God’s Sanctuary Has No Walls and Open Doors

the rock is where church is

God’s Sanctuary Has No Walls and Open Doors

On that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city. Salvation is established as walls and ramparts. Open the gates so a righteous nation can come in; one that remains faithful. You will keep in perfect peace the mind [that is] dependent [on You], for it is trusting in You. Trust in the Lord forever, because in  Yah, the Lord, is an everlasting rock! For He has humbled those who live in lofty places – an inaccessible city. He brings it down; He brings it down to the ground; He throws it to the dust. Feet trample it, the feet of the humble, the steps of the poor. Isaiah 26:1-6 (HCSB)

Jerusalem was the pride of Judah, but it also was a city that was built upon a philosophy of exclusion in its history. The city gates were like a filter that allowed only the acceptable to enter. However, although it was considered an almost impregnable city with its lofty location on Mt. Zion and magnificent walls and hefty gates that could withstand any assault, what man builds is never a match for the Lord and His plans. Jerusalem in its history was conquered and destroyed twice as a consequence to their arrogance and inward, exclusive attitudes.

When we depend upon our own manufactured defenses that create walls that separate and divide us from others, God is never pleased. I have entered many churches where it truly is a sanctuary of seclusion and exclusion. I once served at a church where the people were sad about how their congregation had dwindled and died off until there were but a small group left of older, original members. They said, “We have failed to keep the church filled; even our own children and their children have left. Would you help us rebuild our church and fill these empty rooms and this sanctuary once again?” I rolled up my sleeves and for months we slowly opened the doors to the church and people began to visit and share with the people inside the church, however there was an uneasy feeling among the older members. The more I inquired for answers, the more I discovered their fear. What they feared was the community! They built their church in a community that had changed over the years and now the original older members lived in homes that were in new neighborhoods far from their original neighborhood that surrounded the church.  Their old mill town community, in their mind, had become a dangerous place to call home anymore. Right after a revival that the church held which was attended by many of the local families, I stumbled upon a meeting of the older men. They were plotting on ways to stop the change and to return the church to being what they wanted it to be: a sanctuary behind brick walls and closed doors that separated them from those strangers they feared in the community where the church was located. Needless to say, I realized my days as pastor there were done, and I prayed for the members as I left. Within weeks I noticed the lit church sign out front did not say “Welcome All” as it once did. Funerals still occurred in that church. And there was a sign I remember seeing as you left the fellowship hall: “Remember last one out, please turn out the lights!”

Churches are not buildings of brick and mortar. Churches are not to be bought and sold. Churches are not the furnishings and ornate windows. Churches are definitely not supposed to be identified by their massive doors that separate those on the inside from those on the outside. As I tried to share with the members of the church there, the church exists beyond the walls where people are sharing with people, not out of fear but love. There is where God’s plan of salvation is being experienced as disciples are making new disciples as God works in the hearts of men, women and children alike. The moment we assume ownership in the church, God is never pleased, and once in a while He will teach such a church just like He taught Jerusalem. God’s church does not need walls and He can and will remove them when it is necessary to get the point across.

Coach

Why We Believe What We Believe Matters

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What was Jesus thinking as he paused on the Mount Olives before he entered Jerusalem that final journey 2000 years ago?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus paused at the precipice of the Mount of Olives and reflected upon the past that pushed him forward to the future that awaited him. What took place in Jerusalem leading up to his death and resurrection was not arbitrary or out of some spontaneous reaction to the actions of others. Jesus anticipated the events that would follow, which lead to his persecution and ultimate crucifixion. Therefore, the why behind his motives matters.

Below is a link to my “Passion of Christ Harmony of the Gospels” – enjoy reading his story from a compiled perspective that each of the Gospel authors provided. Focus on the message and not the “historical details,” although what happened to Jesus is recorded in history.

Just as Jesus paused in the present moment, we too should take time to pause and look back on the past that had shaped us and pushed us to where we are today, and then turn our eyes to what lies ahead with the same anticipation to gaze upon the future that our past choices have led us to face.

As you read the Passion Story, truly ask yourself, “Why do I believe what I believe about Jesus?”

God bless and your comments and feedback appreciated.

COACH

Passion of the Christ Commentary Harmony

Click and save the PDF link to read the story from a fresh perspective to understand why Jesus and his loyal disciples entered Jerusalem… Why it matters to you!

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Wisdom = Competence & Confidence

We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master
We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master

Wisdom = Competence & Confidence

Maintain [your] competence and discretion. My son, don’t lose sight of them. They will be life for you and adornment for your neck. Then you will go safely on your way; your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant. Don’t fear sudden danger or the ruin of the wicked when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare.
Prov 3:21-26 (HCSB)

Those who are truly wise share common traits; you are competent and confident in all you think, say or do in life. Being competent comes from not only knowing everything one should know about any particular discipline, but also wisdom means you know how properly and rightly to utilize the knowledge you have. Seeking God’s gift of wisdom means you want more than just head knowledge but the proper understanding to apply our knowledge in the practical, everyday relationships and situations in life for everyone’s benefit, not just one’s self.

Further, competence entails more than knowing how to do something properly but also knowing the right manner, the right time, and the right purpose for the why and when decisions that impact others in our life. A wise person always considers the implications of their choices as they may impact the lives of others. When God’s wisdom is the filter, relationships are more important than revelations of knowledge.

A-wise-person-always
Finally, one who has sought the wisdom that comes from God has an unshakable confidence about his or her life. Not only does a wise person know how, why, and when to use their knowledge but they also have the confidence to use their knowledge, even when it may be difficult or even dangerous to do so. When God is the source of one’s wisdom there is no fear or reservation in using their wisdom for the right purposes in the right manner, according to God’s will and ways. There will be times that God uses the wise to be his agents to challenge the wrongs in this world, and that can come with a price, but when a person has competence and confidence, he is a formidable force because a wise person knows the source of their wisdom is from God. There is nothing that a truly wise person cannot handle because it is God who guides and directs all that person chooses to do.

Is this the kind of person you desire to be? First, seek to pursue with all your heart, soul and mind God’s will, way, and wisdom every day. As you invest yourself in this quest you will discover you are becoming more and more competent and confident as you mature more like Christ. In dealing with the issues in our crazy life, Christ shared the beginning of wisdom begins when we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the other things in life will be given to you.” The fears and anxieties cast shadows along our path but we should not allow those shadows to overcome our lives. Seek God first, and he will reveal that beyond the shadows his wisdom will be revealed.

Coach

“This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? …you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matt 6:25-34 (HCSB)

Father to Son Responsibility

We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master
We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master

Father to Son Responsibility

Listen, [my] sons, to a father’s discipline, and pay attention so that you may gain understanding, for I am giving you good instruction. Don’t abandon my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender and precious to my mother, he taught me and said: Your heart must hold on to my words. Keep my commands and live. Get wisdom, get understanding; don’t forget or turn away from the words of my mouth. Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you. Wisdom is supreme—so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; if you embrace her, she will honor you. She will place a garland of grace on your head; she will give you a crown of beauty.” Prov 4:1-9 (HCSB)

What our country needs today is more fathers involved and engaged in their families. Sons need strong role models to guide them as they grow and mature in the important stages of their life. However, sadly, many families today are forced to develop without a father active in the daily lives of the children. Mothers are left alone to raise the children and are overwhelmed and ill-equipped to provide the father’s role to their children. The results are children who grow up without the solid foundation of parental support that God intended from the beginning of time.

Isn’t it interesting that long before governments and nations were established, God ordained marriage and the raising of families as the foundation of society. Even the earliest nations were nothing more than extended families supporting one another for their common good and security. However, as government and religious institutions were established the pressure for power, prestige, and pleasure within these man-made institutions became far more important than maintaining God’s intended role of parents in the family setting. Society lost the connection of how a proper perspective on the power (influence and authority), prestige, and pleasure that the family relationship was intended to provide. Instead men sacrificed their parental roles and responsibilities for the benefits pursuit of fleeting power, prestige, and pleasure that they believed come from climbing social and secular ladders. The applause of men became more important than the applause of their family members.

Additionally, in recent decades women have been included in the same pursuits as men and fallen prey to the social and secular pursuit of power, prestige and pleasure that comes outside of the family. The definition of true success and the family has been further crippled as a result. The children have become the victims and paid the price, as mothers and fathers have shuffled their parental and familial responsibilities onto the shoulders of schools and churches and other social activities.

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Speaking primarily to the fathers, you have a responsibility designed and established by God to be the role model for your sons (and daughters) to promote God’s will, ways, and wisdom found in His Word. Children desire and deserve the applause of their fathers. Your most important applause should come from the eager response of your children seeking our approval for what they do, say and achieve.

America, what made us strong for many formidable decades was our agricultural family base, where multiple generations lived together on the farm supporting and encouraging each other. Everyone in the family shared in safeguarding the common good and security of the family members.

However, as America prospered and became more successful as an industrial society, families moved into the cities for the “so-called better life,” the traditional family structure suffered. Add the information age we currently are in, and now we find our children engaged in social networks looking for their acceptance and applause. Their role models are celebrities in sports, music and movies, and not their fathers or mothers.

Why? The answer is simpler than we realize: Our children need approval and guidance and are seeking it from convenient and welcoming connections outside of their family, such as the social media, because their parental role models are too busy pursuing their own lives.

Let us be reminded what God wants us to remember: When I was a son with my father, tender and precious to my mother, he taught me and said: Your heart must hold on to my words. Keep my commands and live. Get wisdom, get understanding; don’t forget or turn away from the words of my mouth. Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you.

Coach
www.coachbrown.org

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise— that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land. And fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Eph 6:1-4 (HCSB)

Earnest Earnings Encourage Others

We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master
We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master

Earnest Earnings Encourage Others

One man pretends to be rich but has nothing; another pretends to be poor but has great wealth. Riches are a ransom for a man’s life, but a poor man hears no threat. The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is extinguished. Arrogance leads to nothing but strife, but wisdom is gained by those who take advice. Wealth obtained by fraud will dwindle, but whoever earns it through labor will multiply it. Prov 13:7-11 (HCSB)

In this world wealth is every man’s desire. No one desires poverty. As the husband and father of the family, man desires to provide amply for his wife and for his children, but there is so much emphasis upon what are to be viewed as the necessities. Today, it is so much more than just food, clothing and shelter. Families expect to experience the best of technology… computers, smart phones, virtual huge screen televisions, I-pods & I-pads, and digital gaming. Our lives are directed most often by the voice of Siri than our loved ones.

And, for convenience, now deemed a necessity, we cannot exist with just a car; we now invest in one for every member of our family when they get old enough too! But of course, mom likely is at least working part-time to help out, while running the younger kids around to all the sporting events and special activities that you have invested in for them to participate in.

Phew-How-can-any

Phew! How can any husband-father expect earnest earnings to be sufficient to fulfill all that is demanded in today’s society? Well, we all have choices to make and the passage from Proverbs reminds of how to keep a right focus. First of all, do not try to be what you are not, or debt will be your only claim to fame. If all you desire is to have more wealth to give more to your family, then all your life will be is a constant strain as you pursue what you can never have enough of…

Living a Christian life means knowing that if you choose wisely and earnestly seek contentment with what you have, you will always have enough, and your children and wife will always be satisfied with what they have. In truth, you will be a beacon of hope to others who have the wrong focus on what reality is for them, and they will come to you for advice about living a successful life. Yet, your advice will be simple as you point them to God’s Word as your manual for success. You will reveal by your choices that you gladly live within the means that God has allowed you to live, and are diligent in everything that you do as if seeking to honor God by your effort alone. You also honor God by gladly returning a portion to God as a sign of thanksgiving too! As a result, work is not a burden but a blessing, and your actions and attitude reveals the biblical principle that “you reap what you sow…”

There are no shortcuts in life, but there are easier paths to pursue. The widest and heaviest traveled path is not also the easiest way either. God’s way although seemingly narrow and least traveled is always the most rewarding, but the path requires faith and obedience along the way which teach us what is the right way, but the rewards are far beyond the “stuff” society uses to measure success. The greatest reward is the knowledge that God never asks you to travel alone, he offers help when you are weary and feel laden down.

What is the point of this passage? When we choose rightly the ways we should go, our family is blessed; our friends and neighbors are blessed. Not only are you able to help those who have needs, but you are there to encourage them by the example of your life as well. All God desires for you is be a light for others to see his love through your life. So let your light shine and focus upon the treasures that God values and your family will be more than satisfied.

Coach

www.coachbrown.org

“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven”. Matt 5:14-16 (HCSB)

Right Actions and Attitudes Matter

We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master
We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master

Right Actions and Attitudes Matter 

When it is in your power, don’t withhold good from the one to whom it is due. Don’t say to your neighbor, “Go away! Come back later. I’ll give it tomorrow”—when it is there with you. Don’t plan any harm against your neighbor, for he trusts you and lives near you. Don’t accuse anyone without cause, when he has done you no harm. Don’t envy a violent man or choose any of his ways; for the devious are detestable to the Lord, but He is a friend to the upright. The Lord’s curse is on the household of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the righteous; He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble. The wise will inherit honor, but He holds up fools to dishonor. Proverbs 3:27-35 (HCSB)

When you walk according to the wisdom of the Lord, the Lord reveals what are right attitudes and actions when dealing with others in your life. In this passage, the others are not family members but those who should be your friend because they are your neighbor – those who live near you and you should interact with daily. The Lord reveals what are proper responsibilities to help us to establish and maintain right relationships that are meant for our benefit as well as serve His kingdom purposes. And, the Lord declares that “whenever it is in our power or ability” we are to avoid wrong behavior towards our neighbors, such as:

  • Don’t withhold good to those neighbors who have done nothing wrong to you to warrant such behavior. Remember how the Lord has dealt with you and has not withheld good towards you. Remember also how He also never remembers wrong once you have confessed your wrong and sought to return to a right relationship with the Lord. Can you do the same with your neighbor, as well?
  • Don’t delay doing right for your neighbor when he or she comes to you. When you put off doing what is right when it is possible to help your neighbor you are acting wrong. The Lord wants us to deal rightly with all people even when it may be inconvenient and interrupt our immediate plans. Why? Does the Lord put you off because He is too busy or does He respond in the proper time and in the proper way? We should respond likewise.
  • Don’t plan any harm against your neighbor. You are to be building positive relationships not destroying relationships. You are to be building bridges of friendship. Jesus plainly said we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
  • Don’t falsely accuse your neighbor of wrong doing. You should always strive to act and speak fairly and honestly with all your neighbors. Would you be pleased if your neighbors spoke falsely against you – if so, how would you feel?
  • Don’t envy an evil man who may seem to have it all. Don’t seek his advice thinking his ways may be better ways. Yet we are to still deal rightly with him, just do not accept his ways as being right for you. The Lord will be his or her judge and deal with him or her in His just time and manner.

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The Lord blesses those who live rightly in words, actions and attitudes. Are you humble enough to respond rightly to anyone who the Lord places before you as one of your neighbors? If so, the Lord is pleased. Don’t be like the fool who knew better but did wrong anyway. God honors the wise, and they are recognized daily because they live according to His will, ways, and wisdom in all their relationships.

Coach

www.coachbrown.org

One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”  “This is the most important,” Jesus answered: Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, The Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31 (HCSB)

Yes, You Reap What You Sow!

We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master
We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master

Yes, You Reap What You Sow! 

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender. The one who sows injustice will reap disaster, and the rod of his fury will be destroyed. A generous person will be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. Drive out a mocker, and conflict goes too; then lawsuits and dishonor will cease. The one who loves a pure heart and gracious lips—the king is his friend. The Lord’s eyes keep watch over knowledge, but He overthrows the words of the treacherous. Prov 22:7-12 (HCSB)

Fact: Those who invest in taking advantage of others for personal gain will inevitably realize what is perceived as profit will be actually a loss!

The one who steps over, around, and, more often than not, upon others to get ahead may feel empowered by the gains they have realized at the expense of others, but the price they pay for such self-centered, self-serving, and self-interested ways is ultimately a lonely self-focused existence. Sooner or later, they will misuse their last friend and sacrifice their entire family to pursue their selfish goals; to what aim did it serve? Their blinded egos wrote checks that their lives could not cash!

Fortunately, many in this world allow God’s Word to be their guide and they live a more secure life by never becoming a borrower, intruder or abuser towards others. A Godly focused life seeks to give freely to those in need, never with profit or selfish pride as their motive. When we are free of our debts, we become freed to graciously help others.

Likewise, those who freely mock, gossip and murmur, seek only to make themselves feel better at the expense of others. Godly people separate themselves from self-serving people, and avoid even the image of harming others by careless, self-serving words or attitudes. Remember, reckless words can wreck lives faster than our careless actions.

Godly-people-separate

Therefore, consider carefully who you seek to associate with. Seek those who seek to have a pure heart and please God, seeking God’s will, ways, and wisdom. When this is the filter of your relationships, you will discover all those who are among your growing circle of friends and family members share at least one common friend – His name is Jesus! Only the friends of Jesus understand the joy of God’s favor and blessings.

However, the self-seeking are walking, if not running, away from God to worship and serve their selfish desires and are too busy chasing their own dreams to receive the abundant life God has for them. Sadly, they only discover ultimately their life is empty and fleeting, and is never settled or satisfied by what they value as success in life.

Which relationships do you value most for your life! Do you prefer to walk alone or the fellowship of others helping each other to follow Jesus as he leads all to God’s warm embrace?

Coach

www.coachbrown.org

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he is deceiving himself. But each person should examine his own work, and then he will have a reason for boasting in himself alone, and not in respect to someone else. For each person will have to carry his own load. The one who is taught the message must share his goods with the teacher. Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Gal 6:2-9 (HCSB)

Wrong Focus Leads to Wrong Destination

We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master
We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master

Wrong Focus Leads to Wrong Destination

A rich man’s wealth is his fortified city; the poverty of the poor is their destruction. The labor of the righteous leads to life; the activity of the wicked leads to sin. The one who follows instruction is on the path to life, but the one who rejects correction goes astray. Prov 10:15-17 (HCSB)

In this passage, Solomon tells his son that there can be many misunderstandings that can derail your life. When the object of our desires becomes the focal point of our life, we lose sight of what is most important – God’s will, ways, and wisdom. The Apostle James, the brother of Jesus shares the wisdom of this proverb or wise saying when he wrote:

The brother of humble circumstances should boast in his exaltation; but the one who is rich [should boast] in his humiliation, because he will pass away like a flower of the field. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and dries up the grass; its flower falls off, and its beautiful appearance is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will wither away while pursuing his activities. James 1:9-11 (HCSB)

Coveting wealth will become an obstacle that blocks our vision upon what is truly important. Coveting wealth leads to obsession – for the rich, to protect and expand their prestige and power; for the poor, to believe it can buy freedom. Sadly, we measure wealth by the world’s value system based upon “covetousness or demand” for possessions and property, not by the relationships we hold dear with others and with God. Sadly, far too often covetous people will freely exchange relationships for possessions and property!

Sadly-far-too-often

However, God is the great equalizer: He will humble us to regain our focus upon the eternal value of what we declare is most valuable. God declares it is not our wealth he delights in, but how and why we live our life before others each day God blesses us with. God is not interested in our bank accounts nor our estates and flashy, luxurious lifestyle, but he is focused upon our hearts.

In the end, in God’s economy it is not the worth of your stocks that pleases him, but the stock God places upon the value of your heart. Before you tally the worth of your 401K or credit scores, STOP and check 777 retirement plan and realize you no credit standing with God outside how and why you live your life this very day. Nothing we have in the bank nor our property holdings or expensive toys or fancy club memberships please God. In fact, as Solomon says, greed and lust damage the relationships that God cherishes most. When our focus is wrong, our destination will prove to be wrong too! The next time you check the ROI factor of your life, consider the Return On Investment opportunity God offers when we focus upon right relationships.

Take a quick ROI checkup: How do you value what the Lord has allowed you to have in your life? Wealth is not evil, but the coveting of wealth is! What would happen if God humbled your lifestyle? What changes might happen in your life if God blessed you with wealth and fame? Would your relationship with family and friends and God drastically change? Remember the wisdom of Solomon and James, your focus determines your destination!

Coach

www.coachbrown.org

Listen, my dear brothers: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him? Yet you dishonored that poor man. Don’t the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Don’t they blaspheme the noble name that you bear? James 2:5-7 (HCSB)

You Should Not Have to Be Told!

We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master
We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master

You Should Not Have to Be Told!

Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. Without leader, administrator, or ruler, it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest. How long will you stay in bed, you slacker? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit. Prov 6:6-11 (HCSB)

In God’s Kingdom you are not to be idle! As you read, learn, and then accept by faith God’s will, ways, and wisdom found in God’s Word, you realize that you are not a part of God’s chosen people without a purpose. No one is “saved from their former life of sin to just sit, watch and wait” while everyone else does the work that is supposedly to benefit you as well as serve the needs of everyone else.

The CHURCH is to be involved in missions (out-reach) and ministry (in-reach) so that the “fruits of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-26) can be experienced and shared, but we must remember the CHURCH is not the institution but the people who God has called to be His chosen children. Being engaged in reaching outwardly and inwardly to impact others demonstrates that the “fruits of the Spirit” are in full bloom within our changed lives and through engaging with others we fulfill our calling to be the “salt and light” (Matt 5:13-14), which Christ said glorifies God. Therefore, “sitting, watching and waiting” identifies those still stuck on the sidelines – they prefer the safety and anonymity of the sidelines rather than the inherent risks of playing in the game God has called us to participate.

Therefore-those-sitting

Having said this, does God want you to be so wrapped up in Kingdom work that you forgo the basic needs of life? It is safe to say that God provides for all our needs but God says each of us has the responsibility to obediently sow (invest) what we have been provided so we may reap (benefit) what He has provided for us to share. (Gal. 6:7-10)

God has a balanced life in view for our Spiritual well-being. Most of the passages you will discover in God’s Word emphasizes that each of us are to be available and alert while we invest in the normal, daily activities of life. Such an ongoing, available and alert, invested lifestyle reveals expectancy for God’s purposes to be the ultimate purpose while each of us walks by faith in life.

Since no one is “saved to sit, but to serve”, recognize that we all must do our part. No one should become a burden on others. Participation should not feel like an obligation but a natural response out of our expectation. In our passage there is a warning for those who become indebted to or reliant upon the labors of others. In other words, if you choose to “slack off,” even when you believe you have an obligation to focus upon God’s work alone, then you become reliant and thus a burden upon others to feed, clothe, and shelter you and your family. According to God’s Word this attitude is in opposition to God’s will, ways, and wisdom. We must discover the joy of a faith balanced expectant lifestyle that honors God.

Final thought, consider the example you set before others, especially our children and grandchildren. Should a child try to become a lazy slacker reliant upon your resources, then you are given the guidance of the Lord to teach that child in the correct ways of living. Discipline by teaching the consequences for the choices they may make in life. This is an excellent place to apply “reap as you sow” lessons and the parable of the sluggard ant, to help them to make right choices. Giving your children all their needs because you claim you love them is going against what God desires. Teaching a child how to become responsible for their own needs is a godlier act of love. When you teach a child correctly according to God’s will, ways, and wisdom according to God’s Word will bring joy to you, your friends, family and especially your children!

Think upon the value of examining the lifestyle choices of the ant!

Coach

www.coachbrown.org

About brotherly love: you don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. In fact, you are doing this toward all the brothers in the entire region of Macedonia. But we encourage you, brothers, to do so even more, to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, so that you may  walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone. 1 Thess 4:9-12 (HCSB)

 

Your Being Defines the Motives of Your Doing

We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master
We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master

Your Being Defines the Motives of Your Doing 

All the ways of a man seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives. Doing what is righteous and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. The lamp that guides the wicked—haughty eyes and an arrogant heart —is sin. The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit, but anyone who is reckless only becomes poor. Making a fortune through a lying tongue is a vanishing mist, a pursuit of death. The violence of the wicked sweeps them away because they refuse to act justly. A guilty man’s conduct is crooked, but the behavior of the innocent is upright. Prov 21:2-8 (HCSB)

In the final evaluation of all that matters about life, you will discover that “your being” ultimately defined “your doing.” Outwardly we may appear to have done a lot of right and good things, but in the end we inwardly realize that God looks to the heart of the matter. God is never impressed with our right and good acts as much as our attitudes and motives behind our acts.

God-is-never-impressed

Why we do what we do, whether “religiously” attending church, giving offerings sacrificially, volunteering to help the needy or being seen caring and serving in the community? Think about the real reasons behind why you invested your time, talent and treasures in these activities. Were your reasons always selfless or could there have been underlying selfish motives for investing in these activities? Could your motives have included guilt or pride? How important was it that you were seen as a good person for personal or professional reasons? Was some form of guilt driving you? Have you ever felt it necessary to appear better or above others? Certainly none of us would ever dream of being inspired by such motives, but we know others who may have been driven by such motives. However, let us be reminded God considers the attitude of the heart that inspires our outward actions – our being behind the doing!

God’s Word declares, if we have any guilt-ridden, haughty or arrogant motives God will know because he sees any “sin” that stirs within our heart. Therefore what many applaud as exemplary diligence is selfish recklessness in the eyes of God.

God simply desires that we do what we choose to do because we love God, desire to please God, and want to know God better. Likewise, we love others so much that we seek their fellowship. God is pleased when we reveal a generous heart without calculating the cost of the gift, whether our time, talent or treasures.

What are your motives of doing? Have you checked your being? If not, know that God will!

Coach

www.coachbrown.org

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (HCSB)

Your Master Will be Known by Your Fruit

We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master
We are Never Alone when We Walk Daily with the Master

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Master Will be Known by Your Fruit 

Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever looks after his master will be honored. As the water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the person.  Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and people’s eyes are never satisfied. Silver is [tested] in a crucible, gold in a smelter, and a man, by the praise he receives. Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with grain, you will not separate his foolishness from him. Prov 27:18-22 (HCSB)

Each of us has been planted by God on this earth with choices to make as we grow in maturity. None of us can tend to all our own needs – we are reliant upon others for the nutrition and care necessary to see us grow into mature fruit bearing trees.

Once we leave the care of our parents, the first choice we get to make is who will we seek to continue to nurture and prune us as we fully enter into our mature fruit bearing stage of life. If we try to do it alone, we’ll find soon enough that we cannot fetch the necessary nutrition we need to be fruitful. But then the decision remains, who should we trust so that our branches will prosper and bear the fruit that marks our maturity?

That is the choice God gives to each of us! Jesus made the point about the value of the fruit marks whether the tree is good or bad, and the necessity of fruitfulness as we were created. (Luke 3:9; Matt 7:16-20; John 15, e.g.)

Have you stumbled upon sick fruit trees and noticed how their fruit is sparse, noticeably absent or simply rotten and unharvested? What about sickly trees with their scraggly branches with diseased leaves ripe only with pest and parasite infestations rather than the fruit of a healthy mature tree? Then there are the condemned trees with barren dead limbs with branches void of any leaves, much less fruit. Those trees reflect the neglect of their master and the neglect leads to death.

There-is-a-Master-who

However, there is a master who has known you even before your parents knew you. He knew you when you were but a seed lying dormant before it was planted in prepared, fertile soil and you sprouted into life. He allowed your parents to tend to your needs for a period of time, but he never was far away. When the time came, he once again by your side and offered to nurture and care for you as he had from the very beginning. Sadly, some have said no to him because they either did not recognize him or their parents never told them about the Master, so they turned their back upon and sought their own master. Some chose to be the master of their self only to learn how impossible it is to learn when you are truly alone in this world. Others sought what or who looked like a good master but found their new master was all talk and show but far too busy to care for others. Sadly, there were some who the truly evil master who only wanted to watch the life choked out of the branches, and to see the rotten fruit and life giving leaves fall helplessly from the limbs.

Thankfully though some of those trees realized their mistake before it was too late and called to the Master and pleaded and sobbed in sorrow for the awful mistake they had made, and asked God to be their Master again. The Master smiled, nurtured, watered and when needed pruned each of them back to fruitful health again. Some of the pruning hurt but the scars served as a reminder of their poor choices but they are now prosperous and fruit-bearing trees again. These restored trees are a testament for other young saplings deciding their future fate as well.

When we are fed and watered by God’s life giving grace, God’s will, ways, and wisdom will be reflected by the fruit we bear, healthy and ripe – harvested in proper season. How’s your fruit? Who is the Master tending your tree?

Coach

www.coachbrown.org

When he (John the Baptist) saw many of the Pharisees and  Sadducees coming to the place of his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones! Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Matt 3:7-10 (HCSB)