For those of you who have been following the post about the World Vision controversy…finally…here is post 3 of 3. If you haven’t read posts 1 and 2, I would encourage you to do so first by clicking their links right here.
Continuing with Post 3 of 3…
I have been trying to figure out how to blog on this without it being an entire book. So…I spoke at a Church called “Just Church” in Surprise AZ recently. My message is my blog post 3 of 3. I wish the message was video, but it’s only audio. As you are listening…I have 3 “stations” on stage. Hot…Lukewarm…Cold. You’ll hear me go back and forth to each location as I walk us through what the Bible means when it says there are different kinds of sins.
To be clear…
The Bible does NOT say that “no sin is greater than any other sin.” In fact…the Bible is clear…there are, for sure, 2 different levels of sin. My message spells this fact out.
To help you envision what is happening on the stage…the only visual I had on stage was a Jewish Prayer Shawl called a Tallit. See Pic at right, so as you listen to the message you can imagine what it looks like when I am wearing the Tallit as I stand on the “Hot” station of the stage.
The Lukewarm station is in the middle of the stage and the Cold Station is the far right of the stage. (To be clear…the Tallit can only be worn when I’m standing in the Hot Station on stage. To have the Tallit on my head is to represent Jesus living in me. It is impossible to have Jesus living in me while I am practicing sin (Lukewarm) or when I haven’t accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior yet. (Cold))
If you have questions after listening to the message, please just ask. This message has a lot of controversy potential in it…but it was spoken in love…and it is Biblical Truth.
Too many people are calling themselves Christian and at the same time are living in direct disobedience to how the Bible says they are to live. This kind of life is living Lukewarm. Please listen to the message for clarity on this.
Here you go…Just click the link below and listen…The first words you’ll hear me speak are “Disgusting huh?” I say that because the Church just showed a video clip of somebody throwing up…to prepare for the message called SPEW! LOL … Please listen by clicking the link below…
I love ya…and I’d do anything for you to help you follow Jesus more fervently.
A drum is hollow and that is why it makes so much noise when it encounters “pressure.” (A drummer with drumsticks is a definite pressure.) The opposite, is a barrel that is full. You can beat on it, kick it, yell at it and it just doesn’t make much noise. A full barrel is not easy to move.
Empty barrels make the most noise.
How would you define an empty barrel? I think, that a barrel is only defined by what’s inside it.
An empty barrel is…well…nothing but empty. Uninspiring. But….
Think of a barrel full of wine. A barrel full of oil. A barrel full of whiskey. Pork barrels. A barrel full of fun. A barrel with a rodeo clown in it! A barrel full of monkeys! When I think of those kind of barrels…Voila!…I get imagery, identity and inspiration.
So…a barrel is best defined by what is inside of it! This leads me to ask… What defines you? Where do you get your identity? WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR FILL? What are you full of?
So…let’s use the clown in the barrel illustration and just imagine that everyone of us is a clown and we all have our own barrels we carry around. Please understand, that we can switch barrels any day or every day. My posting this is not about me thinking I’m the God barrel and others are not. My posting this is for us all to measure only ourselves in the presence of God and work on being the God filled barrel as described below. The start of measuring where we are is understanding what the different types are.
What fills your barrel?
Self Filled Barrel…these types are just that…full of themselves. Always thinking about themselves. These types take way more selfie photos and post them on facebook, instagram, vine, twitter and other barrel filling venues, way more often than what is normal. Part of being a healthy person is having a healthy self-love, but that is not what I’m talking about when I mention barrels full of self. This barrel is a very selfish person and is very lonely because they love themselves the most. When this Barrel gets sick of themselves, it will then desire to be filled with material goods, better make-up, over the top body augmentations, that outrageously attention grabbing new automobile, money, jobs, and anything that tastes good to the self…or makes self look better. It’s all very self-ish.
Other’s Filled Barrel…Another type is the kind that runs around always needing others to fill their barrels. This barrel thinks very lowly of themselves..but you can’t notice that fact very easily. This type seems happy and bright. This type is very good at talking and can be known as a people person. But, if you pay attention, you will begin to see a pattern. This type politely begs for attention, by giving attention, hungers for recognition as they give recognition, yet they are empty. This type has learned how to get their barrel filled by others. They approach others and compliment others…WAY too often… and tell others that they are doing wonderful…even when they are not doing wonderful, they will tell you that you look great even when you put on clearly mismatched clothing and look ridiculous. They over compliment, coddle, innocently and complimentarily lie to you…regularly…and then sit patiently in front of you hoping that you will fill up their barrel with your compliments in return. This type of barrel has a lot of leaks in it, and thus has to continue the over-giving and false complimenting with lots of laughter, fun, and starvation driven attention. In our society today, this type is considered okay because we think we are helping each other by falsely complimenting each other. Our society has catered to this being natural. We start it with our children. Giving them trophy’s when they should have gone home empty handed. We tell them they are winners when…in that race…they were the loser. Education systems are talking about not using red ink anymore, it seems to harsh on our wonderful children. And then they grow up…and have to face loss, no trophies, and regular dissapointment…and we wonder why depression and psychotic medicines can’t stay stocked in our pharmacies. OTHER’S FILLED BARRELS!
God Filled Barrel. This barrel is the type of person who has figured out that their definition is found in only one being. God. Jesus. Holy Spirit. Which ever title you prefer of those three, or all three…this barrel is FULL. This barrel understands that they are not better than anybody else but simply have chosen a life of fullness and gratitude. This barrel can get angry and express that anger, but you are a light…I like the thought of being a barrel full of light! This barrel is lot like Jesus, because their barrel is full of Him…He is light. This barrel understands their imperfections to be only unique traits that their creator bestowed upon them and them only! This barrel knows it can share what is inside of it…because there is a lifetime guarantee of free refills. This barrel doesn’t get caught up in scarcity…a panic and fear of not enough to go around…so they just keep giving. This barrel can be kicked, burnt, cut, or broken and yet maintain its confidence because it knows its creator is the great barrel builder, healer and fulfiller! The God filled barrel has absorbed into its very fibrous container the Scripture passages of John 8:31-32 where Jesus says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you FREE.”
Colossians 3:1-4, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.Which one are you?”
The two passages above scream one phrase to me. “A God filled barrel is always full!”
SO…if I’m not a God Filled Barrel that’s always full…then what must I do to become one?…Please Note…this is not an easy task. Don’t be decieved into thinking that you can say a prayer and instantly become a God filled Barrel. Becoming a God filled barrel usually takes a lot of repair. Most repairs are noisy, painful and full of grinding, sharpening, pressure, realignment…and it’s usually a messy fix. To become a God Filled Barrel is a life long commitment to stick to it, even when it doesn’t feel good! So…here’s how to begin the process…
If you are the self-filled barrel, then you must humble yourself and recognize that you can’t keep it up. You can’t fulfill yourself the rest of your life. You must admit that you aren’t that good and you must take on the passages of Scripture that communicate this truth to you… “Consider other’s better than yourself.” You must work on becoming like Jesus who washed the feet of even His betrayer. HE IS KING, yet took on the form of a humble servant. You must transform your barrel to only be filled with who God says you are! God loves you so much…that even while you were a full blown selfie…selfish bigot, nasty self worshipper…God still chose to kill His one and only Son…so that He wouldn’t have to kill you to pay for your sins. That is love! That is identity! That is a God Filled Barrel! For a self-filled barrel to become a God filled barrel, I’m not asking you to think less of yourself…I’m asking to stop thinking of yourself, period.
If you are an Other’s Filled Barrel. You have got to admit people have become your gods. You worship the favor of mankind. Oh…this will be hard for you to admit if you are an other’s filled barrel. You have been so trained that your idol worship is actually the love of God for other people. You come across as a people person who really loves other people…and you do love other people, but if you are an other’s filled barrel, what you love more than other people and more than God is when people “love” you back! This is idol worship and you must stop it. This will be hard for you, because you have more than likely surrounded yourself with other’s just like you. You must admit that the friends you have in life…the one’s you really like…well…you only like them because they do for you what you do for them. “Birds of a feather…flock together!” If you are an other’s filled barrel, then, when you begin to change this about yourself…you are going to find out who your true friends are. What happens to an other’s filled barrel type, when they quit doing their false worship of others? They find themselves standing by themself, because the other… Other’s filled Barrels…went after others who will fill them up because you stopped being their God for them and stopped filling them up. If you are an Other’s filled Barrel, then you must only let Jesus Christ fill you up. Oh…it will always feel good to get compliments…but you will notice it someday when you truly become a God filled Barrel…because when the compliments come from people…you notice them…but you won’t need them to make you full!
If you are God Filled Barrel…then just be you. Keep drawing near to the ever giving, all consuming, all inspiring, King of Kings, who never quits, never leaves, never disappoints and always keeps His fulfilling promises….AND YOU WILL NEVER BE EMPTY! You will be able to look death in the face and with a crinkle in your nose and a squint in your eyes say, “Where O death is your victory…Where O death is your sting!” You are living for another life, another earth, another Kingdom…in fact you are bringing that Kingdom to this earth…to this life and to others!
The most critical thing about which barrel you are…it’s your choice. You don’t have to be stuck in any one of the barrels if you don’t want to be.
You are made to be a barrel full of God…a barrel of light!
When I think of the world and places like…Uganda…Namibia…Romania…Haiti…Guatemala…India…Appalachia…Peru…the Philippines…Russia…Cuba and other places that we must travel to so we may be the hands and feet of Jesus, I shudder at their physical condition, and it seems extraordinary that one person could walk into it all and decide to tackle this thing and actually believe he/she could make a dent.
The reality is…and I’m intensely convinced of this…that the work must be He not I or it all fails. Do you know that if your life’s work is your’s it will die with you. But if it is His work it will live beyond you and continue much good. Name your profession…the above statement is true of it too.
I suppose I should clarify who He/His is above. It is clearly the Holy Spirit through which Jesus Christ sent us as He returned back to His gated community for now and is referenced in Acts 1:7-9, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” This Holy Spirit that Jesus sent…when you and I are dwelling fully in it…will experience the fruit of this Holy Spirit. This fruit is referenced in Galatians 5:22, “The fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self-Control.” It’s fair for me to write that anytime I am not living in the fruit above, I have stepped away from the presence of the Holy Spirit and begun to live in the flesh again. When I am not immersed in the nine fruit of the Spirit mentioned above, I am grabbing life from the hands of God and saying that I am greater than He is…we would never say such a thing, but actions speak louder than words.
The Apostle Paul new this best. The farmboy inside of me can’t help but teach this next paragraph in it’s truest form! Paul says in Philippians 3:8 that any gain based upon his own work failed to endorse Christ alone as the source of good. As Paul wrote this, he wrote it in a way that the translators of the Scriptures have determined too controversial to write in their new translations for fear of upsetting the BMPDs of life. Click the following link to find out what I mean by a BMPD…it’s a blog post titled, “What to do when you are getting rocked by life.”)
These politically correct translators have used the word “Rubbish/refuse” in Phillippians 3:8. But in the King James translation, it is called what it is, DUNG…but even King Jimmy’s translation was not the word The Apostle Paul literally wrote and used. He literally used the word “Skubala.” This word skubala is not used anywhere else in the entire Bible. The exact translation is not rubbish or dung or refuse…it is literally translated, “shit.” So, the following is the exact translation of what Paul literally wrote in his letter to the Church in Philippi back in the 50’s…and I don’t mean the 1950’s. Here’s the exact translation of the word Skubala…
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them shit, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8
I wish the translators had the guts of the Apostle Paul to say it like He said it. I think that passage would catch our attention much better and aid us in knowing what our own work…when we do it on our own power…really is. Can you imagine being in the Philippian Church when the Pastor stood to read this new and exciting letter from Paul. They must have been anticipating this letter’s arrival and when it arrived, word would have gotten out about it, and a big crowd would have gathered for Church to hear it read! I would have loved to at least been a fly on the wall when the Pastor arrived at this sentence! I wonder if there were gasps?!
Are you building your own work…Church/school/law firm/pharmacy/accounting practice/football team/garbage truck driver/plumber/mission work/etc…with your own Skubala…or is it all coming through Jesus Christ…Lord of Lord’s….King of King’s…whom someday will return to judge the living and the dead. When He returns on that day…He will not arrive in Love and gentleness…He came in love the first time some 2000 years ago. He is coming back…and after paying the huge price to earn the title, “All-Authority-One”…with His arrival the Skubala is going to hit the fan. Make sure your “work” is done through the name of Jesus Christ! Period.
Build through Jesus and Him alone. Whatever you think is yours…it’s not…it belongs to the King.
So….I must become less…He must become greater. You too.
….and NEVER forget what the Apostle Paul wrote just after calling His own works, “Skubala,”
“I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength!” Philippians 4:13
Bring on the world and all it’s Skubala…Jesus is in us and now we must be off to Ends of the Earth! There is a lot of work to be done!
7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.Matthew 7:7-11 NLT
This passage from Jesus has caused a lot of wonder in the minds and hearts of Bible readers. I think this teaching of Jesus’s has caused anger in the hearts and minds of those who have begged God for things, but the prayers seemed to go unanswered. If this teaching has caused frustration and wonder in your heart and mind, I hope the following thoughts will provide some answers and explanations. I cannot promise that you will still not be frustrated.
I want to first add a disclaimer. Anytime you and I ask, “Why?” to God…we are more than likely going to be left hanging. I think on rare occasions God provides the answer as to why something happened…but not until the person affected looks back with 20/20 hindsight.
So, it seems in this teaching of Jesus’s, that He is encouraging us to be persistent in our asking. In a Hydrate Devotion to come later, I will be writing in regards to the parable Jesus taught about a Persistent Widow. If you do not want to wait for that devotion, then I encourage you to go ahead and turn to Luke 18:1-8 and compare it to this teaching of Jesus’s.
It seems that persistence pays off. However, if persistence pays off, then why do Children in Africa starve to death everyday? Why does the little girl being abused each evening by her foster parent not get what she is begging for? Why did my family members daughter die of Cancer at 15? I imagine you and I could record a thousand more “why” questions if we worked at it. But I already mentioned that we shouldn’t be asking God why He does some things and doesn’t do other things.
Check out a couple other Bible verses about this subject matter. Hopefully after reading them, you might have a few more answers as to why some things you ask for don’t happen. First let’s look at James 4:2-3. “You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Also:1 John 5:14
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
These passages provide some answers that help us understand why we sometimes do not receive what we ask for. Wrong motives are a key reason. The other is that we are asking for something that is not in God’s will for us. I hate that reason. But, it’s a biblical reason and thus I accept it.
On a side note, when it comes to this topic, do you have a friend in your life that you can discuss these issues with? A friend who you trust enough to tell you whether or not they think your motives are pure. A friend you trust enough to tell you whether or not they think your asking is in accordance with God’s will. I have found that the only way I can have a friend in my life like that is to first be one. It’s always good to have a trusted friends opinion. If you are like me, then it’s easy to be blind to my own ambitions and will. Having a few trusted friends who are not afraid to share their opinion about you to you will always be beneficial in being self aware about your own motives.
There are no easy answers to this subject. My advice is to never stop asking what it is that you desire. There is no harm in asking. However, if you are desiring a 30 foot yacht to show up in your driveway or for the next 500 million dollar power ball winning ticket to be in your hands when they announce the numbers…you might do well to remember than nearly 20,000 children will die of starvation today around the world. It might help you to understand God’s will with more clarity when you recognize that today there will be about 154,000 deaths around the world. Now think about how many of those souls are going to Heaven or Hell. What, exactly is it, you are begging for God to give to you? With the stats I just shared, does your prayer still have a chance of being answered in the positive?
If you and I get up each day and pray a prayer that Jesus taught us to pray, it will include this line, “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” If you are praying regularly that God’s will be done, you will find your heart and mind being okay with God answering your prayer with the answer of, “No.”
Are you still looking for answers as to why some things you ask for do not happen? Here are some more…do not forget that the Bible teaches that God is not a control freak. Even though God can do anything He wants, the greatest attribute of God is the fact that He is not a control freak. God’s greatest ability is in the fact that He restrains Himself. I imagine it would be really easy for God to simply force every soul into Heaven for eternity. However, would that really be love? Love doesn’t control or force. Love lays down guidelines and then honors choice. Another reason as to why some wonderful things that should happen, but don’t, is because our world has been cursed by ourselves when we sinned. This curse, beginning with Adam and Eve, has brought about death, disease, injustice and heart ache. Is this God’s fault? Of course not, God is love and He gives freedom of choice. In our freedom of choice there are consequences.
Still looking for other reasons as to why you don’t get what you ask for?
Have you considered there is an enemy of God’s who is trying to steal you from God? The devil is alive and strong and is doing everything in his power to disrupt and destroy your heart, soul, mind and strength. If the devil can win in this venture then he wins in attaining your soul for eternity. The best way for the devil to disrupt your life is to get you to blame God for things that God shouldn’t be blamed for. If the devil can get you angry and bitter towards God, then the rest of the devil’s mission is easy.
If you still aren’t satisfied, as to why God doesn’t just answer your prayer requests in the manner you desire, I would like to share one more. When Jesus taught this subject material in person, He was immersed physically in the world of the Hebrew culture. In this Jewish society, prayer life was typically focused on forgiveness, justice, repentance, soul searching, and self improvement in behavior. It is rare to read old prayers from centuries ago where the subject of the prayer was on material goods, riches or other self pleasing desires. Might it be, when Jesus teaches on this subject material of keep on asking that He wasn’t talking about physical and material goods at all? Might is be, that Jesus is suggesting that you can answer many of your own prayers? How? If your prayers are more like the kind of prayers that took place in Jesus’s time, then your prayer focus would be continually asking God to help you be more like Him. If this is the case, then if you continually prayed to be more kind to others, it will seem your continual focus on being kind will actually answer your prayer and you will find yourself practicing kindness. I like to say, you will become what you are becoming right now. If you spend the next week, continually asking God to give you more patience with one of your children…might it be that your continual focus on patience through prayer, will cause you to become more patient? Nowhere in this teaching of Jesus’s does He say, ask and God your Father will wave His magic wand and give you what you ask for. I think Jesus knows that you and I will become what we focus on. Prayer is focus! Many prayers we pray, if our motives are right and we are praying for things that really matter, then many of our prayers/focus can be answered simply because we are focusing on them.
Again, many of our prayers we pray are just not in the will of God. God isn’t interested in your comfort as much as He is interested in your character! But I sense that some of you are reading this and still not satisfied as to why your loved one passed away from a nasty disease when you begged God persistently to heal them. Well, I answer that by asking, was your loved one a believer? If you answered yes, then I believe that God did heal your loved one. Death for a believer is to leave this earth and join the Father in eternity. That is the ultimate form of healing. The prayer may have not been answered exactly like you wanted, but the person was healed and you will see them again, if you too are a follower of Jesus.
I’m sure there are other reasons I could come up with, but my time is up. I would love to hear from you in regards to other things you can think of as to why some of our prayers seems to not get answered.
I would like to close with this twist and challenge.
How many prayers are being prayed by desperate people right now that you can actually answer? Can you answer the prayers of a hungry person? Can you answer the prayers of the jobless person? Can you answer the prayers of someone praying for a friend to come into their life? etc. etc.
How different would your life be, if you lived it in such a way that your actions were many people’s answered prayers?