” and the “ear-gate”? What we view and what we hear can be broken down into 2 categories: Things of God, which are ALWAYS GOOD, and Things of the World, which are NOT ALWAYS BAD. Yes, you’re “reading it right“! You’ve just read that an Independent Baptist preacher said there are things of this world that are not always bad! For example: Do guns kill people? NO – People kill people! SO THEN: What does a television do to people? NOTHING! [Now just follow along with me] TVs, computers, radios, monitors – they’re all inanimate objects! These all LACK the QUALITIES of a living thing!

When we come home, our TV doesn’t automatically turn on, it doesn’t ask me how my day went, nor it doesn’t even take out the dogs or trash (YET!!!)…because it’s inanimate! AH…BUT the question is: What is our ATTITUDE toward these inanimate objects?

We will say that the TV is brainwashing us and our kids. We will say that the internet is just as bad, if not worse than, Hollywood. We will call these THINGS “time-wasters“…and they are…IF YOU LET THEM BE! These things will corrupt you and your children…IF YOU LET THEM! Please, let’s stop displacing the blame! Is it the TV’s fault or the internet’s fault for corruption in your home? Don’t they come with an OFF button? Who’s in control here? You’re allowing these inanimate objects to control you when you have the ability to make godly choices!

II. WHAT IS THE AFFECT?

What’s the affect of what we listen to and watch? What’s the affect of what comes through the eye and ear gates? There must be a profound and lasting affect on us, because Paul said in 1 Cor 6:12, “…all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any“. Paul’s saying that he could become a SLAVE unto what would come through his eye and ear gates!

Now here’s something that needs to be asked: “Will what I see and listen to make me it’s SLAVE?” Something that has an AFFECT on us will battle for our AFFECTION! How can we become a slave to inanimate objects and the things we hear and see? When we lose our control

We become enslaved when we’re brought under the power and influence of something else! Here’s a great exercise to determine if we’re under the influence of what we watch or listen to…can you say, “Thank you, Lord, for what I’m watching or for what I’m listening to…and I give you the glory for it“.

III. WHAT KIND OF ATTACHMENT IS THERE?

Do you agree we develop an attachment to things that affect us? We do, and I would say that it does matter what affects us because there’s a great chance of attachment to them.

What do you like to watch and what do you like to listen to? What’s your attitude with it? What affect do those things have on you? What kind of attachment is there?

HONESTLY ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS AND YOU’LL KNOW WHAT KIND OF EAR AND EYE CHOICE YOU’RE MAKING!

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Revival

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 19, 2008

WHAT IS IT? DO WE NEED IT? HOW CAN WE GET IT?

How would YOU answer these questions? I think before we can understand what revival IS, we must understand what revival IS NOT. Revival is not a series of evangelistic meetings. Revival is not an emotional experience that’s soon forgotten. Revival is not a popular fad or wave of change that comes and goes. None of this is revival. So what is it?

Revival defined by Webster is a restoration from a depressed, inactive, or unused state; the restoring of force or validity. With me personally, I’d like to think of revival as a rekindling of God’s fire in my heart. I’d like to think that when my heart doesn’t burn brightly for God as it once did and I catch myself just going through the motions and viewing my service more as duty than dedication and devotion, then I am primed for a personal revival. This is how I know I need revival. And to be honest with you, my reader, as I write this, I humbly confess that I need a personal revival…how about you? If you don’t, please pray for me; and if you are in need of a personal revival, let me know and I promise to pray for you.

How can we get revival? It can only come from God, and I believe God will only give us a true revival when we are truly determined to get it from God! 2 Chron 7:14, a very familiar but [I believe] applicable verse for our answer of “how can we get it“, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Did you notice God said, “IF…THEN”. God is a God of conditions. God WILL hear from Heaven, God WILL forgive sin, and God WILL heal the land IF God’s people humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wickedness. God will take you and me from a depressed, inactive and “just going through the motions” state and restore us – revive us – IF we would humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. How bad do YOU want revival?

How do you know you’ve had revival from the Lord? Let me just briefly touch on 3 ways:

#1: WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW ATTITUDE

You’re “I” problem must go away. You need to have J.O.Y. again – that’s Jesus, Others, and then You. You must see the lost just like the Lord Jesus sees them – with compassion and as sheep having no shepherd…hopeless without God.

#2: WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW ENTHUSIASM

You won’t “have to” read your Bible and pray…You’ll “want to” read your Bible and pray. You may just start singing those old hymns…in the shower! You’ll look forward to telling others of the Saviour. You just may add “AMEN” and “HALLELUJAH” to your vocabulary…and rejoicing will become a must!

#3: WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW DETERMINATION

How determined are you to serve God? How determined are you to find out and follow what God says? How determined are you to be determined to do right?

IS REVIVAL NEEDED AMONG THE CHILDREN OF GOD? Many today who claim the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ have become complacent, volatile, inflammatory, lethargic, self-righteous, apathetic, self-centered, and accusatory. Many have become outright sinful and couldn’t care less about it!  Nuff said.

Ps 85:6, “Wilt thou [LORD] not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”

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Mercy

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 10, 2008

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy

The Lord Jesus Christ [Matthew 5:7]

I’ve been preaching recently to our church on the “Blessed Attitudes“, or the Beatitudes, given by the Lord Jesus Christ in His opening of His Sermon on the Mount. WOW…what a study! I whole-heartily recommend every believer getting into studying what these principles truly mean and what the Lord Jesus is saying here in the beginning of His sermon.

I’ve been around a lot of Independent Baptist people in my walk with Christ, and one thing I’ve noticed about us is generally we have a hard time with…happiness – expressing our happiness or even somehow thinking it must be wrong that we can be spiritual and happy at the same time.

Now I know that’s “my opinion“, but I believe we get so focused on “the letter of the Law” – i.e., Doctrine – and don’t get me wrong…doctrine is vital! We have this saying at our church: Our methods are doctrinal and our motive is the love of Christ. Doctrine is truly vitally important, but I find many of us don’t express a consistent joy or happiness in our doctrine. I don’t know if we’re afraid to show much happiness because we’d be labeled charismatic or maybe “fleshly“…I don’t know…maybe I’ve just been around all kinds of “stuck-in-the-muds” since I’ve been saved 🙂 Help me out with this and let me know, but I’ve observed that many Independent Baptist people [I’ve been around] generally have a difficult time with being happy. [Again, please let me hear from you on this – is it the same with you, or do you observe true, Biblical happiness in our ranks or where you’re at?]

The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount is His longest and fullest discourse we have from Him in all four accounts of the Gospel. Jesus preaches His message to BELIEVERS. The Lord DOES NOT preach these Beatitudes with the idea, “Do these and you’ll earn Heaven and eternal life“…what He IS saying is, “As a saved child of God these principles WILL BE a mark in your life!” The Beatitudes are principles for Christians to live by, AND when followed, they’re meant to give us true, Biblical happiness!

Don’t believe me? What was the FIRST WORD out of the Lord’s mouth and repeated nine times in the opening of His message? BLESSED. The word blessed only means happiness of the highest kind! It would seem that the Lord Jesus cares that His followers would be happy. He’s concerned for your happiness. Christian, isn’t it “past-time” that you’d be joyful and happy in your walk with Christ? Study out and put into practice the “Blessed Attitudes” principles. They must be pretty important to have and apply – the Lord Jesus preached them!

How about this one – “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy“. Basically, the Lord is saying, “Ones who show mercy will have happiness of the highest kind, and they too will recieve mercy“. So, to have true, Biblical happiness, we must show mercy to others…okay…what does that mean?

WHAT IS MERCY

Before we can show it, we must know it. We must know what mercy means. When explaining the mercy of God, I like to say this in comparing Grace and Mercy:

Grace: God giving us what we DID NOT deserve / Mercy: God keeping from us what we DID deserve.

I think that’s a good definition of God’s mercy, but that’s not the definition we can use here in Matthew 5:7! Mercy here in verse 7 means COMPASSIONATE…but that’s not all it means…it goes further – this mercy means putting that compassion into action!

I think a great passage of Scripture to give us understanding on this mercy is James 2:15-16, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”

 

Basically James is saying, “What good is concern and compassion if it’s not put into action”…MERCY! If you have concern and compassion for others but it produces no beneficial action, IT’S WORTHLESS!

 

HOW CAN WE SHOW MERCY

 

We know that mercy is an action born out of concern and compassion, so that means the action of mercy will be put on display…it WILL BE shown! HOW? Well how about:

 

I. UNBIASLY

 

This means without prejudice; without any pre-judgment or partiality. We as believers can become pretty bias and partial in how we treat all kinds of folks, can’t we? We have a real problem in that we ‘play favorites’! We don’t like our children to play favorites with other children and leave out other kids, and we don’t like it when it’s done to us and we’re left out…BUT FOR SOME REASON, we find ourselves many times playing favorites! Unfortunately, that’s not something new with believers – see James 2:1-9. When James writes against having “respect of persons” he exactly means God is against us “playing favorites“.

 

Do you “play favorites” with mercy? Is your compassion in action only determined for a few or for anyone who truly needs it? Why aren’t you happy in Christ…[Matt 5:7].

 

II. SACRIFICIALLY

 

Remember the story the Lord tells of the good Samaritan? [to refresh your memory – Luke 10:30-35] In this story did you notice that there was NO personal benefit for the good Samaritan? He was just a man who had acted out his compassion for someone else!

 

You may never be publicly recognized for showing mercy. You may never get a plaque honoring you or a picture taken of you in recognition of your mercy…but your recipient will be glad that you showed mercy! SACRIFICE!

 

III. PERSONALLY

 

True mercy comes from one whose been shown mercy and understands what it means to need mercy. CHRISTIAN – If anyone should know, YOU ought to know what it means to need mercy! Haven’t you experienced the mercy of Christ at Salvation? If you’re truly born-again, you have! So knowing God’s mercy as we do, we in turn ought to extend that mercy unto others! Nowhere does the Christian imitate God more or have a greater testimony than in showing mercy – please see Matt 25:35-40.

 

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy”. MERCY is putting concern and compassion into action for the benefit of others – that’s what the Lord Jesus did on the cross!

 

DO YOU KNOW CHRIST’S MERCY TODAY?

DO YOU SHOW CHRIST’S MERCY TO OTHERS?

 

Are you truly happy in your walk with Christ – apply those “Blessed Attitudes”!!!

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Like Father, Like Son

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 7, 2008

Just for a moment, consider the similarities between Isaac and his father, Abraham…

#1: In the midst of a famine, Isaac leaves the Promised Land to search for better pastures – Gen 26:1, “And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.”

–In this, he followed his father, Abraham: Gen 12:10, “And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.”

#2: Isaac goes to sojourn with Abimelech the king of the Philistines: again, Gen 26:1, “…And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.”

–In this, he again follows his father, Abraham: Gen 20:1-2, “And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. [vs2] And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.”

#3: In fear for his life, Isaac tells that Rebekah, his wife, is his sister: Gen 26:7, “And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.”

–And that’s just what his father, Abraham, did: Gen 20:2, “And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.”

Just a COINCIDENCE or COPIED responses…

Isn’t it interesting how children pick up things from and imitate their parents?

…You know what I’m talking about.

GOD HELP US TO BE RIGHT EXAMPLES AND INFLUENCES FOR OUR CHILDREN…and for others’ children!

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Witnessing IS NOT a Gift

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 1, 2008

Have you heard something like this before, “I don’t think everyone of us is responsible to witness for Christ…I believe it’s only the pastor’s job and maybe a few others who have some special ability to witness. It’s not everyone’s job“.

IS IT TRUE THAT GREAT NUMBERS OF BELIEVERS ARE EXEMPT FROM THIS AREA OF SERVICE?

Certainly, there are many believers who do not really think they should be a vocal witness for their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Just take a peek into our churches that are supposed to be New Testament Bible-believing, evangelistic churches, and what will you find? Sadly, you’ll discover multitudes of believers who’ve NEVER reached and led a soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t it odd that this great number of “unevangelistic” brethren are members of “evangelistic” churches?

As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter“…

NO ONE CHRISTIAN IS EXCLUDED FROM BEING A VOCAL WITNESS FOR CHRIST!

What does the Bible have to say about this vital matter of witnessing? Well, the Bible DOES NOT teach that witnessing for Christ is a gift that is possessed by only a few choice folk. The Bible never says that only those who have “the gift” to witness are to witness for Jesus.

WITNESSING IS NOT A GIFT ~ IT IS A COMMAND!

 Matt 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:15, “And he {that’s Jesus, friends} said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” {NOTE: These are Christ’s last words on earth before ascending to the Father!}

Anyone who says that “only a select few” are to witness is simply not acquainted with the plain teaching of God’s Holy Word. That’s putting it nicely, don’t you think? How about this: If you think that there’s only a “select few” who have the responsibility to witness, you’re hiding behind a shallow excuse.

Stop clutching to your weaknesses, shyness, lack of training, fear, or any other excuse and start believing the God of the impossible who specializes in using weak vessels! There is not a single Christian who cannot become an effective revolutionary witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Witnessing IS NOT a gift; it is a COMMAND. God did not excuse the majority of His children from the most urgent task in all the world.

ARE YOU UP FOR THE TASK?

WITH GOD YOU ARE!

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The Employment of Your Tongue

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 29, 2008

Do you realize the Christian’s adversary – the devil – is in the word business? He cares much about what he says. He takes great interest in words. He even takes great interest in the ones he can influence to lie and to tear down! In fact, he’s ‘gainfully employed’ in the business of deception, lies, and deceit…and words are the tools of his trade! Remember the devil’s first words recorded in Scripture: “Yea, hath God said” and “Ye shall not surely die”.

The Lord Jesus said of Satan in John 8:44 that “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it“. SO: By what the Lord said in this verse, do you think it would be profitable unto the devil if he could lie about and make people doubt God’s Word? I believe the answer is YES…it would be profitable unto him!

 

BTW: Have you ever wondered why there are over 100 English translations of the Scriptures? I’m sure you’ve heard of the NIV [New International Version] and the NASV [New American Standard Version], etc, but have you ever heard of:

 

 The An Inclusive Version” [AIV]…Here’s the write-up on it:

 

There are two reasons for this new version. The languages into which the Bible is rendered are changing. New manuscripts are discovered that are older and more reliable, and new investigations into the meanings of words reveal that more accurate renderings are possible…People who have disabilities are not referred to as “the blind” or “the lame,” but as “people who are blind” or “those who are lame.” Because the church does not assume that God is a male being, in this version God is never referred to by a masculine pronoun, or by any pronoun at all. As the church does not believe that God is literally a father and understands “Father” to be a metaphor, “Father” is rendered in this version by a new metaphor, “Father-Mother.”

How about the “Cotton Patch Version” [CPV]…Here’s it’s write-up:

It is not only a translation into modern American English but into American ideas. It cuts across the time space barrier, and the scene shifts from a first century Greco-Roman world to twentieth century America where Paul is no longer an aristocratic Pharisee, but a converted Southerner who boldly speaks the mind of Christ on such matters as racism, brotherhood, possessions, church membership and responsibility, the claims of Christ, and personal Christian living. Its plain, hard-hitting language is earthy and sweaty, straight from the cotton fields and city streets.

Don’t you think that to make people doubt God’s Word the devil would publish deceptions of God’s Word? Oh yes, the devil is very involved and employed in the word business! He takes great interest in the ones he can influence for to lie and to tear down.

 

BUT LET’S NOT FORGET: GOD, TOO, takes a great interest in words! FAITH hinges on His Word – “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” [Rom 10:17]. His Word is held in the Highest Regard – “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindnessand for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” [Ps 138:2].

 

God takes great interest in what He says…and we’ve seen that the devil takes great interest in what he says…but have you realized THEY BOTH take great interest in what YOU and I say? Great interest is taken in our tongue! So let me ask you this: Is your tongue being employed in the faith?

Do you care about what you say?

Has your tongue been tamed?

–- Has it been brought under the influence of the Spirit of God?

 

Exodus 20:16 says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour“. Of course, this is the ninth commandment. I wanted you to see this again because I need you to see that God has taken the time to set aside 1 out of the 10 Commandments to tell us that we’re not supposed to lie!

 

NOW WHY DID GOD DO THAT?

 

–I believe it’s because God knows that our tongue – the words you and I speak – carry tremendous influence! IN WHAT WAYS do we influence with our speech, and HOW CAN WE employ our tongue?

 

I. YOUR TONGUE CAN BE EMPLOYED IN AN EDIFYING WAY

 

I’m sure you’ve experienced words that have influenced you in an edifying way. While in the Air Force I received one of many refrigerator magnets at a seminar we had to attend entitled “101 Ways to Praise a Child”. On the magnet were edifying statements like “Great job” and “What an effort“. There were 101 of them printed to remind us of 101 ways to edify our children…and that was the Air Force assisting us with this! It is very important that our tongue be employed in an EDIFYING WAY!

 

Eph 4:29, “Let no corrupt {meaning, rotten} communication proceed out of your mouth…”

 

Let me just interject this right here: Some of you may be in the habit of using swear words. Now not only is that a filthy and rotten habit, but it’s not edifying…AND, I believe, it also shows lack of intelligence and a weak vocabulary.

 

Do you know what word really makes me cringe…especially when I hear it from a very young or a very old person? Please excuse me…but it’s the word “sucks”. “That sucks”…what does that even mean? How did THIS become acceptable?

1 Cor 15:33, “evil communications corrupt good manners

Col 3:8, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth”.

 

Again, Eph 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt {rotten} communication proceed out of your mouth…” But the rest of vs29 says, “…but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

 

We’re supposed to be edifying one another, building up each other in the faith, and not tearing each other down! Let us employ our tongue in an edifying way!

 

II. YOUR TONGUE CAN BE EMPLOYED IN AN ETERNAL WAY

 

I have books I read that were written by men who’ve gone on before me…BUT: their words still have an influence on me! They “being dead yet speaketh”! They and their writings have an eternal influence on me. What they’ve written influence me for eternity AND others are being affected and influenced as well – WOW! You just don’t know how much influence your words have! What can YOU say that will influence someone for all eternity? How about the words of the Gospel? How about, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” [Luke 2:10-11].

 

Wow…our tongue has an eternal employment and influence. This is why God’s so interested in our tongue! And this is why the devil wants to influence you to lie and to tear others down.

 

III. YOUR TONGUE CAN BE EMPLOYED IN AN EVIL WAY

 

James 3:5-8, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! [vs6] And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. [vs7] For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: [vs8] But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

 

Must I explain this point further than James? We all know our tongue can be employed in the evil ways of gossip, lying, etc. Someone once said, “Opened by Mistake is more used for the mouth than the mail”!

 

THE WORDS YOU AND I SPEAK CARRY TREMENDOUS INFLUENCE…

HOW IS YOUR TONGUE EMPLOYED?

DO YOU HAVE TO APOLOGIZE TO SOMEONE FOR WHAT YOU’VE SAID?

DO YOU NEED TO ASK GOD’S FORGIVENESS FOR EMPLOYING YOUR TONGUE IN AN EVIL WAY?

 

AREN’T YOU TIRED OF TEARING OTHERS DOWN…

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When It’s Not Much Fun Anymore – Part 2

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 7, 2008

[To view part 1 of this post, please click here]

“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Psalm 51:12

 

Have YOU ever been there? Have you ever been at the point where YOU needed the joy of the Lord’s salvation restored unto you…for whatever reason? We see in Psalm 51 that the Sweet Psalmist of Israel, David, needed the JOY of the Lord’s salvation restored unto him…and there are times when we do as well!

We who’ve been saved the Lord Jesus Christ are constantly hounded by a thief [the devil] and he wants to rob us of the joy that accompanies our Lord’s precious salvation. The devil cannot steal our salvation, but he can definitely rob us of our joy.

 

So in part 1 of this post, I brought up this thought: What can YOU do when your walk with God isn’t much “fun” anymore?

Now I know the life of a Christian is not “one big party”…It’s not always “fun”, and we know that…

BUT: a Christian should experience JOY!

 

David himself knew and delighted in the happiness of being a friend of God and of having that blessed hope of salvation…but he lost that peace of mind due to his sin. Are YOU delighting in God’s fellowship and in the blessed hope of His salvation? Why not? What has stolen away your joy? Is your walk with God “not much fun anymore”?

 

Is there anything that can be done to see the joy of the Lord’s salvation restored in your life? There sure is! If sin has been used to steal that joy away – repent – turn back to God and get right with Him. But if you are in a right relationship with God, think on these remaining actions [and the actions from part 1] for His joy to be restored in you:

 

#4. RENEW YOUR VISION

 

Many have suffered the loss of vision in their place of service. Did you “use to have” a vision for what God would have you to do for Him where He has you…but now, nothing? Let me ask you – and be honest with yourself and before God – What stole that away? What has clouded that which used to be so clear?

 

#5. RE-ESTABLISH YOUR PRIORITIES

 

I love what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “This one thing I do…” He was a man that not only had priorities, but priorities in the right order. For Paul, God mattered most; it was God first – “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” [Phil 3:14].

 

Where are you at RIGHT NOW with God? Is God FIRST in your life? Do you love Him above all else? Do you love Him in spite of your situations and circumstances? Are His Word, His Works, and His Way most important to you? The joy of the Lord may only be a remembrance to you because your priorities may need to be re-established where God is FIRST.

 

#6. REJOICE IN THE LORD’S RICH BLESSINGS 

 

Psalm 51 is David’s “Psalm of Confession“. But Psalm 32 is what I call David’s “Record of Restoration“! Psalms 51 and 32 speak to the same situation in David’s life. Listen to David in Psalm 32:1-2, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. [vs2] Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”

 

What was the FIRST WORD of Psalm 32? BLESSED! Can you hear David rejoicing because he knew his transgressions were ‘forgotten and put away’? [vs1] Can you hear David rejoicing because he has been freed from the charge of sin in his life? [vs2] BLESSED IS THE MAN!!!

 

There’s something about rejoicing in the Lord’s rich blessings He has bestowed upon you! As the old hymn goes, “Count your many blessings – name them one by one – count your many blessings, see what God hath done“. Have you been suprised lately in what the Lord has done? Start thinking on what God has done, and it just may suprise you – AND, restore His joy within you!!! 

 

#7. RECLAIM THE PROMISES OF GOD

 

I really like this one. How many of us can honestly say that we are living on AND by God’s precious promises? Precious promises like:

 

The Promise of His Power

Phil 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

1 Cor 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

The Promise of His Perfect Provision

Phil 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

The Promise of His Presence

Heb 13:5, “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

The Promise of His Purpose

Rom 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Gal 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

The Promise of His Peace

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

The Promise of His Paradise (Heaven)

John 14:1-4, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. [vs2] In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. [vs3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. [vs4] And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”

Those are just SOME of God’s precious promises we can not only survive on, but thrive on! Take your belief in what God says to the point of commitment and trust, and reclaim the promises of God…your joy will be restored!

#8. REACH OUT TO SOMEONE ELSE

Remember a man named Onesiphorus2 Tim 1:16-18, “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: [vs17] But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. [vs18] The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.”

Onesiphorus found great joy in ministering to Paul and was a wonderful encourager to him – YOU OUGHT TO TRY IT! Minister instead of being ministered unto – make your outreach “reaching out” – to have true J.O.Y. it must be = Jesus, Others, then You.

 

#9. REMEMBER THOSE WHO’VE GONE ON BEFORE YOU

 

Heb 12:1 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”. This verse ought to remind us that there’s a great cloud of witnesses who have faithfully run their race and are now cheering us on from Heaven!

            They’ve passed the baton of the Gospel on to us that we might faithfully run our race.

Remember that we are called to be faithful…even when it is not much fun.

 

Never forget that the Source of your joy as a believer is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Return to your Bethel – Refuel your soul – Rest your body – Renew your vision – Re-establish your priorities – Rejoice in the Lord’s blessings – Reclaim the promises of God – Reach out to someone else – Remember those who’ve gone on before you

 

“Delight thyself also in the LORD” [Psalm 37:4]…even when it’s not much fun anymore!

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When It’s Not Much Fun Anymore – Part 1

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 4, 2008

“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Psalm 51:12

As some may already know, Psalm 51 is King David’s “Psalm of Confession” where he humbly confesses and laments over his sin before God.

 

It is obvious when the whole psalm is read that David was at a “low point” in his life. He had done some very bad things – he committed adultery and murder – and when he had heard the preaching from the prophet Nathan, he was convicted. His sin brought him to the point that his walk with God “wasn’t much fun anymore”. David lost the joy of the Lord’s salvation in his life…he didn’t lose his salvation – he lost salvation’s joy!

 

Have you ever been there? Have you ever been at the point where you needed the joy of the Lord’s salvation restored unto you…for whatever reason?

 

That’s a really dumb question, isn’t it? I mean, we who’ve been saved are constantly hounded by a thief, the devil, and he wants to rob us of our joy! He knows [and I want YOU to know] that he can’t steal away the salvation that only Jesus gives, but he does know that he CAN rob us of the joy that accompanies that salvation.

 

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR WALK WITH GOD ISN’T MUCH “FUN” ANYMORE?

 

Now listen – I know a Christian’s life is not one big party. It’s not always ‘fun’, and we know that! BUT: a Christian should experience JOY! David knew and delighted in the happiness of being a friend of God and of having that blessed hope of salvation, but because of his sin, he lost that peace of mind!

 

Are YOU delighting in God’s fellowship and in the blessed hope of His salvation? Why not??? Has your joy been stolen away? Is it not much fun anymore?

 

Your answer just may be, “I’m not sure…I don’t know”. There are ways of finding out the answer, for example:

 

1) Have you lost your enthusiasm for the Bible?

 

2) Do you find it hard to pray?

 

3) Is going to church a drudgery and just a duty?

 

4) Do you find yourself constantly forsaking fellowship with your church family?

 

5) Has it been easier to gossip and to tell lies?

 

6) Is your relationship with your spouse or with your children “not what it used to be”?

 

7) Is witnessing for the Lord lost it’s priority with you?

 

8] Do you feel hopeless and helpless, and do you think you lack effectiveness in your Christian service?

 

9) Has the air been let out of your “spiritual balloon”, and has the joy gone out of your Christian pilgrimage?

 

If you’re truly a born-again Christian and you can answer “YES” to these questions, you’ve been robbed! What’s it mean when your walk with Christ isn’t “much fun anymore”? What’s it mean when you aren’t experiencing the joy of the Lord’s salvation in your life?

 

It certainly doesn’t mean that you aren’t spiritual or that you don’t love the Lord. Nor does it mean that God isn’t at work in your life. It could just simply mean that it’s time to see some things happen in your life. When you get to the point where serving God isn’t a blessing and your walk with God has become dull, lifeless, and mechanical, God tells us what we can do to see the joy of His salvation restored unto us!

 

#1. RETURN TO YOUR BETHEL

 
Bethel was the place where God changed Jacob! [See Genesis 28:10-22] BUT: 20 years later, many things had gone on in Jacob’s life, and among other things, the joy of God had gone from him. SO: Jacob returns according to his vow to set up his altar unto God, and his joy in the Lord was restored. [See Genesis 35:1-7]

 

When was the last time you went back to the time when you were saved? When was the last time you just thought on that glorious day God changed you into a new creature in Christ?

 

When it’s “not much fun anymore”, there may be a need in your life for repentance and a returning to your Bethel…not to be “redeemed once again“, but to remember the time where you first knew the joy of the Lord!

 

#2. REFUEL YOUR SOUL

Sometimes the joy of the Lord’s salvation is stolen because you’ve become a depleted vessel! And many times you get depleted because you don’t wait upon the Lord. David said in Psalm 40:1, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry”! Isaiah 40:31 reminds us, “they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

You have to be aware that your soul needs refueling from time to time. You can only face your tomorrows for so long on yesterday’s filling!

#3. REST YOUR BODY

 Sometimes we go and we think that we’re so indestructible. But little do we know that physical fatigue becomes fertile soil for emotional, physical and spiritual discouragement! Nehemiah discovered this in Neh 4:10, “And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.” Did you notice that the work of building the wall stopped because “the strength of the bearers of burdens” decayed, or faltered and fatigued? YOUR BODY NEEDS REST!

Christian – Take good care of your body – it’s the temple of God! You just may need to take some time away from your stress. Try to get a good night’s rest for physical refreshment. Some people ‘burn out’ for God because they became physically worn out, AND that also leads to other problems!

End of Part 1 – Think on these things – Part 2 on the way soon

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B.U.S.Y.

Posted by Pastor Szekely on July 8, 2008

I don’t mean to be writing about the devil all the time, but here lately in these last three posts, the deceiver and father of lies has been the subject

The following is a story you may have read before, but it needs to be read again or for the first time. As you read it I pray you ask yourself, “Lord, is this me“?

Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep the Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the Truth. We can’t even keep them from conservative values. But we can do something else. We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship with Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that intimacy with Jesus Christ.”

“This is what I tell you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Saviour and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”

“How shall we do this?” shouted his angels.

Borrow and Spend“Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered. “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, then borrow, borrow, borrow. Convince the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6 or 7 days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work.”

“Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them Stressed Outto play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive, to keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their homes. And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-Biblical, contradicting music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.”

“Fill their coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, mail order catalogs, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.”

“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted, and unprepared for the coming week. Don’t let them go out in nature to reflect on God’s wonders. Send them to Amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies instead.”

“And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotion. Let them be involved in soul-winning, but crowd their lives with so many good causes that they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”

It was quite a convention in the end. And the evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy, and rush here and there.

Has the devil been successful at his scheme? You be the judge. How about this definition of “busy”:

  B – Being
  U – Under
    S – Satan’s
Y – Yoke

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Satan’s Strategy – Part 2

Posted by Pastor Szekely on July 5, 2008

We continue with our briefing on Satan’s strategy against God’s churches and the people of God.

Roaring LionRemember what 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”.

We should know something of our enemy before going into battle. 1 Peter 5:8 is a warning to every Christian soldier to be sober-minded, to not be distracted from keeping your watch, to be awake to the wiles and the power of the evil one, and to be on guard!

In part 1 we covered two of Satan’s strategies: he tries to cause DISCREDIT of God’s Word and he tries to cause DIVISION among God’s workers. Let’s press on with the briefing.

STRATEGY #3: Satan tries to cause DISSATISFACTION toward God’s will

Did you know that the devil wants to get your mind on PLEASURE, POPULARITY, and PROSPERITY so much that you’ll become dissatisfied toward God’s will? Here are some things the devil will say to cause dissatisfaction in you toward the will of God:

PLEASURE – “I know its Sunday…but wow! It’s a beautiful day! Spend it with the family. Go out to the lake and take some “me” time…you deserve a break today…God will understand…you’ll be in church next week! OR: “Wednesday…to church??? You’re just too tired to go to the prayer meeting! You can pray right here…in your bed…in front of the TV…God will understand! [You get the idea, right]

 

POPULARITY – “Why, you’re ‘some-body’ at work…you’ve got ‘responsibility’…you can’t go around witnessing to ones who work for you…I mean, what will they think?” OR: “Think of your ‘reputation’ around your ‘friends’…They’re going to call you names, make fun of you, and dump you because you spoke up for Christ!”

 

PROSPERITY – “You’ll never get rich tithing and offering unto the Lord…you can do that ‘after’ you have some money.” OR: “Missionaries are just ‘moochinaries’…it’s not your fault they went to a place where the dollar lost much of it’s value…anyway…how are YOU going to ‘get ahead’ if you keep giving offerings for those ‘moochinaries’?”

 

The devil’s a creep, but he knows what he’s doing! He’s employing his time-tested strategies to do his best to get you dissatisfied with God’s will! But the Bible says in 1 John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

 

STRATEGY #4: Satan tries to cause DEADNESS in God’s Worship

 

Just think about when you’re in church. You’ve devoted to God that time to be in His House, to hear a message from His Word, and to have the opportunity to be changed by His Spirit. But how many will lose that devotion throughout the services as they look forward to getting out of there and their mind gets to wandering…That’s just Satan’s strategy!!!

 

You see, through the week Satan has had a ‘field-day’ with polluting your mind:

T.V., pornography, ungodly music, and gossip

 

NOTE: I’m not against TV, but I am against the misuse of TV in our homes! The television is still one of the best “real-time” mediums we have for what’s going on around us…but with that said: The television is one of the greatest time-wasters and pollution-carrying mediums we have…and the computer’s not far behind!

 

Television is not wrong – if used properly! “Well, I don’t have cable or satellite, preacher…” Yea, but those DVDs you watch and those rabbit-ears you use still can be used by the devil to pollute your mind!

 

TRY THIS:

–When you sit down to watch something, everyone take a piece of paper and write 3 columns with the headings: CURSING & PROFANITY / NAKEDNESS / DISRESPECT & DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS

 

Every time any of these occur, make a mark…then, compare notes with each other…you’ll see how many times just these 3 things occur AND you’ll see what you’re catching [or missing] verses what you’re children aren’t catching…but really are!

 

ALSO: keep a time-log for 1 week of how much TV you consume verses how much Bible-reading you do…

But I have a hard time reading, preacher…” I wonder why!

 

Through the week Satan has had a ‘field-day’ polluting your mind causing a DEADNESS in God’s Worship!

 

Finally, there’s one other strategy Satan uses that I want to mention in our briefing that you need to know about…and it very well may be THE BEST strategy at Satan’s disposal at this time…

 

Strategy #5: DEPRESSION

 

The following illustration says it well:

          “It was advertised that the devil was going to put his tools up for sale. On the date of the sale, the tools were placed for public inspection; each tool being marked with its sale price. They were a treacherous lot of implements…Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Deceit, Lying, Pride, and so on.

          Laid apart from the rest was a harmless looking tool, well-worn and priced very high. “What is the name of this tool?” asked one of the purchasers, pointing to it. “That is Discouragement”, replied the devil. “Why have you priced it so high?” “Because it is more useful to me than the others. I can pry open and get inside a man’s heart with that when I cannot get near him with my other tools. Once I get inside, I can make him do what I choose. It is badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since very few people know that it belongs to me.”

 

I know this is “easy preaching, hard living“, but don’t let Satan discourage you in anyway! If you are God’s child the victory has already been won – we’re on the winning side! You must keep your faith on the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. If you do, the devil won’t have a chance to discourage you, even with his best tools or his best strategies!

 

BE PREPARED AND KNOW YOUR ENEMY BEFORE GOING INTO BATTLE!

 Our briefing is concluded, soldier.

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