Username:

Password:

Fargot Password? / Help

Archive for January 2013

1

Video Of The Month - The Anatomy Of The Body Of Christ

This year, we will introduce several new initiatives from The Cracked Door Foundation. Today, we begin with "The Video of The Month". In addition to the daily blogs, at the beginning of each month we will release a full length teaching video that will bless your life. This month's feature is "The Anatomy Of The Body of Christ." Enjoy!

1 Corinthians 3:9(KJV) - For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

Do you know that The Church is described as God's building? Can you identify the foundation? What about the connections? Who are the builders?

In this revolutionary message, Donnell Duncan of The Cracked Door Foundation combines his experience as a Structural Engineer and a Bible teacher. Watch and learn how God uses Engineering principles to build His Church into a masterpiece.

12

God's Mercy Extends For Generations

God's Mercy Extends For Generations

Young people are fun. We take risks. We make snap decisions. We live on the edge. However, some of us make very bad moves and still escape serious repercussions. Sometimes, we stray off the path God designed for us and still survive disaster. For some of us, things just seem to work out even though we know we have done nothing to deserve it. It even confuses us. Why is God so good to us? Why do we seem to get such favor? What's going on?

Today, we continue with Part 9 of our latest series; "God's Mercy - Why Do Some Get More Than Others?" See Part 1 for the full list of seven points described in "A Method To God's Mercy". Click here for Part 8 - "Judge Yourself First And Receive God's Mercy". We'll continue today with 5) People can inherit mercy because of their family history.

Deuteronomy 7:9(NKJV) - “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments

Do any of your parents love The Lord? Do you have a praying grandmother? Has anyone in your family paved a pathway for you to follow in God's Kingdom? Do you know that because of your lineage you could be the beneficiary of inherited mercy? When people love God and keep His commandments they trigger a "Mercy Snowball" that continues rolling for a thousand generations. If you're wondering why God is being specially merciful you might be caught up in the middle of one right now.

Psalm 18:50(KJV) - Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

How could David's seed be shown mercy for evermore if His seed was not born yet? If mercy is only dependent on a person's actions, then that would be completely impossible. Based on the actions of one man, the decision was made to show mercy to his descendants. Now think about that. This is a big deal on so many levels.

Luke 1:50(KJV) - And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

If you fear God, the mercy of God you receive is generational. Not only are you going to benefit from it but so will your children and their children and their children, etc. This is like the ultimate "Mercy Snowball". Wait.. it gets better. Do you know that even if your parents screwed it all up and their parents did and the screwing up went all the way back until you find out your great, great, great, great.... grandfather was Judas Iscariot you can still inherit mercy? 🙂 Here's how!

God's Mercy Extends For Generations

Luke 1:70-75(KJV) - As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

God made a covenant to show Abraham's seed mercy. He promises to save them from their enemies. As a result, the people of Israel remain God's chosen people regardless of what they've done. Even after they rebel against God and totally enrage Him they seem to always end up right back in fellowship with Him. His mercy toward them is unbelievable. Now, here's where we fit in.

Galatians 3:26-29(KJV) - For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

If you are a Christian you are also Abraham's seed which means that you also inherit the mercy God awarded to him. Maybe that explains why you're in the middle of a "Mercy Snowball." Everytime it looks like you're done, God always seems to pull you out of trouble. Even when you openly disobey, God still seems to give you another chance. He doesn't judge you because of your family name, He judges you based on your relationship with Christ. If you didn't grow up with parents who loved God or your grandmother was an atheist, you can still receive mercy due to your new family heritage.

1 Peter 2:9-10(KJV) - But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Before you joined the family of God you did not have access to this generational mercy unless you inherited it from your earthly family. Some of us were blessed to come from Godly families but you may not have had the same experience. However, to God be the glory for your new family because this connection has hooked you up with an everlasting flow of mercy.

It's the same mercy Saul received on the road to Damascus which changed his life and turned him into Apostle Paul. It's the same mercy Simon Peter received when he denied Jesus three times the day Christ died on the cross. He was forgiven and chosen to become Apostle Peter, the first leader of The Church.

It's the same mercy which I received. It's the best mercy on the market. It's the mercy you want to have. It's because of His mercy that you were taken out of darkness and placed into His marvelous light. You are chosen. You are royal. You are holy. You are peculiar. You are a child of God. You have obtained mercy.

Even if you make a bad decision and disappoint God, ask for forgiveness and tap into this mercy. It's always available. God's mercy extends for generations. Why not forget about your past and set things up for your future? Why don't you love God with all of your heart and obey His commandments? That way, you can start rolling a "Mercy Snowball" in the direction of your descendants.

9

Judge Yourself First And Receive God's Mercy

Judge Yourself First And Receive God's Mercy

I like sports. I think sports are some of God's gifts to mankind. 🙂 I once trained with the track team at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA. Now, I'm just a big college sports fan. College sports in the US is run by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Sometimes, a school breaks the rules and the NCAA launches an investigation. When a college is under investigation by the NCAA for suspected violations the school has two options.

Option 1 is to wait for the NCAA's investigation to be completed and see what happens. Option 2 is for the school to launch its own investigation and self-impose sanctions or punishment before the NCAA gets a chance to act. Option 2 is not just an admission of guilt but a willingness to accept the consequences. Such a move can usually trigger leniency from the NCAA.

Today, we continue with Part 8 of our latest series; "God's Mercy - Why Do Some Get More Than Others?" See Part 1 for the full list of seven points described in "A Method To God's Mercy". Click here for Part 7 - "God's Mysterious Love And The Victory It Brings". We'll continue today with 4) People who judge themselves before receiving God's judgment get special access to God's mercy.

Job 33:14-18(NLT) - For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it. He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds. He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings. He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride. He protects them from the grave, from crossing over the river of death.

When God's judgment is closing in on someone He sends out clear warning signals. First, The Holy Spirit convicts the person's heart (John 16:7-8). He also reaches out by speaking to the person directly through dreams or visions. That's the most common and effective way to communicate a warning. It's private, simple and undeniable.

If private communication doesn't work, God employs the help of others through prophetic words, pointed sermons, books, blogs or other forms of written or verbal communication (Ezekiel 33:1-11). These messengers from God are only responsible for delivering the message. Once the delivery is complete, they are free to move on with their lives.

Nonetheless, when a person consistently ignores the voice of The Holy Spirit, the person's sensitivity to God decreases (Romans 1:18-28). In that case, drastic times call for drastic measures. God may then choose to use external signs including unusual natural phenomena to get the person's attention. At the same time, God may also employ the services of angels, His heavenly messengers (Numbers 22:21-31). When the angels get involved, things go to a whole new level.

These are all part of God's plan to save a person from impending judgment.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32(NKJV) - For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

God warns people so they can impose self judgment before receiving His judgment. Even though His judgment is fair and merciful it's better to judge yourself first before He has to get involved. His judgment is designed to cause repentance so if repentance comes first it won't be necessary.

How many times have you seen someone receive stiff judgment from God and wondered why it had to go so far? That judgment was a last resort. Before God chastened the person He sent conviction by The Holy Spirit, warnings in dreams and visions, warnings through people along with even natural and supernatural signs.

Over and over, God tries to get people's attention before He has to do something drastic. He loves His children so much that He won't leave us to suffer the consequences of our sins without first giving us an opportunity to repent. He even gives us a chance to escape His judgment and that's much more lenient than the harvest of sin.

His judgment is an expression of His love because it is designed to save us from disaster. His warnings are an even greater expression of His love because they are designed to save us from His judgment. Warnings, judgment, disaster.... that's the order. Thank God we can jump off the train at any point before it reaches its final destination.

Anyway, once God starts issuing warnings, it's time for self-judgment. Here's how it works.

Judge Yourself First And Receive God's Mercy

Proverbs 14:12(NKJV) - There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

2 Corinthians 10:12(NKJV) - For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

You can't judge yourself properly if you don't have a proper standard. You can't judge yourself by yourself nor can you judge yourself by comparing yourself to others. That may seem right at the time but it doesn't have a happy ending. If you judge yourself by your own flexible standards you will always think you're doing fine. You will make excuses for your transgressions and overestimate your accomplishments.

Luke 18:9-14(NKJV) - Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

"Yeah, I sin but I don't sin like that guy. Compared to him I'm The Virgin Mary." (insert scoff)

If you judge yourself by others there is a high probability that you will compare yourself to people who make you feel better about yourself. For example, if your problem is alcohol you might compare yourself with the drunk fool lying in a drain completely unaware. Yes, you have a drinking problem but it's not that bad. At least when you're drunk you fall flat on the floor of your own house and not in a public drain. (insert scoff)

That's what self-judgment is not. Here's what it is!

James 1:22-25(NLT) - But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

The standard for living this Christian life is The Word of God. Therefore, you can use it like you use a mirror everyday. Every morning you look into The Word and judge what you see. Where your life doesn't match The Word you make adjustments. Where your life does match The Word you add reinforcements. If you need to clean up your life in certain areas The Word will let you see it.

That's one reason why its important to be in God's Word everyday. You're a work in progress so you always need God's Word. Don't forsake church attendance. Always read good Christian books. Listen to good Bible teaching. Surround yourself with God's Word and you will surround yourself with the truth.

Make sure you read devotionals like these and pay special attention to the scriptures. When you don't understand something, don't be afraid to ask. Don't forget to pray about things you don't yet agree with. This is how you judge yourself, God's Way. When you're faced with the truth don't just stand there, do something with it. 🙂

Hebrews 4:12-13(NKJV) - For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

Jeremiah 17:9-10(NKJV) - “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.

It's important to know what's in your heart and the only way to know for sure is The Word of God. People who are consistently faced with The Word of God can successfully judge themselves. The more of The Word of God in your heart, the more you'll judge yourself before you get caught in a web of sin (Psalm 119:11).

Why do some people receive more mercy than others? They judge themselves first before God judges them. You can do it too. It works.

10

God's Mysterious Love And The Victory It Brings

A Revelation Of God's Love: It Makes You Invincible

If you really loved me you would.. (Insert random manipulative statement here)

What is love? Sounds like an easy question, huh? Well it's not. With all the "love songs", "love triangles", "crimes of passion", "romance novels" and "love circles" out there in the world, a proper understanding of love is not easy to come by. That's why it's so easy for predators, cons and other unscrupulous individuals to prey on those "looking for love in all the wrong places." They don't know what true love looks like so they get caught in the "love trap."

Today, we continue with Part 7 of our latest series; "God's Mercy - Why Do Some Get More Than Others?" See Part 1 for the full list of seven points described in "A Method To God's Mercy". Click here for Part 6 - "Show Mercy And You Will Receive Mercy". We'll continue today with the second installment of 3) Those who have shown mercy to others will receive mercy from God. His Kingdom is based on seed, time and harvest.

I hope you took the time to read yesterday's blog on showing mercy to others. When you consider God's mercy towards you it should be easy to understand why He expects you to be merciful to others. Jesus died for your sins and regardless of what you have done wrong He remains willing to forgive if you would just ask. However, let's take a step back to understand what's behind God's mercy. Let's take a closer look today at God's Love.

Ephesians 3:14-19(NKJV) - For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

God's Love has been heavy on my heart and running hard through my mind for the last few days. Though I knew I had to write about it since last Wednesday I'm now coming around to getting it done. During that time I just didn't know exactly how to articulate in writing what The Lord was saying in my heart. However, in Sunday morning's church service the Lord's presence was unusually heavy and a door to supernatural wisdom was unlocked. That's when He gave me the title for today, "God's Mysterious Love And The Victory It Brings".

Let's be real. If you were given a 60 question multiple choice exam on the basics of love do you think you would pass? Wait, before you say yes, the only answer you can select for each question is the one that matches your actions the closest. You can't pick the answer that matches your intentions nor the "right" answer based on your theoretical understanding of love. If you don't do it in your life, you can't select it. Why? If you had a revelation of true love you would live it. With those restrictions, would you pass or fail "The Love Test"?

John 15:13(NKJV) - Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

The Love of God is beyond human understanding. It's virtually impossible to wrap your natural mind around the fullness of it because there's nothing on this earth like it. Thankfully, if you are in Christ, The Holy Spirit living inside of you (Romans 8:9) will give you a revelation of God's Love. He will give you more than "head knowledge" but will cause His Love to explode in your heart (Romans 5:5). If you could possibly grasp the Love of God deep inside of your heart, you will become invincible.

God's Mysterious Love And The Victory It Brings

Romans 8:31-39(NKJV) - What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In Genesis, when the earth was completely dark, God told light to appear and that's what happened. He looked at an impossible situation and just told it what to do. Therefore, if God says He loves you His Word can be trusted. It doesn't matter how you feel or what things look like in your life God wants you to know that He loves you and that's it.

If God would offer His Son Jesus to die for you there is nothing that can be said to question His Love. Many people have given their lives for a cause throughout history. Yet, I can't think of one who was willing to give the life of his only son especially for people who didn't even deserve it, many of whom still remain thankless.

Thus, you should never question God's Love. He doesn't need to do anything else to prove it. If He could give you redemption by the life of His Son it's not a big deal for Him to provide what you need. It's nothing for Him to heal you. It's nothing for Him to give you the spouse you desire. He gave you His Son. Everything else you need is minor in comparison.

1 John 4:16-18(AMP) - And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him. In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].

Only one love is perfect and that's God's Love. However, to benefit from it, you have to believe in it. A revelation of God's Love will drive the fear out of your life. It will give you confidence. It will give you boldness. It will change your life forever. It's great to talk about God's love but when you really need it you better have more than just empty words. These words need to be in your heart and they need to mean something. I'll show you how to make this practical.

Every time you're faced with a situation remember God's Love. If He really loves you He will do for you what He says in His Word. If He really loves you, He will reward you if you diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). If He really loves you He will come through for you. His Love is like nothing you will ever experience in this world. His Love is reliable. His Love is undeniable. His Love is eternal.

1 Corinthians 13:8(NKJV) - Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

God's Mysterious Love And The Victory It Brings

God loves you and His Love won't fail you. Maybe you know that already but how well you know it can be the difference between success and failure in your life. How convinced you are of God's Love will determine how you react to challenges that come up in your life. Sometimes, when everything else fails, all you have left is God's Love.

Things can go so crazy that you don't know what to do. You can become so overwhelmed that you can't remember any relevant scriptures to quote and you forget what to pray. When you're struggling to come to grips with what's going on in your life or you can't even think straight you just need to remember one thing and you will make it through. God loves you.

This is how I make it through everyday. When I'm under pressure and I feel like I can't carry what's placed on my shoulders I remember how much God loves me. I might feel like I'm going to fall but I know He'll keep me from falling (Jude 1:24-25). Also, when I feel alone in a situation in which I could really use some help I trust God's love for me. I know He will never leave me nor forsake me (Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5).

He gave me His Word and because He loves me He won't break it when I really need Him. Do you believe that in your own life? Do you believe God will never leave you? Are you struggling with that right now? Do you feel alone? Do you trust God's Love? Well, that's how you'll be able to trust God's Word. God is not a man. He will not lie. (Numbers 23:19).

Hebrews 13:5(AMP) - Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]

God says He will not fail you. He will not, will not, will not leave you without support. He will not, will not, will not leave you helpless. He will not, will not, will not forsake you nor let you down. He will not disappoint you. He's so serious about never leaving you alone that He repeats Himself over and over to drive the point home in this scripture. So why do you insist on feeling alone when you're not? You just have to believe God. He means what He says.

I've been in impossible situations but I made it through because I believed in God's Love. I know He would not leave me in the middle of a bad situation forever. Even when I feel stuck I know I can look around for the way of escape God created for me (1 Corinthians 10:13). I can escape anything because of God's Love.

Psalm 34:19(NKJV) - Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
I know I'll make it out of any situation, any time. If I need money He will provide it. If I need healing I will receive it. If I need an idea He will give it to me. If I need favor I'll get it. If I need anything at all I know where it will come from. Even if it takes a miracle, God will deliver me. I believe this stuff with all of my heart. You have to believe it too. God's Love is mysterious and it will give you the victory.
5

Show Mercy And You Will Receive Mercy

Show Mercy And You Will Receive Mercy

"I knew he was a fraud the first day I set my eyes on him. You should have seen him walking around the church acting like he was a true 'MAND' of God. Well, I thank God for the spirit of discernment so I could pick out a wolf in sheep's clothing. It serves him right to fall from grace like that. He should 'buss' hell wide open. We don't need any of his kind in this church. He's just not up to our standard of hooooliness. Ooooh, I feel The Spirit. Ooooh, He's moving inside of me. Mooove Spirit... moooove. Cleanse this house of this unrighteousness. Oooo, I feel the power! Wash us Lord. Rababababah..."

Today, we continue with Part 6 of our latest series; "God's Mercy - Why Do Some Get More Than Others?" See Part 1 for the full list of seven points described in "A Method To God's Mercy". Click here for Part 5 - "You Are Responsible For What You Know". We'll continue today with 3) Those who have shown mercy to others will receive mercy from God. His Kingdom is based on seed, time and harvest.

1 Corinthians 10:12(NKJV) - Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

"If your neighbor's house is on fire, throw water on your own."

That's some priceless advice. Never celebrate someone else's demise because you might be next. Be slow to point a critical index finger because at least three others will be pointing right back at you. It's not always easy and it rarely comes naturally but it pays to be merciful. I have learned over the years to take advantage of opportunities to show mercy to others because one day I may be the one looking for it.

James 2:13(NLT) - There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

Wounded, hurting Christians are slow moving, easy targets. Don't give into the temptation to pick on them. Have you ever had mercy on someone who clearly did something wrong and thanked God later when someone did the same for you? Those who show mercy are figuratively sowing seeds of mercy into the lives of others which they can harvest later in their own lives. However, the direct opposite is also true.

People who don't show mercy end up needing some later in their lives and don't always find it. Why is it that some of the most critical, judgmental people end up getting caught in some kind of indiscretion of their own? They sentence people to hell with their words while their secrets are safe until God exposes their sins for the world to see. Everyone is then completely shocked when the tables are turned and they have to beg others for mercy. Ouch!

Show Mercy And You Will Receive Mercy

Matthew 18:23-35(NLT) “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

If you give mercy you will get mercy. If you don't give mercy you won't get it when you really need it. That's a Kingdom principle that God established. Why do some people get more mercy than others? Some people give more mercy than others. One of the master principles of The Kingdom of God is the principle of seed, time and harvest. In short, it means, whatever you sow you will reap.

The servant who showed no mercy for the debt of a few thousand dollars actually had a right to demand payment. He was justified to put his fellow servant in jail until he got his money. If this was based purely on a man's rights, this man had the right to do what he did. However, exercising your rights is not the only or best option in every situation. That's what mercy is all about.

Mercy is demonstrated when a man has a right to punish or execute judgment on another but gives up that right and liberates the person who does not deserve it. Like the unforgiving servant, you don't have to show mercy if you don't want to. However, if you have been shown mercy or will need some in the future you probably should.

You have a right to sue that brother in The Lord who owes you money but should you? You have a right to expose that person's past to other people but should you? If you were cheated on you should be free to cheat too, right? After what he did, you have a right to walk away when he needs you the most but should you? She hit you first so you have a right to beat her like she stole something but should you?

Matthew 5:7(KJV) - Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Life is strange. You never know what's around the corner or what the future holds for you. That's why you should always play it safe. Create your future by sowing the right types of seeds today. Be quick to forgive. Be quick to give people the benefit of the doubt. Be quick to accept other people's flaws. Be quick to show mercy. By doing so, you store up mercy for your future.

Psalm 109:14-17(NKJV) - Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord, And let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be continually before the Lord, That He may cut off the memory of them from the earth; Because he did not remember to show mercy, But persecuted the poor and needy man, That he might even slay the broken in heart. As he loved cursing, so let it come to him; As he did not delight in blessing, so let it be far from him.

Don't be that guy! Show mercy today.

8

Ask Donnell - How Do I Find Balance In My Life?

Ask Donnell - How Do I Find Balance In My Life?

We received the following question from Vanessa;

"How do I find, keep and maintain balance? I do it for my children but I find it difficult to do it for myself. I get it sometimes but it keeps escaping me. I make time to be with god and actually that’s what keeps me, but with personal assignments I find myself lagging. I do alot of introspection and I grade myself the hardest. I know what failure is! I just can’t experience it again. I am secure in god but somehow I feel like am playing the “give and hold back” with god. At this place or this season in my life it’s the hardest dig’ and the deepest depth I have ever had to dig and IT just makes me cry! THE BALANCE."

Wow! That's a deep question! When you find the answer let us know, we need to hear it too. 🙂

OK, I'll be serious. Time is a non-renewable resource. Once a moment in time passes it is gone forever. You cannot control it. The only thing you can control is what you do with it. You cannot make time. Until time is no more, every day will have 24 hours and you cannot create another second to add to it. So what are you doing with the 24 hrs you have each day?

As long as you are alive you are doing something with the time you have. You may not always be doing something productive but you're doing something. Therefore, if you need time to do something else, you can only exchange something you are already doing with some other activity you would like to do instead.

Before you find any balance I do believe you have to take care of any "non-negotiables". These are the things that you must do and cannot compromise with. Your relationship with God is one of them. Matthew 6:33 says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

At the very least, even if your life is completely lopsided let it be lopsided in the direction of doing God's Will. If you take care of what God wants you to do, you're not just helping out your life on earth, you are taking care of your eternity. At least, get God's stuff done. It sounds like you know that so you're off to a good start.

Trying to find balance within the limited confines of time is probably a lifelong challenge. Nonetheless, there are answers to even our deepest questions somewhere in The Bible. Let's see what the wisest man to walk the earth other than Jesus had to say.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8(NLT) - For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.

According to this scripture, in order to properly manage your life within the limited confines of time the first thing you must do is understand what season you are in. What you do with your time should always be determined by the season you are in at any given time. Therefore, unless two people are in the same season, their schedules should never be the same if they are to maximize the time they have been given.

For instance, in this season of my life I have certain priorities that differ from the previous season of my life. Since I recognize the season I am currently in I know what must be at the top of my commitment list, what must be lower down and what cannot be on the list at all. What season are you in right now? If you're not sure, guess who knows? 🙂

Psalm 139:16(NLT) - You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

You guessed it. God! The entire series I completed recently on discovering The Will of God for your life was more of a "big picture" approach but there was one part which directly applies to your question. If you have not done so already or if you just need a refresher, read "A Progressive Revelation Of God's Will." As much as God has a Will for your life, He also has a Will for your day. He has a plan for what each day should look like and at the beginning you just might want to find out.

Ask Donnell - How Do I Find Balance In My Life?

I will tell you what The Lord put on my heart as I meditated on the answer to this question. He said that balancing your time is like balancing a budget. You only have so much money coming in and you have to divide your expenses to ensure that you account for everything that's important. If you don't balance it, you will have a budget deficit and end up in financial debt. At that point, you only have two options. You can either increase your income or decrease your expenditure until the budget is balanced again.

The same can be said of your time. You only have limited time each day. You also have a limited number of days. Only God determines your number of days but the length of each day is the same. Take stock today of your "daily time budget." Do you have a time deficit or are you in "time debt?" Since you cannot create more time you have to decrease your "time expenditure." Here's a kingdom principle that will help.

Matthew 5:37(NLT) - Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

There's a powerful two letter word that will revolutionize the life of anyone in a time crunch. The word is "NO!" I love that word so much. I use it very often. I have no problem telling folks "NO!" I don't need to give everyone an explanation for why I can't give them more time than they are alloted in the budget. The answer is simply, "No, I can't make it!" and if the activity fits into the time budget, "Yes, I can!" Here's another kingdom principle that applies.

Proverbs 22:29(KJV) - Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

1 Thessalonians 4:11(KJV) - And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

Thus saith The Lord, "Take care of your own business!" I can't make everybody happy and neither can you. You have some personal responsibilities that need to be taken care of and you need to get them done. Other people have their own business to take care of and they should get them done.

When you're done with your business, if you have more time you are free to involve yourself in anyone else's business. At the end of your days, you will have to answer to God for what you did with your time and nobody else's. I admire you search for balance. May God guide you through this process and bless you.

14

You Are Responsible For What You Know

You Are Responsible For What You Know

"Only God can judge me!"

And judge you He will... Have you ever heard that statement before or perhaps, have you said it? Many people who use it know they are doing wrong and just don't want to be held accountable. God is a righteous judge. He is just and His judgment is fair. He is full of grace, longsuffering and merciful. Nonetheless, at the right time He will execute judgment and each of us will have to answer for what we know.

Today, we continue with Part 5 of our latest series; "God's Mercy - Why Do Some Get More Than Others?" See Part 1 for the full list of seven points described in "A Method To God's Mercy". Click here for Part 4 - "Caught! What Do You Do When God Exposes Your Sin?". We'll continue today with Point 2) God judges people based on what they know. Every man is not treated equally.

Luke 12:42-48(NLT) - And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

God judges everyone differently. Our ultimate standard is The Word of God and how much of it we know directly affects the level of mercy we receive. According to The Parable of The Servants in Luke 12:42-48 any servant who does not do the will of the master receives stripes.

However, the number of stripes is determined by the servant's knowledge base. Additionally, the servants to whom the master gives more, a higher return is expected on his investment. Usually, in parables like these the master represents God and we are His servants. Therefore, we should be able to easily figure out how this applies to our lives.

Let me make this very practical. Two people can commit the same sin. God will judge both. The first person knew exactly what he was doing and willingly went ahead but the second person acted out of ignorance. The second person may escape with light punishment but holding all other factors constant, God will drop the hammer on the first person. Is that fair? In God's eyes, it sure is. Since He is the judge and jury that's all that matters. Now let's go even deeper.

You Are Responsible For What You Know

Hebrews 6:4-6(AMP) - For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit, And have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come, If they then deviate from the faith and turn away from their allegiance—[it is impossible] to bring them back to repentance, for (because, while, as long as) they nail upon the cross the Son of God afresh [as far as they are concerned] and are holding [Him] up to contempt and shame and public disgrace.

Have you ever met someone who walked away from God and all hell broke loose? Better yet, have you ever been so offended that you considered walking away from The Lord? OK, maybe not forever but just for a little while? Have a little fun? Play around a little? Maybe you're all "churched out" so you need to take a break, worship an idol or two for a few years then maybe give this "Jesus" thing another try in the future? OK, let's fantasize together for a moment. Think about it.

We can see it already. We're going to have the time of our lives out there then come back with awesome testimonies and the church will treat us like heroes. The young people will think we're cool and we'll have "church street cred." Who knows maybe we can write books about our experiences and end up on TBN some day?

It worked for the Prodigal Son so it should work for us too right? I'm sure you have seen other people do it for years and walk right back in almost unscathed haven't you? Well, depending on who you are that might not be your story. The Prodigal Son was young and ignorant but you might not be. I know of people who walked out on God and never made it back. They walked out the door and BAM! It was over! FLAMES!

When you get to a certain level in your Christianity you can't just walk away. When The Holy Spirit starts to move in your life and you begin to receive deep revelation from The Word of God you can't just walk away. When you start hearing God's Voice on a regular basis and begin manifesting the gifts of The Spirit you can't just walk away.

You Are Responsible For What You Know

When you get to visit heaven and encounter God's angels you can't just walk away. When you speak in other tongues and God unlocks mysteries to you, you can't just walk away. Even if God never answers another one of your prayers you can't just walk away. You're in the family now. You're in too deep. You can't just walk away!

1 Timothy 1:12-14(KJV) - And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

When Apostle Paul was ignorant in unbelief he blasphemed against God, persecuted Christians and hurt people. He did some really bad things but God was merciful. God poured His grace all over him with an abundance of faith and love. God's expectations of Paul were low due to ignorance so God let those things slide. Paul was very thankful. I would be too. However, Paul's perspective changed when he matured in Christ. The bar was raised.

1 Corinthians 9:26-27(NKJV) - Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

When Apostle Paul was mature enough to teach others The Word of God he became completely responsible for his actions. He just knew too much for God to let him off the hook too easily. The same is true for some of us. Other Christian people can do whatever they like but that won't work for us because we know too much. Apostle James has some more to say about this.

James 3:1(NKJV) - My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

James 4:17(NKJV) - Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

I love the Book of James. Apostle James had a reputation of challenging The Church to live what we preach. The higher we go the harder we fall. My heart always hurts for men and women of God who climb to the highest heights of the kingdom only to fall all the way back down. Lord, you chose us to teach others your Word, please be merciful!

Acts 17:30-31(NLT) - “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”

It's time for us to get it together. We have Christian television, Christian radio, Christian websites, Christian books, Christian music, Christian movies, Christian smartphone apps, Christian tablet apps, multiple Bible translations, audio Bibles, Bible Man for the kids, Vege-tales.... Need I continue? We are saturated with God's Word. We can get it anywhere.

We just know too much. Maybe if we lived in The Dark Ages, God would wink at our ignorance but it's 2013. Knowledge has greatly increased (Daniel 12:4). We are responsible for what we know. Let's make God proud and live like we're supposed to. He has given us much so He expects a huge return on His investments.

10

Caught! What Do You Do When God Exposes Your Sin?

What Do You Do When God Exposes Your Sin?

CAUGHT! Your heart stops suddenly. You're frozen in time. You don't have an alibi. You don't have an excuse. You can't get out of this one. You don't have a chance. You can't even think of a lie now. It's too late. You wish you could just wake up from this bad dream. You wish you could turn back the clock but it won't budge. It's stuck. You wish everything would just disappear but it can't. You're CAUGHT!

Today, we continue with Part 4 of our latest series; "God's Mercy - Why Do Some Get More Than Others?" See Part 1 for the full list of seven points described in "A Method To God's Mercy". Click here for Part 3 - "Questioning God's Mercy? - Understand True Repentance". We'll continue today with our third and final installment on Point 1) God only accepts true repentance. He looks at the heart and knows if it's real or not. As you can see, this is going to be a very long series so I suggest that you make yourself comfortable. 🙂

Proverbs 30:5-6(NKJV) - Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

Today's message is a Word from The Lord. As we see it in The Bible we accept it as the truth. We're not going to add anything to His Words. We have no intention of getting rebuked or being found as liars. If God said it, we say it. If God didn't say it, we don't say it. So let's dive in.

Proverbs 28:13(KJV) - He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Lying is hard. If you start lying about something you usually have to continue lying to cover it up. Eventually you could get your own mind caught in such a thick web of lies that you refuse to accept the truth and start believing the lies. When it gets to that point you need help. Your reality is skewed and your mind becomes reprobate (Romans 1:28). Then suddenly God exposes your sin. You're CAUGHT!

1 Corinthians 4:5(NLT) - So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.

BOOM! When God is ready, He suddenly turns the light on and the party is over. It's judgment time and nobody can escape! Those who have been living right should get excited but those who are in sin and want to stay there can't help but be totally terrified.

John 3:19-21(NLT) - And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

The conviction of The Holy Spirit is a good thing. It means you're still connected to God and you have not yet been cut off. Read Romans 1:18-32 in the New Living Translation for more. God only wants you to repent and be restored so that's why His Spirit wrestles with your heart until you let darkness go. It doesn't matter what you've done the only way to break free of darkness is by running to the light. You cannot escape the grip of darkness if you remain in darkness.

Case Study #2: King David - True Repentance 101

What Do You Do When God Exposes Your Sin?

2 Samuel 12:1-10(NLT) - So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife.

Ouch! That was intense!

King David - “As surely as the Lord lives, any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”
Prophet Nathan - You are that man!

...and cut....

What do you think was going through David's mind? He had just gotten all worked up about the sin of this fictitious man in Nathan's story only to find out that he was that man. Wow! He was caught! At that moment it must have been the worst day of his life. His heart must have hit the ground and stuck there. God was the judge and found him guilty. Then the prophet told him his sentence.

God's Sentence

2 Samuel 12:11-12(NLT) - From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”

My goodness, even King Saul didn't get punished this bad. Read "Truly Repentant Or Just Sorry For Getting Caught?" for more on that story. God really threw the book at David and there was nowhere for him to hide. At this point, King David was in exactly the same position as King Saul when Prophet Samuel accused him of sin in 1 Samuel 15:14. In each case, God used His prophet to expose the king's sin but the similarities end there. King Saul lied, denied and tried to hide his sin but King David is about to teach a class called; "True Repentance 101".

David's Confession and God's Forgiveness

2 Samuel 12:13(NLT) - Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin.

In Proverbs 28:13(KJV), The Bible says; "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." It was that simple. King David immediately confessed and God forgave him. This is why God exposed his sin. He loved David and just wanted him to repent. God loves you too and would do the same for you. Saul hid his sin and got no mercy. David repented and received forgiveness. That's a kingdom principle which still works today. However, there's another kingdom principle that comes into play in situations like these.

What Do You Do When God Exposes Your Sin?

God's Judgment

2 Samuel 12:14-20(NLT) - Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the Lord by doing this, your child will die.” After Nathan returned to his home, the Lord sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife. David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground. The elders of his household pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused. Then on the seventh day the child died. David’s advisers were afraid to tell him. “He wouldn’t listen to reason while the child was ill,” they said. “What drastic thing will he do when we tell him the child is dead?” When David saw them whispering, he realized what had happened. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate.

In Galatians 6:7-8, The Bible says; "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." It is true that God forgave David but the harvest of his actions was serious. He slept with Uriah's wife and killed him once he discovered she was pregnant so unfortunately the child died.

This kingdom principle of "seed, time and harvest" is as important as the principle of repentance. God may forgive you in an instant for any sin you've committed but you may still have to reap a harvest of your actions on the earth. That's what The Bible says and it's the gospel truth. I would be deceiving you if I said you could do anything and once you repent, never face the consequences.

God has forgiven murderers but they remain in jail. He has forgiven money launderers but their financial empire remains ruined. He has forgiven adulterers but that marriage they destroyed may never have been restored. Their eternal consequences were paid by The Blood of Jesus but they reaped a harvest on earth for the seeds they sowed. So after you ask for forgiveness should you still plead for mercy? Oh yes! Even in the midst of a harvest for sin God shows mercy to those who truly repent.

God's Mercy To David

2 Samuel 12:24-25(NLT) - Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The Lord loved the child and sent word through Nathan the prophet that they should name him Jedidiah (which means “beloved of the Lord”), as the Lord had commanded.

Do you know that David and Bathsheba's second son became the great King Solomon? God took David's first son because of his sin but blessed his second son because of his repentance. This introduces a third Kingdom principle that applies to us found in Romans 5:20-21(NKJV); "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.".

Even if you get caught red-handed in sin, quickly repent and ask God for His grace and mercy in your situation. It's available in abundance and even has the power to show you favor when you least deserve it. When David sinned, God chastised him but returned soon after to bless him again. That's grace. David didn't deserve for his second son with Uriah's wife to be blessed but God chose to do so anyway. God guarantees forgiveness to every repentant heart but He does not guarantee that no consequences will be faced for the decisions made. His grace determines how much, how soon or if any at all of the earthly consequences will be faced by the one who repents. That's really up to Him.

1 John 1:8-9(NKJV) - If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

David repented and received God's grace but Saul hid his sin and never got another chance. In 1 Samuel 15:35 The Bible says that after pronouncing God's judgment on King Saul, Prophet Samuel NEVER went to see him again. The Bible says in Romans 1:24-25(NLT) - "So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies.They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen."

When God exposes your sin who would you like to emulate? David or Saul? If you choose to be like David, after you are reproved, God will return to you with His grace and mercy but if you choose to be like Saul you just might end up on your own. Choose wisely.

We'll be back tomorrow.

14

Ask Donnell - What Does It Mean To Be Chosen By God?

Ask Donnell - What Does It Mean To Be Chosen By God?

We received the following question from Kathrina;

Hi Donnell,

Can you explain this expression for me please? “many are called/invited but few are chosen” Matthew 22:14… how do i know if i’m called or chosen? what is the difference? many pastors talk or preach about answering the “call” but i can’t remember ever hearing anyone talk/preach about the difference between “called and chosen”.

Great question Kathrina, I see you've been paying attention in church.

I've heard it many times before but my former pastor did offer the following interesting explanation. The "called ones" are the people God invites but the "chosen ones" are those who show up in response to the invitation. That simple explanation sounds pretty good to me but let's see what we can discover on our own by reading through the scripture reference for ourselves.

Matthew 22:1-14(NKJV) - And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Let's begin with a brief study of the words "called" and "chosen" from Matthew 22:14.

The word "called" was translated from the Greek word "kletos" which means;
1) called, invited (to a banquet)
a) invited (by God in the proclamation of the Gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom through Christ
b) called to (the discharge of) some office
1) divinely selected and appointed

The word "chosen" was translated from the Greek word "eklektos" which means;
1) picked out, chosen
a) chosen by God,
1) to obtain salvation through Christ
a) Christians are called "chosen or elect" of God
2) the Messiah is called "elect", as appointed by God to the most exalted office conceivable
3) choice, select, i.e. the best of its kind or class, excellence preeminent: applied to certain individual Christians

Ask Donnell - What Does It Mean To Be Chosen By God?

The 14th verse of Matthew 22 should be interpreted in context of the 13 preceding verses. Many people were invited to a banquet. Only a few people responded to the invitation. In the same way, at the most basic level, many are invited by God into His Kingdom. Those people are "the called." Out of that group, those who actually respond and obtain the salvation that is offered are known as the "chosen" or "elect."

Another interpretation of this scripture is that each one of us was born with a "call" of God on our lives. We were each given a purpose to fulfill during our lifetimes and it's our responsibility to discover what it is. According to Romans 11:29 this call is irrevocable and is directly accompanied by our natural gifts. Unfortunately, many of us make excuses and find reasons to justify doing absolutely nothing with God's call on our lives. The chosen few are the people who know God's call on their lives, perfect the gifts they've received, then carry it out with excellence. They become the best of their class and are chosen for special honor by The Lord.

Last but not least, the call of God is an open invitation to everyone which means nobody has to be specially qualified to be called by God. In contrast, those who are chosen by God are individually picked out by God for special reasons. For example, check these scriptures out;

2 Corinthians 5:17-19(KJV) - Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

If you don't know your purpose or where you fit into God's Kingdom at the very least you should know this. God gave all of us the ministry of reconciliation. Every single Christian is called to the ministry of reconciliation. The same way God reconciled you to Himself through Jesus Christ you should go out and reconcile the world to Jesus. That's what it means to be called by God. He gave you a ministry of reconciliation and invited you to participate. As long as you're a Christian you qualify for this ministry. You just have to answer the call.

Ephesians 4:11-13(NKJV) - And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Here's the difference between being "called" and "chosen". All of us were given the ministry of reconciliation which means all us are "called" to the ministry of reconciliation. On the other hand, God only gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers which means these people are "chosen" to do so by God. I hope this short study on being "called" or "chosen" was easy to understand.

6

Questioning God's Mercy? - Understand True Repentance

Questioning God's Mercy? - Understand True Repentance

"But I said I was sorry? Why isn't that good enough? What's your problem?"

Has someone ever said something like that to you before? Better yet, have you ever said it to someone else? Why isn't just saying sorry alone good enough anymore? Isn't the phrase "I'm sorry" the secret password back into someone's broken heart? Shouldn't it heal a broken relationship? Shouldn't it win someone's trust again? Aren't those supposed to be magic words like "open sesame" or "abracadabra"? What's the big deal?

Today, we continue with Part 3 of our latest series; "God's Mercy - Why Do Some Get More Than Others?" See Part 1 for the full list of seven points described in "A Method To God's Mercy". Click here for Part 2 - "Truly Repentant Or Just Sorry For Getting Caught?" We'll continue today with our second installment on Point 1) God only accepts true repentance. He looks at the heart and knows if it's real or not.

Proverbs 28:13(KJV) - He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Who gets God's mercy? God promises mercy to those who confess and forsake their sins. As we explained in the last blog there is a major difference between true repentance and just being sorry you got caught. Again, based on The Biblical definition here's what we learned: "When someone truly repents there is an admission of guilt, a complete disdain for what was done, Godly sorrow and a brand new mindset concerning the issue. If any one of those were missing, it was not true repentance and God would not accept it."

Today, let's continue Case Study #1 - King Saul (Israel's First King) - An example of what true repentance is not! In the last blog we focused our attention on the riveting exchange between the prophet Samuel and King Saul. After repeatedly denying any wrongdoing even in the face of the truth, King Saul eventually relented. Unfortunately for him, at that point, God had enough of his lies and didn't show him any mercy. Why was God so hard on King Saul? There is even more to this story. Today, let's dig even deeper.

Questioning God's Mercy? - Understand True Repentance

1 Samuel 15:1-3, 16-19(NLT) - One day Samuel said to Saul, “It was the Lord who told me to anoint you as king of his people, Israel. Now listen to this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.”...... Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! Listen to what the Lord told me last night!” “What did he tell you?” Saul asked. And Samuel told him, “Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king of Israel. And the Lord sent you on a mission and told you, ‘Go and completely destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, until they are all dead.’ Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord? Why did you rush for the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?”

There was something special about King Saul's assignment to destroy the Amalekites. God really wanted them wiped off the face of the earth and He had a reason for it. It was so much bigger than Saul. These people had been on God's heart for generations. It was personal for God. It was time to settle a score and as Israel's first king, Saul was selected by God to carry it out. Here's the background story.

"Why didn't King Saul receive mercy from God?

1) King Saul's disobedience was special because of the weight of the instructions. What God had asked Him to do in 1 Samuel 15 was a big deal to God, a big, big deal.

Exodus 17:8-15(NKJV) - Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner; for he said, “Because the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

When The Children of Israel escaped Egypt they spent forty years in the wilderness under the leadership of Moses. During that time, God had a special relationship with Moses. Here's what The Bible says about it in Exodus 33:11; "And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend...."

The Amalekites were a thorn in Israel's side. They attacked The Children of Israel in the wilderness and it took a miracle of God through Moses with the help of Aaron and Hur to defeat them. That day, God promised He would completely annihilate these people. Therefore, long before King Saul was even born The Lord had made that promise to Moses and He never forgot. He was so serious about it that He told Moses to write it down and make sure Joshua was a witness.

Consequently, when God asked King Saul to destroy the Amalekites it was not about King Saul at all. It wasn't even about his generation. It was about a promise God had made to His friend Moses many years before. God gave Moses His Word to Moses and took great offense that King Saul got in the middle and screwed it up. There are certain instructions from God which carry more weight than others and this one was heavy. So when Saul disobeyed the instructions he messed up big time.

Maybe King Saul didn't understand how serious God's instructions were. However, he had no excuse because even though God didn't owe him an explanation, God still told Saul why he had to do it. Here's what God said; "I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys."

In case Saul forgot, God reminded him about what the Amalekites had done to the Children of Israel in the wilderness so he knew why God wanted them dead. That made it even worse. Now let's make this personal. Has God asked you to do something? The truth is that you probably have no idea how important His instructions are. You probably want to obey Him and protect yourself. It could be the answer to someone's prayer in the past or maybe even in the future. It could be the key to someone's freedom. It could be the fulfillment of a prophecy. You have no idea. Don't take any chances.

2) Saul had a reputation for disobedience. From early in his reign, he showed relative disregard for God's commandments. By His second year, God was already prepared to get rid of him.

Questioning God's Mercy? - Understand True Repentance

1 Samuel 13:1-2, 6-14(NKJV) - Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose for himself three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in the mountains of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent away, every man to his tent...... When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger (for the people were distressed), then the people hid in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in holes, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. So Saul said, “Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.” And he offered the burnt offering. Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. And Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

Saul had just become king and had a mind of his own. He had no regard for God's order and chose to bypass prophet Samuel and go directly to God. His heart was in the wrong place and God saw that. Hence, even though initially God intended to establish Saul as a king for generations, God changed His mind and picked David.

By the time God told King Saul to get off the throne in 1 Samuel 15 it was no surprise. It wasn't about his disobedience when it came to the Amalekites. It was about his pattern of disobedience and his disdain for God's instructions concerning the Amalekites was the last straw. Even though King Saul eventually said he was sorry he didn't mean it.

Joel 2:12-14(NKJV) - “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him— A grain offering and a drink offering For the Lord your God?

God has great mercy and He's longsuffering but He frowns upon patterns of disobedience. At some point people who consistently and completely disregard God's commands run out of chances and hit the judgment of God headfirst. Even though God promises to always accept repentance, saying sorry alone isn't true repentance. God knows what's going on in a person's heart.

"When someone truly repents there is an admission of guilt, a complete disdain for what was done, Godly sorrow and a brand new mindset concerning the issue. If any one of those were missing, it was not true repentance and God would not accept it."

We'll continue from here next time.

Pages:123

Slider by webdesign