Archive for the ‘Pathway of Blessing’ Category


I have recently spent a great deal of time with young teenagers. I had many struggles myself, but nothing compares with what our kids are facing today. Peer pressure is stronger than ever, and the divide between God’s way and man’s way is deeper and broader than ever before. Young David began writing the Psalms as a teenager. He made a decision to follow this unseen God with all his heart and life. I believe that decision was with him through every struggle and mistake he faced.  David was my hero as a young man. Sure, he was flawed, but to me that meant he was real. If you have a teenager struggling with peer pressure, with temptations, with their identity, take them through these Psalms. I believe they may hold the key to a life that will be blessed. The decisions that young teens make will determine where they will end up when they are 50 and 60. These select Psalms are an excellent guide to making the right decisions.

The importance of right thinking

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

From my conversations with young teens, bad thoughts and bad words are a real struggle, even from “Christian” teens. Every day they are subjected to profanity, mild pornography, insults, slams to their appearance, and insults to their character. David struggled with insults from his brothers. He struggled with gossip, slander and even death threats from close friends, his Jewish brothers. Embracing, reading, meditating on the Word of God is the only way to cleanse the impurity of our thought and words. We must believe in the power of the Word of God, for it is living! The Word of God ministers LIFE to our soul! Learn to embrace the power of the Word of God. Here are some powerful Psalms that speak to the issues you may face as a teenager.

How can my life matter?

Psalm 1:1-6 1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Life is a Choice. Do you want to be like wheat chaff, which simply blows away and is gone? Or do you want to be like a mighty tree, whose leaves never wither in spite of heat or drought, but always has fruit to give to others in his season.

If you want to be like that mighty tree, you must decide to build your life on the Word of God, and meditate in it day and night. You must also decide not to associate with people whose lives are contrary to God’s standards.

Who am I? Why am I here?

Psalm 8:1-9 1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Learn to marvel at God constantly all day long. Learn to call upon His name (Jehovah) and declare His majesty! Learn to see Him in everything you look at, nature, the heavens, your friends, your parents (even when you are having conflict!) God is constantly watching you, loving you and thinking about you! He has crowned you with glory and honor, but you will only realize it as you declare His Glory! Realize he uses the mouths of babies to defeat the enemy! Because of God you are amazing! You are here to be used of God for His glory!

Does God care about me?

Psalm 16:1-11 1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” 3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. 5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Learn that for God to have a relationship with you, you must make a decision to follow Him as Lord of your life. Realize He wants you, desires a relationship with you and will communicate with you. He listens when we call upon Him! He will counsel you when you start to pay attention to His Word. Learn to set the Lord God always before you, at your right hand, a place of honor. With Him at your right hand, you will not be shaken no matter what happens. When you pay attention to God and decide to honor Him with your life, He will make known to you His pathway of life!

Why should I follow God?

Psalm 24:1-10 1 The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah 7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! 9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah

He is the King of Glory! The earth and everything in it and on it is His! You are His! He hands out Blessing to and righteousness to all who seek him and follow Him! Keep your hands clean and your heart pure, do not lie and swear. He is your King of Glory!

Does God care when my life sucks?

Psalm 25:1-18 1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. 3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. 4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. 5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. 6 Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! 8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. 9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. 10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. 11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. 12 Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. 13 His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. 14 The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. 15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. 18 Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.

Young David had some really horrible days. People were gossiping and telling lies about him, and some wanted to kill him. His life was really messed up. He went from being a hero to a less than zero. But he learned he could always trust in God. He could always tell God how much he hurt, how lonely he felt. And he knew that God would teach him if he paid attention to the way that God worked. He learned that God could actually lead him. Sure, David messed up a lot, but God forgave the sins of his youth, for God’s love is always there for those who have made a decision to follow Him as Lord. Learn to fear (respect) God. Learn to reverence Him. Speak up to your friends when they use God’s name in a wrong way. Learn to turn off movies and shows that use God’s name in bad ways. When you fear and reverence God, He will be your friend. Keep your eyes always on God! He will turn to you when you are lonely and going through tough times.

What about when my life really, really sucks?

Psalm 31:12-24 12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. 13 For I hear the whispering of many— terror on every side! — As they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. 14 but I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! 16 Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! 17 O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol. 18 Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt. 19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! 20 In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues. 21 Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. 22 I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help. 23 Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. 24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!

Learn that your times are in God’s hands. There will be really low times. There will be times when it seems even your best friend has turned against you. Call upon God; tell Him “You are my God!” Ask Him to rescue you, ask Him to shine His face upon you and save you in His steadfast love! He will put the wicked to shame. Maybe not right away, but God will intervene on your behalf. You will look back on those times of trouble and they will seem so minor. Learn to be strong and take courage in the Lord! Praise Him in the midst of the storm for the abundance of His goodness!

Live life God’s way – trust, dwell, delight, commit, be still and wait!

Psalm 37:1-11 1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! 2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

God is cool, and He wants you to be cool. When you follow God, you don’t need to stress about all the (crap) that swirls around your life. Parents being mean? Friends getting away with all sorts of stuff? The bad guys bothering you? Teacher against you? Kids making fun of you? I know it is tough, but God has a better way. He wants you to trust in Him. He is always on the throne. He will always make it right. That doesn’t mean life will always be cool and stress free. What it means is you will always have the “Big Gun” on your side! Don’t fret (fall apart), trust that God is in control, find something about God to delight in, commit what you want to happen to God, then trust Him to act! He will cause you to shine in His timing, and you need to man up and wait fro Him. Do not take things in your own hands. Don’t get mad, don’t start lashing out, it will just get you in more trouble. Wait upon God and you will watch Him give you everything you need. He will give you abundant peace!

Be still, and take time to know God

Psalm 46:1-11 1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. 6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Never underestimate the Power of God! He truly is our refuge and strength! Instead of allowing fears to dominate your heart, see yourself in the City of God, surrounded by the Fortress of God, His holy habitation. Be still before Him and know that He is God! Learn to see that He is with you even in the worst of times, when it seems your world is falling apart. He is right beside you, a very present help in times of trouble. He wants you to take time to be still and know Him. He is not an “in your face” kind of God. You must take time to know Him.

Do not be a fool

Psalm 53:1-6 1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. 2 God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3 They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. 4 Have those who work evil no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon God? 5 There they are, in great terror, where there is no terror! For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you; you put them to shame, for God has rejected them. 6 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

No one thinks they are a fool. Most teens think they are pretty smart. Not being a fool is not about head smarts, street smarts or anything you think is smart. You become a fool when you leave God out of your life. You are a fool if you say ‘no” to God! If you ignore God or deny that He is watching over your life or even leave Him out of your life, you will become corrupt and foolish in the sense that you are going you own way. You are missing out on what “wisdom” is all about. Wisdom is living your life from God’s point of view, with God set before you.  If you say no to God, you are living by your standards, and you will be a fool to God. Seek after God, for He is looking down from heaven to see if anyone understands Him, if anyone will follow Him.

Learn to cry out to God when surrounded by lions

Psalm 57:1-11 1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. 2 I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. 3 He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! 4 My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. 5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! 6 They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah 7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! 8 Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! 9 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

Never try to face your problems alone. Always ask God to stand between you and your problems. Never think that He doesn’t care about what you are going through. CRY OUT TO GOD! He will send out His steadfast love! Don’t worry about what will happen to you, simply Exalt God and ask for His Glory to come from your situation! Kneel before Him in the shadow of His wings and take refuge! Cry out to Him and ask Him to work His purpose for your life. He will save you! Desire His glory to be over all the earth!

Learn to praise the Lord and find His blessing!

Psalm 67:1-7 1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah 2 that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. 3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah 5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. 7 God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Learn to praise the Lord at all times. God shines His face upon those who praise Him! The blessings of God inhabit the praise of His children!

Make the Lord your dwelling place and no evil will come upon you

Psalm 91:1-16 1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. 5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— 10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. 14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. 15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

When you are growing up, fear is all around you. Fear of the unknown, fear of failing your parents, fear of what your friends think, fear of being unpopular, fear of life, and even fear of yourself and what you might do or say. God wants you to dwell in Him, to make Him your confidence and shelter. Allow His faithfulness and sheild to reinforce your soul. Through faith in His protection you will learn not to fear what may happen, or what is unseen. God will protect and will prevent any evil from taking you. He will be your guard. Hold fast to God in love and He will protect you, because you know His name!

GOD LOVES CRAZY!

Psalm 98:1-9 1 Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. 2 The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. 3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 4 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! 5 Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! 6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! 7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! 8 Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together 9 before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

God loves crazy! So get crazy sometimes! Bang on some pots, make some noise, shout a little, shout a lot! Make a joyful noise to King Jehovah! He loves to hear us! He loves to see us get excited about Him!

Learn the importance of boundaries

Psalm 101:1-8 1 I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music. 2 I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; 3 I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. 4 A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil. 5 Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure. 6 I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me. 7 No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes. 8 Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the LORD.

To follow God as your Lord and King, you must set some boundaries around your life. Walk with integrity in your home, and do not allow anything that is worthless in front of your eyes. Value endurance and loyalty; never fail to do what you said you would. Do not allow perverseness into your heart. Do not tolerate slander or gossip. Do not allow liars and deceivers into your life. Always see the need to struggle against sin!

Learn to Bless the Lord!

Psalm 103:1-22 1 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious; slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. 10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. 17 But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, 18 to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. 19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! 21 Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! 22 Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Keep track of all the Good things in your life, and Bless the Lord every chance your get. God forgives us our sin and heals our diseases. He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west. He crowns his children with His steadfast love and mercy. He will work righteousness and justice in your life when you come to Him as one who is oppressed and cast down. He shows compassion to His children, to those who reverence Him. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Make a decision to be righteous

Psalm 112:1-10 1 Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! 2 His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. 4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. 5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. 6 For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. 7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. 8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. 9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor. 10 The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!

Who you want to be requires a decision to fear the Lord and walk in His righteousness. The righteous are never moved, but firmly established where ever God leads them. The righteous one is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm and trusting in God. The righteous one is not afraid, for he looks in triumph upon his adversaries. The righteous endures forever! Make a decision to follow the righteousness of the Lord! You will still struggle, you will still fall. But when you make a decision to follow God and His righteousness, He promises to always hold your hand! This is God’s promise:  The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)

How can a young teen keep their way pure?

Psalm 119:9-16 9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes! 13 With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. 14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. 16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

Seek God with all your heart. If you give some of your heart to a girl, some of it to sports, you will be divided and be subject to temptation. You can even make sports an idol. You can make a young girl an idol. You can put them before God. Your way can then become impure. Give all of your heart to God. Give any girl you like to God. Give any sports you like to God. God wants to be Lord of everything in your life. His Word should be our first love! Through His Word we can keep our ways pure!

No one knows you like the one who designed you!

Psalm 139:1-24 1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. 5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. 7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. 13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. 19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! 20 They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain! 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 22 I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Your Creator God knows you better than anyone in the universe. He designed you. He ‘knit’ you together in your mother’s womb. He knows what you will say before you even say it. He watches you at all times. You cannot hide from Him! His thoughts toward you are more numerous than the sands of the seas. Ask Him to search you and remove any evil thoughts and desires from your life. He will lead you in the way everlasting!

Never stop praising God!

Psalm 150:1-6 1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! 2 Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! 3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! 4 Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! 5 Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! 6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

Even when things look bad, or you really messed up, bring God into your circumstances through PRAISE! Do not fret, God is always God, and when you turn to Him in praise, He will respond! He becomes LORD GOD when we praise Him!

Take the Thirty Day Challenge

Unsure of which way to go? Take this 30 day challenge. Memorize Psalms 1. Then meditate on all six verses as you lie in bed, before you go to sleep. Substitute your name when it says ‘man’ or ‘his’. Also substitute your name for ‘wicked’. See yourself in those verses. Do that for thirty days and then see which way you want to walk.

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congressiona-medal-of-honorThe Congressional Medal of Honor was conceived in 1861 The Medal of Honor is awarded in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Armed Services, distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against any enemy of The United States. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life.

  • The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
  • Presented by the President “for gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty”.
  • President Truman: “I would rather have the blue band of the Medal of Honor around my neck than be President!”
  • Recipients are always saluted, regardless of rank.
  • Since 1862 only 3,465 medals have been awarded to 3,446 men.

Honor is very important to our God. Learning to Value what He considers important is the key to seeing His Blessings upon your life, to seeing His Pathway, His Will for your Life.

We have examined the role of Honor in understanding and learning the Ways of God.

  • If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” Exodus 33:13 (NIV)
  • Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Psalms 27:11 (NKJV)
  • Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Psalms 25:4 (NKJV)
  • Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. (Ps 86:11)

You have to make a decision who you want to follow. You can follow God, or you can follow anything that is left. Following God involves Honoring who and what He says to Honor. That Honor brings rewards. Those rewards involve the presence and power of God in your life. What you do, who you follow determines whether you will enjoy God’s full reward or not.

Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 2 John 1:8

Finally I would like us to consider the Ultimate Honor. That thing or person we should value so much, it will open up God’s Pathway of Blessing in our lives.

What is the Ultimate Honor, as Far as God is Concerned?

ultimate-honorNow remember, honor means value, weight. When it comes to God and His creation, what is most important? I contend that the Ultimate Honor we can give God is to See the Value God Places Upon our Life. When We See the Value of our Life, and all that God gas done to give us Life, we will have an entirely new and radical focus on LIFE. The Ultimate Honor does not involve a religion, a set of rules to obey, it involves the Value we place on that which Gives us LIFE. I’m not talking about your momma and your daddy. For I don’t care how much you think you are alive, you are dead unless you see the realize the importance of this Ultimate Honor. To understand, realize the problem that Jesus had with the religious authorities of his day.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you–Moses, in whom you trust. John 5:39-45 (NKJV)

pharisees do not honor JesusThe Pharisees and other religious leaders thought they were giving the proper Honor to God. They were honoring one another. But Jesus said they were not seeking the Honor that comes from only GOD. Jesus went so far as to call them HYPOCRITES:

Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” Matthew 15:6-9 (NKJV)

You can honor people, authorities, even God, but if you do not do that which brings the ultimate Honor, you are wasting your breath. For the Ultimate Honor we can partake of is the Honor God bestows upon us! Jesus said:

Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. John 8:54 (NKJV)

What can I do that would make God want to honor me?

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.” Psalms 91:14-16 (NKJV)

“That all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:23 (NKJV)

God Honors Us

The greatest Honor in the world is when we are crowned with God’s Honor. The only way to receive this Ultimate Honor is to Honor His Son, Jesus Christ. When we Honor His Son, We are crowned with Glory and Honor, because Jesus was crowned with glory and Honor.

crown-with-gloryGod is calling us to Honor His Son, and when we do, we receive the ultimate Honor. Jesus is the Word. He is God’s revelation of Love and Wisdom. He is the source of Proverbs. He is in every page of this Bible.

Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you.” Proverbs 4:5-9 (NKJV)

Each one of us has a choice. Each choice determines whether we will live lives crowned with Honor from the Lord, or crowned with shame. Whether our lives will have impact and influence for eternity, or whether we will just be a grave marker. Who will you choose to honor? What or Who are you going to consider the most important thing in your life. If you seek after God and His Son, He will crown you with Honor. That will give Him Honor!

CONSIDER ELI:

Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’ 1 Samuel 2:29 (NKJV)

consider-eliBut now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. (1 Samuel 2:30-33)

God wanted a Priest who would obey Him over pleasing himself or people. That is why God chose to replace Eli with Samuel.

CONSIDER ABRAHAM:

consider-abrahamAbraham finally had Isaac at the age of 100. He had waited 25 years for this promised son. He loved him more than anything in the world. Sometime later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. Genesis 22:1-3 (NLT)

“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” Genesis 22:12 (NLT). God honored Abraham becasue he chose to honor God above even his only son.

CONSIDER MOSES:

And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” So He (God) let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”–because of the circumcision. Exodus 4:24-26 (NKJV)

consider-mosesNow a lot is left out from this account, and most people ignore these verses because they make no sense. Why would God try to kill Moses after He had just sent Him to Egypt to lead His people home? I think we can fill in the blanks. Imagine this scene:

Moses goes into the kitchen and tells his honey Zipporah that they have to pack the bags and move to Egypt. God has a special job for him. Zipporah, being the loving wife she is, says great, I’ll start packing. Moses says, God reviewed His covenant with Abraham with me, and told me I must circumcise our two boys….Wll, iprah says, lets start with Gershom, he’s the oldest. Ziprah watches as Moses performs the circumcision. She watches as Gershom screams out in agony, and then writes in agonizing pain on the ground. It hoorifies her. What kind of God would demand something so bloody and cruel? So Mom steps in and refuses to let four year old Eliezer be circumcised. She gathers him in her arms and says over her dead body will you circumcise Eliezer. A terrible fight erupts. It may have gone on for hours, but finally Moses gives up, after all he has an important job to do. He gives in and says, let’s go. On the way to Egypt, God comes into the camp to kill Moses because Moses honored his wife above honoring what God told him to do.

Zipporah realizes Moses is about to be killed and so she races to circumcise Eliezer and then casts the bloody foreskin at Moses.

Now why didn’t God try to kill Zipporah? Because Moses had been told to do something by God, and Moses was responsible to carry it out. Moses compromised and honored his wife above God. Moses nevermade that mistake again.

HONOR GOD ABOVE ALL

Who are you choosing to Honor in your life?

  • When you lay your head on your pillow, what occupies your thoughts?
  • When you awake in the morning, what occupies your thoughts?

Those are the things you honor more than God. We are to Honor God above all. In seeking to honor Him first, we bring honor upon our lives. That in turn honors God.

How Does Honoring God bring Honor upon our Lives?

covenant-with-abrahamWhen Abraham was 99 years old, God appeared to Abraham. Turn to Genesis 15, verse one. Abraham had honored God rather than riches when he refused the spoil from the King of Sodom. He had honored God with a tithe of all he possessed. He may have had doubts about continuing to honor God, because God had not given Him a son, as God had promised. When God repeated again that He was going to reward Abraham for honoring Him as his God, Abraham said how can I know this?

God gave him a grocery list, and said to cut the animals in half. He had to look at them for a few hours, and wonder what it meant. He even had to keep the buzzards away. Finally it grew dark, and Abraham fell into a deep sleep. This was not a peaceful sleep. He was filled with horror and deep dark blackness. I don’t know how long it lasted. It appears to have been into the next day. I believe God was speaking to his subconscious. When we encounter Holy God, it reveals the horribleness of our heart. God spoke to Abraham, and revealed His covenant with him. As God told Abraham of the future, all of a sudden a smoking oven and a burning torch passed between the pieces. And God pronounced His covenant with Abraham and his descendants.

What were the smoking oven and burning torch? They were symbols of God Himself.

God was passing between the bloody pieces. God could only swear by Himself that He would accomplish this covenant. In effect He was saying that if he did not accomplish His word, then may he be as these bloody animals, cut apart!

The one passing between the bodies is always the one responsible for keeping the covenant.

Now why should we Honor God? And how does that bring honor to us?

covenant-of-life-and-peaceBecause God has made a covenant with each one of us. God wants each one of us to fall into a deep sleep, dead from the influence and concerns of this world. He wants us to see how horrible our sins are to Him, how horrible the judgment of Hell that is upon us will be. Then He wants us to wake and look up and see His Son hanging upon the cross, His body broken and bloody, for He has become the Assurance of God’s Covenant of Honor with us. Jesus Christ has appeared suspended between hell and heaven, Satan and God, Unholy Man and Holy God. Jesus body was pierced by the sword, symbolizing the sacrifice cut in two. His blood was shed because God’s Covenants are ALWAYS BLOODY covenants, for God has said that LIFE is in the blood. If we are to have LIFE as God intends it, we must enter into this bloody covenant with God. It has been secured by Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. God has honored us with His Son. The Ultimate Honor is having Peace & Life through His Son.

COVENANT OF PEACE and LIFE

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21 (KJV)

God made a Covenant with us so that we would Honor Him and walk with Reverence before His Name. In return, we have His Peace, His Life, and His Honor! We can live in Honor before a Righteous Holy God!

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. Ephesians 2:13-16 (NKJV)

My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. Malachi 2:5 (KJV)

To refuse to Honor God with our lives is to spit upon God’s Love, to slap the Son of God and say with clinched fist “I DON’T NEED YOU”. I don’t need Peace with God! If you refuse to Honor Jesus Christ with your life, you refuse to Honor Holy God. You refuse to Honor the Covenant of Peace which God has offered each one of us.

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:8-12 (NKJV)

When we take communion we are renewing our covenant with God through His Son Jesus Christ. We are also renewing our covenant to Love one another, to love those who are our brothers and sisters.

Are You Kicking at the Cross?

God asked ELI: Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me?

Some of you may be kicking at God, some of you may be kicking at Jesus, some of you may be kicking at fellow Christians, some of you may be kicking at parents, in-laws.YOU ARE kicking-at-the-crossBRINGING SHAME ON YOUR LIFE AND YOU ARE BRINGING SHAME ON THIS BODY AND ON JESUS CHRIST. YOU ARE NOT SEEKING WISDOM. YOU ARE NOT SEEKING TO HONOR THE LIFE THAT GOD GIVES YOU IN JESUS CHRIST.

YOU ARE MAD AT A FAMILY MEMBER. YOU ARE MAD AT AN IN-LAW. YOU ARE UNFORGIVING OF A CHRISTIAN BROTHER OR SISTER. YOU ARE TALKING BAD ABOUT THEM.

SOME OF US ARE KICKING AT FALLEN BROTHERS. HOW? BY IGNORING THE SITUATION, OR TALKING BAD ABOUT IT. EVEN TALKING BAD ABOUT EACH OTHER. YOU MAY THINK YOU ARE RIGHT, BUT I ASSURE YOU SUCH DOES NOT HONOR GOD, IT DOES NOT HONOR HIS WORD IT DOES NOT BRING HONOR TO YOUR LIFE.

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness–indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. Romans 2:1-11 (NKJV)

We are not to Kick anyone when they are down:

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; Hebrews 12:11-15 (NKJV)

kneeling-at-the-crossI want our church to be a place where people can experience the Covenant of Life and Peace that God made with us through His Son. I want us to be a church that honors God by honoring the downtrodden, those that are broken. I want our church to experience the ultimate Honor, being Honored by God because we seek to Honor the Life of Jesus Christ living in us by Faith.

My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. Malachi 2:5 (KJV)


pathway-of-blessing-honor-with-your-possessionsOne Sunday a pastor told his congregation that the church needed some extra money for a special mission project. He asked the people to consider putting a little extra in the offering plate. He added that whoever gave the most that day would be able to pick three hymns in the worship service. When the offering plates were brought forward the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had written a check for $1000. Excited, he immediately shared this news with the congregation and said he would like to thank personally the person who gave such a large gift. He asked who the donor was. A shy, elderly woman sitting in the back slowly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front of the church. She stood there nervously as the pastor praised her and then he asked her to pick out three hymns. Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation. Pointing to the three best looking men in the building, she said, “I’ll take him and him and him!”

This morning I’m going to talk about that dreaded five letter word…TITHE. Before you close your ears, I want you to consider a different way of looking at the tithe. Our outlook is so important…

Imagine you’re up on the 70th floor of the Empire State Building. Suddenly a man opens the window and says he’s going to jump. You call out, “Stop. Don’t do it.” “Try to stop me and I’ll take you with me.”

Noting that the guy is 6-foot-5, you say, “No problem. Have a safe trip. Any last messages?” He says, “Let me tell you my troubles. My wife left me, my kids won’t talk to me, I lost my job and my pet turtle died.” After an hour of stories like this, you’re so depressed you’re ready to jump with him. Finally he turns to you and says, “Tell me – why should I go on living?”

What do you say? Suddenly you get a flash of inspiration. “Sir, close your eyes for a minute. Now I want you to imagine that you are blind. No colors, no sights of children playing, no fields of flowers, no sunset … Now imagine that suddenly there’s a miracle. You open your eyes and you can see. Are you going to jump … or will you stick around a week to look around?” “I’d stick around for a week to see.” “What happened to all the troubles?” “Ah, I guess they’re not so bad. I can see.”

I want us to close our eyes and then open them with a new outlook on tithing.

Proverbs 3:9 tells us to Honor the Lord with our substance. Now we usually think money, but substance means much more. It refers to everything we own, everything we have under our control. I am hoping you will put a fresh perspective on a subject that usually causes people to squirm in their seats, and avoid eye contact with the preacher. In order to do so, let’s read Acts 27 beginning with verse 9:

Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.” Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul. And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there. When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty. When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven. And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up. But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.” Acts 27:9-26 (NKJV)

If we are to understand what it means to honor God with our substance, we must understand what Paul meant when he said “God, whose I am, whom also I serve.”

Apostle Paul is shipwreckedI think that most Christians don’t really understand what it means to really be God’s. To see yourself as belonging totally to God, you have to put yourself in the place of those seamen. You need to feel the salt spray on your cheek. You need to feel the ship rising and falling. You need to hear the thunder of the waves against the bow. You need to see the flash of the lightning, feel the wind blowing against you, so hard that you can lean 45 degrees into it and not fall over. You are totally helpless. You have given up hope of ever seeing home again, of ever hugging your wife, hugging your children, your grandchildren. You are going to die. Every possession you have, everything you hold dear, you would be willing to throw over the side of the ship if you could only feel dry ground under your feet again.

Nothing is as important as life at that moment. When you stare death in its face, everything of value fades away except life.

Paul knew this. He knew that everything he was and ever would be was totally tied up with Jesus Christ. He owed his very life to Jesus. In fact, Jesus was his LIFE.

Do you see that as well? Until you do, you will have a hard time when the preacher talks about money.

We tithe for a multitude of reasons.

  1. Emotional appeal
    A little church was having a homecoming service to which ex-members, who had moved away, were invited. One of the former members had become a millionaire. When asked to speak, the wealthy man recounted his childhood experience. He had earned his first silver dollar which he had decided to keep forever. “But when a visiting missionary preached about the urgent need for funds in his mission work, and the offering basket was passed, a great struggle took place within me. As a result,” the wealthy man said, “I put my treasured silver dollar in the basket. I am convinced that the reason God has blessed me richly is that when I was a boy I gave God everything I possessed.” The congregation was spellbound by the multi-millionaire’s tremendous statement until an elderly little man seated in the front row rose and said, “Brother, I dare you to do it again.”
  2. Guilt
  3. Fear of God
  4. Respect of Man
  5. Gratefulness for something God has done.
  6. Love of the pastor
  7. Love of the church
  8. Love of God

These are all good reasons, but as such, they are subject to the winds of change.

  1. We lose our tenderness to emotional appeals
  2. We become hard-hearted so guilt doesn’t faze us.
  3. We lose our fear of God
  4. Man doesn’t appreciate us
  5. God stops doing great things for us
  6. Pastor does something we don’t like
  7. Church does something we don’t like
  8. God does something we don’t like.

Our giving suddenly changes. Maybe we even stop giving.

David Russell, a pastor in Union City, Tennessee tells about Nathan, a precocious three-year-old in his church. Nathan’s parents were trying to introduce him to what it means to be in church. One Sunday they gave him a one-dollar bill that Nathan was to place in the offering plate. When the plate moved down Nathan’s pew, his parents held it infront of him and told him to place the dollar in the plate. Nathan balked. Finally his mother gently took the dollar from him. She placed it in the plate, and it was passed on down the pew. Suddenly the stillness of the offertory was shattered by a voice demanding, “I want my dollar back! I want my dollar back!” Nathan had been robbed and he wanted everyone to know it. His parents tried in vain to quiet their son, but he was insistent, “I want my dollar back!” Everyone in the congregation was fighting a losing battle against laughter. Throughout the remaining strains of the organist’s meditative tune, the only thing most worshippers heard was, “I want my dollar back!” Eventually, his parents gave Nathan another dollar to hold and he was content enough so that the congregation could make it through the Doxology.

Pastor Russell says that as he stepped into the pulpit, he knew he needed to talk about what had happened. Looking out at the smiling faces he said, “We shouldn’t laugh. It may be that Nathan is only voicing the feelings that some of us have after having given to God. We do so, not joyously but out of a sense of obligation. We do so unwillingly. We may not say it, but some of us think it, “I want my dollar back!”

God sees our tithing as an indicator of how much we value our Life in Christ.

Larry Burkett knew a pastor who did something interesting one Sunday – he took up the offering himself. And he didn’t just take it up, but watched what each person put in. If they put in a sealed envelope, he opened it up to see what was inside. A murmur rose up in the congregation and many of the members were furious. The next Sunday the pastor spoke from the pulpit: “Many of you were upset that your pastor looked in the offering envelopes last week. Has it ever occurred to you to consider what GOD thinks when he looks in there??”

Leighton Farrell was the minister of Highland Park Church in Dallas for many years. He tells of a man in the church who once made a covenant with a former pastor to tithe ten percent of their income every year. They were both young and neither of them had much money. But things changed. The layman tithed one thousand dollars the year he earned ten thousand, ten thousand dollars the year he earned one hundred thousand, and one hundred thousand dollars the year he earned one million. But the year he earned six million dollars he just could not bring himself to write out that check for six hundred thousand dollars to the Church.

He telephoned the minister, long since having moved to another church, and asked to see him. Walking into the pastor’s office the man begged to be let out of the covenant, saying, “This tithing business has to stop. It was fine when my tithe was one thousand dollars, but I just cannot afford six hundred thousand dollars. You’ve got to do something, Reverend!”

pray_03The pastor knelt on the floor and prayed silently for a long time. Eventually the man said, “What are you doing? Are you praying that God will let me out of the covenant to tithe?”

“No,” said the minister. “I am praying for God to reduce your income back to the level where one thousand dollars will be your tithe!”

Here is the way we need to view our privilege of tithing. Consider Paul and the Foundational Truth of His Life:

  • He was God’s
  • He served God

All of the stuff we have around our lives suddenly doesn’t seem too important when we are staring death in the face. When we consider that we owe our very life to Jesus Christ. Look what Jesus was willing to sacrifice for us. Now think about all your stuff, and how important it is to you. Do you LIVE Proverbs 3:9? Do you realize that you owe your Life to Jesus? Do you realize you are to serve Jesus because He has given you LIFE?jesus-i-will-come-again-melton

(Pro 3:9) Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

Do you Honor God with your possessions. Or do you use them to honor yourself?

A pastor told me of a very interesting thing that he did in his congregation one Sunday morning. He said that when the ushers had taken up the offering one Sunday and brought the plates down to the alter rail, he took the plates and held them up in the air and he gave a prayer: “Lord, regardless of what we say about you, this is really what we say about you, this is really what we feel about you. Amen.”

Now most people say that all our possessions belong to the Lord. And that is most certainly true. But God doesn’t need all your possessions unless you are putting them before Him. Then he has a problem; for God said I will have no other God’s before me. I believe God is dealing with America in such a way as to shake us from having Money as our God. God will bring us to the point where our trust will be in Him, and not in money.

So how do we Honor God with our Possessions?

The Pharisees used the Herodians to try to trick Jesus. They asked Him if it was lawful to pay taxes. Jesus asked them to bring a denarii to him.jesus-said-bring-me-a-denar

Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:17-21 (NKJV)

Jesus said you need to pay taxes, but he also said something else. Give to God that which is God’s.

jesus-fulfilled-the-law1Now many people say that the concept of tithe is Old Testament. It doesn’t apply to today. But Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not cast it aside. In fact He said that not one jot or tittle of the Law would be done away with until it is fulfilled (Matt 5:18)

How do you honor the Lord with your substance? What things belong to God? God’s Law provides the answer to what is God’s…

(Lev 27:30) And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s: it is holy unto the LORD.

(Lev 27:32) And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.

God says that one tenth of all you own is His! So when Jesus says to give God that which is His, we consider a tenth of all we make and own as set apart unto Him! Now how important is it to honor God with our substance that belongs to Him?

The Importance of Honor with our Possessions

Malachi is the last word that God gave His people for four hundred years, until the ministry of John the Baptist. He was really irritated at His people, and one of the reasons is their refusal to Honor Him.

“A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ Malachi 1:6 (NKJV)

Stop Robbing GodHe listed a number of other faults, and then He gave them some advice that we should pay close attention to. He said if you want to return to God you must do something. You must stop robbing from God.

Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; Malachi 3:7-11 (NKJV)

Honoring God with our substance is critical if we are to return to Him. It is that Honor that comes with direct reward. Protection from the devourer, and material blessing.

I want you to consider taking the Jacob pledge:

“and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” Genesis 28:22 (ESV)

ebenezerI’m not going to stand here and promise you that if you tithe you will be wealthy beyond imagination. Even though some very successful men claim that is why God has blessed them.

All I will tell you is that if you name Jesus Christ as your Savior, your sins are forgiven and God’s grace and mercy is open by the bucketfuls to you. If you love God, you love His Son, if your life is all about honoring them, because you belong to God, then you will want to Honor God with your substance.

  • He promises to reward you when you honor Him with your substance.
  • He promises to rebuke the devourer.
  • He promises fruit for your life.

Perhaps you need to return to God and confess your dishonor for Him in your life. You have laid a selfish claim to that which is Holy unto the Lord. You owe God your life. Your Life is what matters. So Honor God with with your substance.

The story of soap-maker William Colgate:

His family was poor and at the age of 16 he left home to seek his fortune. The only thing he knew was how to make soap and candles. He met an old canal-boat captain who gave him this advice: “Be a good man, give your heart to Christ, pay the Lord all that belongs to Him, make an honest soap, and I’m certain you’ll be a prosperous and rich man.”william-colgate-soap

William arrived in New York and got a job in a soap factory. The first dollar he earned, he gave 10% to God. Soon he became a partner. Later he became the owner. The business grew, so he gave a double tithe, 20%. Then a triple tithe, a four-fold one, half his income – finally he was giving all his income to the Lord. He was faithful to God, and his name is with us today on every tube of Crest toothpaste – Colgate-Palmolive.

Wesley’s guidelines on money:

1. Gain all you can.

Money can be used for good. But do not thereby damage yourself, others, or the environment.

2. Save all you can.

Two reasons were not to waste money, and not to increase desires.

3. Give all you can. Giving begins, but does not end, with the tithe.the-tithe-is-holy-to-the-lord

Now imagine that you are on that ship in the Mediterranean. You can hear it breaking up under the force of the wind and the waves. You have been throwing up for hours. You are weak from not eating. You are dehydrated. You know you don’t have very long to live.

What does all your money mean at that moment. What good are all those possessions. Would you give everything to save your life? Jesus gave everything to save your life. He died on the cross for your sins. He bore the price of your disobedience, your dishonor of the God of the universe. If you have accepted His love for you and asked Him to be your personal Savior, you owe Him everything. How hard is it to honor Him with one tenth of what you make, of one tenth of your substance?


llywd

Watch Edited Steve Jobs Commencement Address
Last fall we went through a series of Sermons and small group studies that focused on How would you change your life if you only had 30 days to live. God really got a hold of my life during that study, as I prayed and prepared for sermons, as I thought about what He wanted to do with my life.

I had a dream, almost a vision a month or so after that, in fact it has happened a couple of times. In my dream or vision I was before God and I was literally shaking with fear. I saw how little I had done compared with what I could have done. I was ashamed; I could offer no explanation for my slothfulness, my selfishness, my laziness that led me to do so little of what His will had been.

God got me alone with Him at the beginning of this year. He relived with me the last 35 years of my life, and a lot of what He had done made sense. I made a lot of mistakes, but He showed me how His grace had brought me to this place in His time for His purpose, not mine.

Then He has been restoring to my life a much needed quality, honor. He said before you can go any further I want to see if you will be willing to live a life of honor. Honor for those He has placed as authorities, those he has placed as associates, those he has placed for my watch care. God has been working on me in a powerful way.

He has opened His Word to me as never before. He has given me a renewed Love for His ways, for His presence, for His Power.

The words of Steve Jobs rallied my heart this week. It was as if God was using the experiences of a very successful non-believer to bring some perspective to what He is wanting for my life and ministry, and what I hope you want for your lives and our church.foolish-honor

We are Looking at “Foolish Honor”

1 Cor 4:10 says we are fool’s for Christ’s sake. In order to understand what “Foolish Honor” is, we need to get our hearts around the story in Mark 14:3-11

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him. Mark 14:3-11 (NKJV)

In this section of Scriptures we see one of the greatest moments in Christ’s ministry, and one of the lowest moments in His ministry.

Godly Fool versus Ghastly Fool

mary-versus-judasHere, Judas thought this woman was being the fool. He thought he was the wise one, profiting from the betrayal of an even greater fool, the Messiah pretender Jesus of Nazareth. I think you and I know who the greatest fool was. It was the man who let his greed and lust for power blind his eye’s to the truth that Jesus is the Savior, the redeemer of mankind. Judas killed himself and even today is burning in hell for his sins. He is truly the fool. And so are you if you don’t come to Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. I’m not talking about fool’s that refuse the Son of God from being their personal Savor. I’m talking about Believers who are Foolish in their Honor of Christ.

I also believe that any Christian who let’s the world tell him how to live his Christian life is a fool. There are Godly Fools and there are Ghastly Fools. If a Christian is walking in the world and in the flesh he is a Ghastly Fool. God looks at your life and says, don’t you realize all that you have? Don’t you know who is living in you? Don’t be afraid to be a fool for me. Don’t be afraid of the world making fun of you, even Ghastly Christians making fun of you. Go ahead, let go, give up and be a Godly Fool!

To understand what was going on in Simon’s house, we have to get an overall picture of the place of Honor in the societies of the world.

honor-killingYou may have heard about the recent murder which happened when a prominent Muslim, Muzzammil Hassan, 44, beheaded his wife Aasiya. What you are not hearing is that this is an honor killing, sanctioned by the Koran. This type of thing goes on in Muslim countries, as well as Hindu countries. Most of these countries, because of their religion are what is called a shame-based culture. You do not do anything that brings shame to your parents, your family. Honor is something you gain by might or by birth. In a shame based culture it is ok to steal or do whatever as long as you do not bring shame upon the family. Shame based cultures are ruthless in their business practices. They will steal from you, they will lie to get an advantage, because that builds their honor up. When they get the upper hand it gives them honor. To appear weak or intimidated is to bring shame upon yourself and your family.

This man killed his wife because she was bringing shame upon him, and if he did not do this he would appear weak and the shame would be increased. This is why it is foolish to try to negotiate with radical Muslims, because they see that as weakness. They will use the negotiations to appear strong. They will lie to gain the upper hand.

America was a radical creation. It was an honor based culture, based upon Biblical morality. The emphasis was on honor for individual rights. Shame was a part of our culture, but only with regards to families. You did not get into trouble because it would bring shame upon the family name. Somewhere along the line fairness entered our culture, and we became a guilt based culture. Now the family structure had broken down, shifting the focus to “don’t get caught” When you get caught it brings guilt. Well, now we have decided we don’t like guilt, so America is changing the rules so that there is no guilt. Single parenthood is ok, living together is ok, bending the rules to be fair to this one or that one is ok. Gay marriage is ok, abortion is ok, teenage sex is ok, America is no longer an Honor based culture and we are barely a guilt based culture.

godly-foolThis woman lived in a shame based culture. What she did was so foolish, so shameful, because she wasted the dowry that her father had probably given her, she brought dishonor to her family, she brought dishonor to her name, and what she did could never never be forgiven in a shame based culture. She would have been shunned the rest of her life. The honor she bestowed upon Jesus brought shame to her and her family. She might as well have been dead. The honor she foolishly gave to Jesus was shocking to the Jews. But that is the Honor that Jesus wants us to give Him.

In fact, so amazing was what she did that Jesus said wherever the Gospel is preached; they will tell the story of what this woman did. And what that means is her story will be told for all eternity, because the Gospel will be preached for all eternity.

In this story we find Jesus being honored at a meal held at Simon the Leper’s home. Simon had probably been healed by Jesus, but they still called him Simon the Leper. Kind of like the guy called Tiny who is 6’6 and 300 pounds. Names just kind of stick with you.

A woman comes in, she is called Mary in John’s account, and she breaks an alabaster jar. She broke it, there was no fixing it. Once it was done there was no going back. Then she poured the contents on his head and on his feet. This was very fragrant oil called spikenard. The oil was worth a year’s wages. It was like taking a designer dress that cost 20 or 30 thousand dollars and using it to wash Jesus feet with. The people there called it a waste. Judas said she was foolish, for she should have sold it and given the money to the poor.

Jesus said “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” To Judas, this was the last straw. He went out and betrayed Jesus.ghastly-fool

What are the Lessons of this Story? They are many, but I want to combine the points that Steve Jobs has learned in his life, with what this woman by her simple act of Foolish Honor demonstrated.

The Gospel is meant to produce this kind of reaction! Jesus had to go to the extreme to satisfy His Father. He had to give his own life, and become sin, so that His righteousness would forever satisfy the demands of His Holy Father. Christ, in tirn, will never be satisfied unless we waste our lives for Him. He poured out everything for us, and likewise He expects us to pour ourselves out for Him.

Real usefulness for God is measured in terms of waste…Our work for Christ springs from our ministering to Him.

How to Give Foolish Honor to Jesus Christ…

1. Do A Great Work For Christ!do-a-great-work-for-christ

  • The only way to be truly satisfied in work is to do what you believe is great work. (Work as unto the Lord)
  • The only way to do great work is to love what you do. (with all your heart soul mind & strength)
  • Don’t Settle (Reach for the prize of the high calling)

“As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.” Ephesians 6:6-8 (NLT)

Christ said: “She has done a good work for Me”

  • Christ never accepts mediocrity.
  • Christ wants His children to work with all their heart,
  • God is an all or nothing kind of God.
  • Foolish Honor means giving Honor to Christ with all your heart and all your soul and all you possessions.
  • It means Never accepting second best,  never settling for mediocrity
  • Be aware that there is a prize and you must reach for it, you must desire it. Those who come to God must believe He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Have You Done a Good Work For Jesus?

2. Learn to Give Foolish Honorlearn-to-gove-foolish-honor

  • If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? (I die daily)
  • Remembering you are going to Die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. (We are living sacrifices)
  • Death is Life’s change agent. (To live is Christ, to die is gain)

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut. Our Christian walk becomes routine, boring. There is no excitement, no challenge. Sometimes we try to get by doing as little as we can. We only read the Bible 5 minutes a day. We pray for 5 minutes, we go to church once a week, maybe twice. We give the bare minimum of tithe, if we tithe at all. We just do enough to keep in God’s good graces, to keep the thunderbolts away. We don’t want to be too radical in our Christian walk. We don’t want to create a scene, we don’t want to cause any problems.

“Why was this fragrant oil wasted? it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.”

Following Christ means dying to ourselves and what we want. It means letting go of our money our possessions, our reputation. It means pressing toward the mark, Living live wired for 220 voltage, not 120.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (KJV)

If you want to be a agent of change in this world, you must die to yourself. You must be willing to be a fool for Christ’s sake.

wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her

3. Follow Jesus with Foolish Passionfollow-jesus-with-foolish-passion1

Simon the Leper had been healed, Judas had been with Jesus for 3 years, but only one person in that room had a personal intimate relationship with Jesus.

She had gone out on a limb, she had refused to be mediocre, she had decided to give Him everything, even if it meant giving up her reputation and becoming a fool. Her foolish honor for Jesus meant the reward of intimacy with her Savior that those men never knew.

Are you just going to church because you think you should? Do you live your life by the opinions of others. Is your Christian walk stagnating, with no real intimacy with Jesus. You need to lay everything aside and follow Him with everything you have.

The one thing you would never do for Jesus is the thing you must be willing to do. You cannot hold on to anything that would keep you from following after Jesus.

  • Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. (Walk in the Spirit)
  • Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. (think Holy Spirit)
  • Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition (Follow after Christ)
  • “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” (Hunger & thirst to the point of foolishly giving everything to Jesus Christ)

Some of you rarely hear the Holy Spirit speaking to you. You live your life by what others say, or by what you think you are supposed to do. You don’t have an ongoing intimate walk with the Holy Spirit. You let things and dogma get in the way of fresh new revelation from the Holy Spirit.

And they criticized her sharply, but Jesus said Stop, Leave her alone. Only she had the courage toi listen to what her heart told her. She gave her all, and reaped eternal reward. She was honored by Jesus himself.

stay-hungry-stay-foolishAre You Hungry for the presence of God in your life? Are you Hungry for the Power of Christ to be reality in your life? Then you must be willing to be foolish. Foolish in your devotion to Christ, foolish in your giving to Christ. Willing to be shamed by others because you love Him so. Don’t allow the spirit of Judas to enter your life. Don’t allow your lust for pride, lust for money, lust for personal ambition, lust for what you want to prevent you from giving foolish honor to Jesus Christ.

Foolish honor is the key to renewed personal intimacy with Jesus.

Spurgeon preached:

“if we had this love it would be but natural to us to give to him, to live for him, and perhaps if we had ought at last to let him have it, – that so even dying we might give our friend in our dying testament a proof that we remembered him, even as he remembered us in his last testament and will. Oh brothers and sisters – what we want more of in the Church is, more extravagant love to Christ. I want each of you to show your love to Jesus, sometimes by doing something the like of which you have never done before. I remember saying one Sabbath morning that the Church ought to be the place of invention as much as the world. We do not know what machine is to be discovered yet by the world, but every man’s wit is at work to find out something new. So ought the wits of the Church to be at work to find out some new plan of serving Christ. Is there no man that can invent some new deed for Christ? Is there no brother that can do something more for him than has been done to-day, or yesterday, or during the last month? Is there no man that will dare to be strange and singular and wild, and in the world’s eye to be fanatical – for that is no love which is not fanatical in the eye of man. Depend upon it, that is no love that only confines itself to propriety. I would the Lord would put into thy heart some thought of giving an unwonted thank-offering to him, or of doing an unusual service, that so Christ might be honored with the best of thy lambs, and that the fat of thy bullocks might be exceeding glorified by your proof of love to him.

  • It is time for us to show Jesus Extravagant, foolish Love and Honor.
  • Someday you will stand before Him. Will you be trembling with fright as He shows you what might have been if you had shown Him foolish Honor.
  • Will You hear the words: “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”


honor-church-leadersIt is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations. Ex 12:42

Have you ever had a night so wonderful, so memorable that you could remember every detail of that night one year later? What about 5 years? What about 50 years? The Jewish people have been remembering a night that happened over 3700 years ago. Wow, that must have been some night! Such a night was remembered because of its importance to the God of this universe and to the people of this world He created.

Moses had instructed all the people two weeks earlier to take a yearling lamb, without spot or blemish, and on the 10th day of the month bring it into your home. Then four days later they were to kill that lamb, eat the lamb, and take its blood and put it upon the lintel of their front door. At midnight, the Angel of the Lord went throughout the land of Egypt, and wherever he saw the blood of the lamb, he would pass over the house. Where there was no blood, he would enter the home and slay the first born son.

You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. (Exo 12:24-28)

This story is an excellent demonstration of the importance of Honor for church leaders, your pastor, deacons and Sunday school teachers.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Heb 13:17)

applying-the-bloodNow imagine if Joe and his wife Sarah had skipped church to go fishing or shopping or whatever. Moses and Aaron had instructed everyone on what to do. They weren’t at the meeting. They got back into town and didn’t know what all the buzz was about. They heard snippets of lamb and blood, but they thought that sounded absurd. They started talking to their friends and got them questioning what Moses said. Don’t you think that is a bit extreme? To waste a perfectly good lamb like that? Blood on my new door post? Why I’ll never be able to get that off! Why I just spent $500 on a new door! Before long a whole group of people had decided to ignore Moses and Aaron. So they lightly regarded the words of Moses and influenced other people to do the same. Honor leads us to value church leaders, and give weight to what they tell us. Dishonor leads us to scorn and devalue what church leaders tell us. To treat it like some teenagers treat the words of their parents.

Midnight came, the Angel went into their homes, they heard a noise, that woke them, going into their son’s bedroom, they found his throat cut. In fact, every one of their friends who scorned the instruction of Moses discovered the same grizzly scene.

a-cry-goes-out-at-midnightAnd Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead. (Exo 12:30)

What kind of night would be remembered for 3700 years? The night that meant the difference between life and death for you and your family.

do-not-curse-church-leadersHonor for church leaders is critical for your lives? Why? Perhaps we can glimpse the ways of God by reading Acts 23:1-5. Paul demonstrates the importance of Honoring Church Leaders. When he was commanded to be slapped by some old guy, he hurled a stern verbal insult at him. Then someone whispered in his ear that the old guy was Ananias, the High Priest! He quickly apologized, quoting Exodus 22:28 “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.” God equates cursing a church leader with reviling God!

When you honor your church leaders, you are honoring God. They are God’s messengers, God’s representatives. We demonstrate our honor of God by honoring the Leaders He has set before us.

Jesus took this cursing one step further. It is not the words you speak that matters, it is the heart attitude you have. You can say “yes” with your mouth but be going “Yea right like I’m gonna do that” with your heart.

Paul said: Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls. Church leaders are keeping watch over your souls. That is their job. And how you honor your church leaders will determine the reward of how goes your soul.

Honor Determines the Destiny of your soul.

Joh 12:26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

honor-determines-the-destiny-of-your-soulPaul wrote to obey your leaders, for they watch over your souls. The Gospel of Christ is inexplicably tied to the preaching of His Word. If you do not honor the messenger, you dishonor the Word. God honors his servants, for they follow Christ, and He honors His Son.

The Cross is the Anchor of the Christian Walk. Our daily walk, our daily life in Christ must begin at the cross. At the cross we lay aside our fleshly wants and desires, our sin and selfishness, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. At the cross we lay claim of the exchanged life. At the cross we identify with the Resurrected Reigning Jesus Christ who lives in us and through us. At the cross we realize that God uses pastors and deacons and elders and teachers to build up the church, to work to conform us to Jesus Christ. We honor the cross in their life and the fact that they are God’s messengers to us.

To dishonor the preacher, the pastor, the Sunday school teacher is to scorn the Savior whom they serve.

Can’t I go direct to Jesus? Yes you can. But understand the God has a divine order of things. He has given gifts to the church to build it up, to teach to chasten to rebuke to instruct. If you fail to honor God’s Way, you are playing with the destiny of your soul.

parable-of-the-talentsJesus told a parable of the ruler who gave talents to his servants, and then went away. One servant said he feared the master, so he went and hid his talent.

He failed to honor his pastor (so to speak) and robbed himself of spiritual rewards.

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Mat 25:14-30)

dishonor-robs-you-of-light-and-rewardsWhen you fail to honor the requests of your church leaders, you rob yourself of these benefits:

  • You rob yourself of spiritual light for salvation,
  • Your rob your children of spiritual light, for they will grow up with an attitude of scorn toward the church, toward the pastor.
  • You rob yourself of rewards for God uses His messengers to speak to you, guide you and to watch over the welfare of your souls.

roast-preacherThe Pastor, the Sunday school teachers, are entrusting you with wealth in the form of spiritual truth. To honor them means to grow in the truth they teach, to honor their teaching. The benefit is eternal. When you fail to honor them, you will walk in darkness.

Sometimes we have Roast Preacher on the after church menu. This teaches dishonor to our children. Learn to Honor the Pastor at meal time.

Honor Determines the Prosperity of your soul.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (Psa 92:12-15)flourish-as-the-cedar-tree

Those who honor church leaders honor the Lord. They will be planted in the house of the Lord. They will flourish in the courts of our God.

“Well I go to church. I give a little money.” But that is not being planted. Planted implies you grow roots. You establish relationships. I’m not saying that you should be here every time the doors are open. But you should seek to Honor God by your faithfulness to the leadership of the church.

I have a friend whom I used to teach in Sunday School. We along with some others helped to start Lenexa Baptist Church in 1990. After a year or so we called a young clothing salesman from Oklahoma. He had pastored a couple small churches in Oklahoma. He was kind of green. He and I spent some time together at youth camp, and he shared that he was Calvinistic in his theology. But he was still very evangelistic. I respected his views and advised him to keep it under his hat. Well, he let it slip one Wednesday night, and it got spread among the deacons. One deacon, my friend was quite adamant about getting Pastor Steve to resign. He got several other deacons stirred up. They called a meeting in which they called on Steve to resign. I, along with another deacon stood up for Pastor Steve and called for respect for Steve, and pleaded for sound minds to prevail. Well, they got all upset and quit, and all of a sudden a church that was pushing 150 became a church of 90. (Steve stuck it out and today Lenexa Baptist runs a couple thousand plus every Sunday)

I believe my friend’s life was impacted by his dishonor. He lost his wife and he lost his children. He is became a Pastor, and has struggled in pastoring. Now he is pastoring even though he has had a divorce. His children are alienated. He has struggled with honor in his pastorate. I believe when you dishonor church leaders, you will reap dishonor in your life.

I was witness to another deacon revolt at a growing young church in Olathe, and I stood on behalf of the pastor once again. This time seven deacons decided to leave. I don’t know how their lives turned out, but I do know it destroyed the heart of the pastor Tom Grove. It also caused the church to fold. He had done nothing worthy of their treatment, and a man’s ministry was destroyed. Other lives were affected. Woe to all those who cause others to stumble.

honor-determines-the-direction-of-your-familyHonor Determines the Direction of Your Family

Eli is a picture of the way dishonor for God can ruin your family and even your descendants.

And there came a man of God to Eli and said to him, “Thus the LORD has said, ‘Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’ Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men. And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. (1Sa 2:27-34)

eli-fell-over-and-diedThose who Honor God, He will honor. Those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Your children will not honor you, God will not honor you. Sure enough, his sons were slain, and when Eli heard the news, He keeled over and broke his neck and died.

How Honor Built a Godly Family

rechabites-honored-their-fatherHave you heard of the Rechabites? Read about them in Jeremiah 35.

Jeremiah called the descendants of Rechab in to the temple and offered them wine to drink. But they answered, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever. You shall not build a house; you shall not sow seed; you shall not plant or have a vineyard; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.’

They had honored their father Jonadab for over two hundred years. And because they had demonstrated honor, Jeremiah offered this word from the Lord: “But to the house of the Rechabites Jeremiah said, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.””

When we honor the Lord, and we honor the lord’s messengers, we can ask God that of our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and beyond there will never be a time that one of our descendants will not stand before the Lord God. To me that would be the greatest reward, that my children and grandchildren would walk before the Lord. This is a Godly Heritage. This is a Legacy, that my family stands before the Lord!

Do You Doubt the importance of Honoring your church leaders? God repeats the command:

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. (1Th 5:12-13)

They are the only ones whom God says are worthy of Double Honor.

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” (1Ti 5:17-18)

If you have dishonored your church leaders in the past, confess your sin, there is mercy and forgiveness at the cross. Confess your sin to your children, there is mercy and forgiveness at the cross.

My Dad was an Area Committee Coordinator for the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts. It was late 1979 and early 1980 that the Institute was rocked by a scandalous discovery. It was discovered that Steve, Bill Gothard’s brother, was carrying on affairs with some of the staff secretaries. Rumors flew around the country. Some accused Bill, and at best said he should have known about it. Many said he did know and was even involved. It drove Bill to resign from his own ministry. But the board did a thorough investigation and asked Bill to come back. There were other problems as well.

looking-unto-jesusThrough it all my Dad kept faithfully serving, never got involved in the rumors, never showed any dishonor toward Bill or the organization. I couldn’t believe it. I remember one day going in to my dad’s office and saying, Dad, how can you continue to serve Bill the way you do?

He just looked at me and said, Son, I keep my eyes on Jesus.