Brass for Gold (1 Kings 14:25-27)

Each year, my family tries to get away on vacation and go to the eastern seashore. There we try to relax, forget about all of the busyness of life and enjoy the ocean. For just one week, all the cares of work, bills, house repairs, and everything else that is burdensome is put on the shelf.

However, for the Christian this type of escaping can never happen. For the Believer, each day is yet a continuation of the battle that was experienced the day before. Regardless of where you go or what you try to do to escape it can never be accomplished. There is a battle everyday. The Christian life is not a life of ease, but it is definitely better than the life without God.

There are times when the believer does not experience victory. This can happen because of yielding to sin or by the believer trying to fight the battle on his own. When we are losing the battle, the enemy is able to gain an advantage and not completely take over. They are just able to get a foothold into the Christian’s life. If their foothold is not recognized, more ground will be gained in future battles until the heart of the believer is completely turned against God.

The first ground taken or foothold gained occurs when the enemy steals away the treasures of the Christian. For King Rehoboam, the treasures of the temple along with the shields of gold were taken away by Shishak of Egypt.

And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem: And he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made. And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king’s house. (1 Kings 14:25-27)

For the believer, his treasures are joy, happiness, the blessings of God and the peace which passes all understanding. Once these are taken, he lives the substitute life. Rehoboam replaced the gold with brass. It looked similar, but it wasn’t. It was just a substitute. The believer who is beginning to lose the battle, struggles to put on the joy, happiness and peace that he once had. At best his shows the substitutes. His smile isn’t real, his shout is weak and he stumbles in his walk. All the while, his heart is deceiving him.

For this reason, we must continue to read God’s word so that he can pierce our hearts, show us our condition, grant us repentance and restore us again with his blessings. We must continually yield ourselves to him so that he can guides us back to himself.

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An Evil Servant (Matthew 24:48-49)

During a discourse with the disciples, Jesus spoke of a wise servant contrasted him with an evil one. The wise servant treated his household well, but the evil beat his fellow servants and began to drink with the drunken. Why? Why would the evil servant turn against fellow servants and begin to beat them?

But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; (Matthew 24:48-49)

One possible reason could be that the evil servant saw the other servants as less than him. All of the people were servants, but he was given the responsibility of the household. At some point, pride must have entered his heart and his view towards them changed. Because he saw them as less than himself, he began to treat them lower than how he expected to be treated himself.

He may also have beaten them out of frustration. As the servants failed to perform to his expectations, he may have become angry. Instead of dealing with the servants’ short comings in a proper manner, he took out his anger on them. Because of their failures, his anger and frustration, he beat them in an attempt to get them to perform as expected.

The unwise servant may also have beaten his fellow servants in an attempt to get more out of them than their potential. He was not satisfied with what they could do and therefore tried beating them to get more out of them.

He did all of this because he failed to focus on the return of his Lord and to recognize that the work was not his but, The Lord’s who gave him the responsibility.

Ministers should never act in this manner. They should never attack those who look to them for leadership nor take out their frustrations upon the sheep. They are given the responsibility of leading fellow sheep and should never fail to recognize that they are equal to those that they lead. They may be give a position and responsibility greater than other sheep, but they still are sheep. Sadly to say, there are some who strive to build works greater than The Lord expects from them and in their attempt, they drive their people to accomplish more than what even The Lord expects from their. They may not beat them physically, but their actions are just as wrong and hurtful. Ministers should strive to keep their perspective of God’s work equal to God’s perspective.

Parents can fall into this same error. Out of anger and frustration they can treat their children in wrongful manners because they see them as possessions instead of people for whom they have been given a great responsibility. They also error in the treatment if their children by driving them to accomplish their expectations instead of the Lord’s.

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What Does God Expect From Me (Matthew 24:45-46)

When it comes to my relationships with people, what does God expect from me? I have heard many messages on this topic and each seems different from the others. Their answers seem to reflect a combination of opinion and scripture. If I am supposed to love God and live a life that pleases him, how should it be?

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (Matthew 24:45-46)

This passage reflects God’s will for how we should treat and interact with those whom God has brought into our lives. God has set each of us over a household. Household does not necessarily refer to those living under the roof of a house. It comes from the word therapeia, which is similar to the words therapy or healing. Therefore, God has set each of us over a group of people and has given us the responsibility of providing meat or nourishment, which is what they need to heal as believers. Healing from hurt, pain, sorrow, worry, and fear is what God wants to do in each of their lives. God chooses to use people in his work and he requires that we be faithful in fulfilling our responsibilities in this work. Our “household” may consist of our family, a Sunday school class or an educational classroom. It can include coworkers, peers, neighbors and those in our community. We have been given by God all that we need to provide what they need to fulfill his plan for their lives.

Those who conscientiously live recognizing this responsibility towards others and strive to be used of God to meet their nourishment needs for healing will be called wise and faithful. Additionally, God says that they will be supremely blessed. We must stop focusing on just one entity of our household, but instead focus on the whole.

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Do You Push People From Jesus? (Matthew 20:31)

In some cities, the people brought the sick into the streets and sought The Lord to heal them. And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole. (Mark 6:56)

However as Jesus left Jericho, two blind men were crying their hearts out for him to come and heal them, but the people rebuked them and told them to hold their peace (Matthew 20:31). Why was it that the people in one city shunned the needy, but people from another city brought them to Jesus?

There are two reasons why this could occur. The first cause would be that the people who shunned away the needy had a distorted view of Jesus: who he was and what he could do. Those who had this diminished or wrong view of Jesus failed to see his willingness and ability to heal or save those who would come to him.

Another possible reason why people pushed the needy away from Jesus was because they had a selfish view of him. They didn’t care about those who lived around them, but instead were concerned only about what they needed or desired and what they could get from Jesus.

We aren’t any different today. What we believe about Jesus determines what we will do with him. If we recognize Jesus’ ability and purpose, we will strive to aid him in his work at reaching out to the needy. However if we fail to see this, our view will be what can Jesus do for me?

How do you see Jesus? The question can be best answered with another question. What are you doing with Jesus? Are you sharing with others how you have experienced his love, forgiveness, strength and mercy or do you simply hoard what you get from Jesus?

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I Am Tired Of Forgiving (Luke 17:3)

I have been in the same church for over 30 years. I have many friends in the church: with some I am very close while others are a little distant. I have worked together with many of them on projects, ministry outreaches, and missions trips, but not without incidents or problems. Some problems were worked out quickly because all in involved applied biblical principles. However many situations arose where problems occurred that did not get resolved as expected. Feelings were hurt, people refused to communicate with each other, resentments grew, which resulted in words and actions of anger.

Why? I thought that the church was supposed to be a wonderful place where believers could experience a little bit of Heaven on Earth. The church is a wonderful place, but it is made up of believers that still have their sin natures and many do not always act and respond to problems as stated in the scriptures.

The Lord admonishes us about forgiving our brothers. In fact, he tells us that if a brother sins seven times in a day, repents and asks for forgiveness, we are to forgive.

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. (Luke 17:3)

With this passage many focus on and teach that we must continually forgive those who repent and seek forgiveness for sin, but this passage teaches more than that. It reveals that brothers and sisters in Christ, who truly repent of sinful actions, can quickly fall back into that very sin. We must understand that some believers are in a great battle with anger. While others battle to bridle their tongue and engage in this battle continually. People can become bound in more sins than just alcohol, drugs and pornography. These people, that we love and who continually fall into sin and seek forgiveness, are just as bound. As we deal with each other, we must remember this and exercise longsuffering, mercy and compassion.

When we understand the battle with sin that others are experiencing, it makes it much easier to forgive.

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Ye Hypocrites (Matthew 22:18)

What is a hypocrite? If you asked the average person to define a hypocrite, they would state something along the lines of a person who states how people should live and does not live that way. At first glance it sounds good, but in reality it is wrong. For those of us who are familiar with the scriptures, we know exactly how a person should live. We know what the bible says about anger, forgiveness, pride, greed, lust, covetousness, fear, faith, compassion and the list goes on, but do you know anybody who always lives up to the biblical standard to which they know? I’ll be the first to admit it. I don’t live up to what I know. There are times I should respond to people with mercy and compassion, but instead I have become angry. There have been countless times when I should have had compassion towards others, but I acted in response to my own desires and needs. All of us fall into this same situation, but does that makes us hypocrites?

Because of this thought about hypocrisy, many live their lives feeling like a hypocrite. One of their greatest desires is that one day they will be able to live like they know they should live. Their life is one of guilt and personal shame. But we must stop and ask ourselves something, “Does God see them as hypocrites?”

In this passage, Pharisees and Herodians came to Jesus with the pretense that they believed that he was good, a teacher of God and not biased in his dealings with people, but it was a disguise so that they may trick him with their question about Caesar and taxes. Jesus responded to them with the accusation of them being hypocrites. (But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Matthew 22:18). These people actually were hypocrites because a hypocrite is defined as an actor under an assumed character. In other words, he is a person who pretends to be something that he is not. They pretended to believe in Jesus, but in actuality they did not.

Are you a hypocrite? Do you disguise yourself to be a lover of The Lord Jesus and pretend to act as if you strive to live for him? If so, you are a hypocrite. However, if you love The Lord, long to please him and strive to guard the commandments in your heart so that even the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart are acceptable in his sight and yet fall to temptation, you are not an hypocrite. You are a sinner saved by grace.

Stop and think! Did Jesus call Peter a hypocrite after he denied him three times? In light of David’s sins, was he considered a hypocrite? No, he was a man after God’s own heart. Just because you struggle with sin and fall to temptation does not make you a hypocrite. A hypocrite plans to be one. He disguises himself to be something that he knows he is not. You know what you are. You are saved. You love The Lord and you strive to live for him. Hold your head up. You are not a hypocrite.

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Repentance Precedes Believing (Matthew 21:32)

How do people get to the point of believing? As sinners, our nature led us away from God and opposed him in every way. All the while our deceitful hearts blinded us to our condition. As the truth of the gospel was given to us, light illuminated our darkness exposing our true condition. In order for us to believe the gospel and be saved, repentance needed to take place. Repentance occurs when the heart of man ceases to resist God and yields in agreement with God’s view about him being a sinner and in need of a savior. At this point, pride, the root of all sins, has left the heart of man allowing truth from the word of God to create faith.

This same series of events works in believers after salvation as well. When trials or even troubles from sin occur, we usually try to deliver ourselves. When all else fails, we turn to God and ask for deliverance, but fail to see results. We either accuse God of not listening to our prayer or wait for some feeling or sign that we have enough faith to pray for the needed answer. What we fail to do is repent of our prideful acts of self deliverance. Until repentance and confession occur, we will not have the faith needed.

Jesus pointed this out to the Pharisees. They did not believe in the Lord, but then had the opportunity to see the miraculous works of salvation in the lives of publicans and harlots, but even after that, they would not repent of their beliefs about him so that they might believe in him.

For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him. (Matthew 21:32)

So, as you faces trials, troubles or consequences of sin, stop and look to see what efforts you are doing to deliver yourself. Repent of these so that the Holy Spirit may do a work of grace in your life and enable you to believe and experience his deliverance.

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