Archive for the ‘Full Reward’ Category


Caleb climbing mountains killing giantsLet us consider a man with extraordinary faith. Faith that enabled him to claim a mountain, and continue killing giants. Perhaps we will be encouraged by his faith, and God may open our eyes to what He wants to do in our life.

The Conquest of Canaan continues in Joshua 10:28. Here we find the battle continuing that was begun on the longest day in earth’s history. The day the God made the sun stand still. The Southern Conquest continues. Then in Joshua 11 we find that the Northern Conquest takes place when some kings think they can take Joshua and his men out. Even though they have superior forces and weapons, they are no match for the God of Jehovah. In Joshua 11: 6 God gives special instructions to Joshua. He tells him to hough the horses. The Hebrew word is ‏עָקַר‎ (ʿāqar). Modern translators use the word “hamstrung”.

What does it mean to hough a horse?

Houghing the horses is done by cutting the sinews and arteries of their hinder legs, so that they not only become hopelessly lame, but bleed to death. The reasons for this special command were that the Lord designed to lead the Israelites to trust in Him, not in military resources (Ps 20:7); to show that in the land of promise there was no use of horses; and, finally, to discourage their travelling as they were to be an agricultural, not a trading, people.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

HamstrungWhy did God give this strange command? After all, the Jews could benefit from having horses. They would make them stronger and more effective fighters.  Joshua was destroying the enemy and the enemies devices for war, but they were to rely on GOD for their Victory, not their own abilities. Furthermore, God had called the Jews to possess Canaan, to enjoy the bounty of her soil. He wanted them to settle down, not continue traveling, which horses would have encouraged. Horses would have also encourage trade, and open the Jews to the influences of the world, influences that God was having them destroy. Horses could also fall into enemy hands. No, God had specific reasons for hamstringing the horses. God wanted them to obey and not question His instructions. God wanted them to rely wholly upon Him. This is the lesson from Caleb. Caleb is in stark contrast to the Jews who perished in the wilderness. They were hamstrung because of their unbelief, because of the influence of Egypt. Caleb represented man in the FULLNESS of God’s Strength, man unhindered by the world, by Satan, because Caleb WHOLLY FOLLOWED GOD!

So the subject of being Hamstrung applies to our own walk with Christ. God wants us to know the strength of following Him, a strength and vitality that Caleb experienced throughout his life. While the rest of the Jewish men were dying in the wilderness, Caleb remained strong and vibrant. He is a picture of what Christ promises to all those who follow Him. He promised an Abundant Life. Instead of walking victoriously, and hamstringing our enemies, we are often hamstrung by the accusations of Satan.

SATAN IS OUR ACCUSER

Satan Accuser Rev 12_10Satan is an Accuser in this age of grace. His work is to accuse the brethren, to cause defeat and discouragement to loom over our lives. He does not want us to see and know and revel in the power of God to bring victory! When the accusations of Satan become so large that we are defeated, we are allowing our  failures and transgressions to become GIANTS that block our seeing Him who is invisible. Satan’s accusations cause us to focus on our failures and inadequacies rather than on the AWESOME POWER OF ALMIGHTY GOD! We must not allow Satan to Hamstring us!

The greatest day in the history of the world is described in Revelation 12:10: “the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” 1 John 3:8 assures us that Jesus Christ came for this purpose: “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus rendered Satan POWERLESS. He hamstrung Satan. There is no reason a born again Christian should listen to Satan’s accusations, or be defeated by his wiles. Satan has been rendered powerless. We must learn to focus upon the POWER of GOD in EVERY situation we face.

Joshua 12 lists the conquests of Moses and Joshua. Joshua 13 – Joshua Is Getting Old, Time to Divide the Land. Joshua 14 – Time for Caleb to Collect

Notice especially Joshua 14:6-15

What Kind of Man Was Caleb?

Faith of CalebNumbers 14:24 (KJV) But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

How do you recognize someone with “another spirit”? The Hebrew pictures an “excellent spirit or wind”. It has the meaning of BREATH. Caleb was a breath of fresh air, that cool gentle breeze in the midst of a scorching desert. One who has “another spirit” is one whose spirit is in touch with God, regardless of the heat of the situation you face. One who has another spirit is like the mighty tree whose leaves do not wilt no matter how severe the heat and drought become. You know someone has another spirit:

  • When your spirit is in touch with God!
  • When you see and believe God is
  • When God’s Spirit within you is influencing your 5 other senses-sight, touch, smell, hearing, seeing.

GOD SENSE

Caleb looked at the same things the other 10 spies looked at, yet he ran everything through his “GOD SENSE”. Sure, those giants were huge. Sure the walls were high and thick, but Caleb wasn’t controlled by his physical senses. He was controlled by his God-Sense. He knew God would give them the victory. Caleb had another spirit, an excellent spirit, and it controlled his life, gave him a fountain of youth, gave him a faith that was remarkable. If you are in the majority, as were the 604,998 other men (between ages of 20 & 60) that day, you will look at problems with only your five senses, and you will have three reactions:

Defeat & Discouragement

Numbers 14:1-The people wailed and wept.

Oh no, mudpreacher, I don’t do that. No, but perhaps you show it in another way. Instead of openly showing your defeat and discouragement, you internalize it. You give up on believing God. You give up on having any enthusiasm for God. Your resolve is diminished, your shoulders become stooped over a bit more, your work for the Lord becomes less and less.

Another way is you limit what you will do for the Lord. Serving others, being a friend, helping people, you are all into that. But doing anything that is outside your comfort zone, even asking friends if they know for certain they will live with God in eternity, no, that is too difficult. You end up doing just enough to be considered a good Christian, but Satan has taken the joy of your salvation away. He has you in that mediocre walk, that walk that does not impact the giants and problems that you will face.

Complaining Spirit

Numbers 14:2-the people murmured

Spirit is breath. The words you speak reveal the spirit of your heart. Words of encouragement, words of joy, words of praise, words of hope, trust, these are the BREATH of another spirit. Words of complaint, murmuring, disgust, impatients, negative these reflect a wrong spirit, a self-sense spirit.

Fail to Believe God

Numbers 14:9 Only rebel not, neither fear

What most people don’t understand, is that failure to believe what God has said is actually rebellion against God. Fearing the enemy when He has told you that you will have victory is slapping God in the face and saying I don’t believe you. You are allowing your flesh, your senses to override what God’s Word says. Ignorance of God’s Word is just as much rebellion as out and out disobedience.

You are in rebellion to God if you ever find yourself saying:

  • I know I should but…
  • He knows my heart…
  • He made me this way so…
  • I’m not hurting anyone…
  • I need my sleep…
  • Just this one time won’t hurt…

Anytime you offer up an excuse for not doing what His Word is telling you to do is REBELLION. Anytime you offer up an excuse for doing something contrary to what His Word is telling you is REBELLION.

CALEB FOLLOWED THE LORD FULLY

Caleb Another SpiritGod doesn’t enjoy halfway Christians. He delighted in Caleb because he followed the Lord “fully”, “wholly”. The phrase is actually two Hebrew words: ʾaḥar – the hind part, behind,and mālâ, to be filled up. God used mālâ to describe the earth when it was filled up with violence (Gen 6:13) Elijah used it to tell the widow women to fill up the vessels with oil. 2 Kings 4:6Dinozzo-Gibbs-On-Your-Six-Boss

Caleb was filled up with the hind part of God. He kept so close! He had another spirit! He was always going “I’m on your Six, Boss!” (as Tony DiNozzo tells his N.C.I.S. boss, Leroy Jethro Gibbs). To be filled with the Spirit of God means you are so dependent upon Him he can’t shake you! You are in his rear view mirror all the time! Like you’ve jumped on his back and nothing can shake you off!

Caleb was a Man of EXTRAORDINARY Faith

  1. Carrying Faith
  2. Climbing Faith
  3. Conquering Faith

I. CARRYING Faith

Joshua 14:10-11 (KJV) And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.

Caleb Carrying FaithThere are certain memories that you always have. Caleb would always remember those grapes. He would always remember the sweetness of the juice, the way they exploded in his mouth, juice running down his beard. He was so excited to taste the bounties of the promised land. For two years they had been eating manna and quail. Now this! He wanted it so badly. He wanted this land. Joshua and Caleb just had to show the people, so they cut down a cluster of grapes so large it took both of them to carry. They just knew the people would get excited about this wonderful land God wanted to give them. He could hardly believe his ears as the people listened to the descriptions of the giants and the walled cities. Can’t you see these grapes! Can’t you see that God is with us. Instead, the people decided to listen to the 10 rather than the 2. They let their fears, their apathy, their unbelief rule their wills. They decided not to go into the land.

Caleb-Grapes of escholCaleb had Carrying Faith. Faith that could carry his soul the next 45 years. Faith that could carry his family. Faith that could keep his spirit on the back of God, even though all those around him were complaining, murmuring, ignoring the power of God. Caleb had another spirit in Him, That spirit gave him faith that carried him through any discouraging situation. During those forty years I suppose that there were many chances for Caleb to become discouraged, to think he would never see the Promised Land again. After all, his friends were dropping like flies. The complaining continued, the manna continued. I can imagine everyday would say to Caleb, “Oh, brother Caleb, isn’t it terrible out here in this wilderness! It is so hot — it’s 118 degrees today!” But Caleb was a man of another spirit. He had another focus. He had GOD SENSE controlling his vision! Caleb would say, “I really hadn’t noticed. I guess it is pretty warm, but I was thinking about those grapes of Eschol that I saw. And I was thinking about the city of Hebron. Our father Abraham liked that place, and I like it. That’s where I am going.”

Caleb, even in the wilderness, could think of the future. He had a great hope. It kept him young. Those forty years in the wilderness killed off the rest of the crowd, but they didn’t do a thing to him but make him healthy. They grew old, and he grew young. The giants in the Promised Land made the others tremble — they thought of themselves as grasshoppers. But Caleb thought of God. There was freedom from fear in the heart of this man. As Martin Luther said, “One with God is a majority.” God was bigger than the giants.

Look at John 15:7-12

abide-in-christIf you are lacking in carrying faith, perhaps you are not centering your life upon the right things. Jesus said to abide in Him, and you will have fruit and joy and love. But the basis for that abiding is obedience, obedience to his commands. What are you disobeying Jesus Christ in? Is your love for Him full? Is your Joy in Him full? Then you are disobeying Christ, and you will not have faith to carry you through the storms of life. Instead of feasting on the monster fruit of God, you are starving on Gerber’s processed baby food.  How is your Love for God, How is your Enthusiasm for God, How is your Spirit for God? Are you Following Him WHOLLY! Do You Have Carrying Faith? Are your Carrying anyone Closer to God!

II. CLIMBING Faith

Joshua 14:12 (KJV) Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day…

Caleb Climbing FaithCaleb is now eighty-five years old, and yet he can say that he is as strong as the day Moses sent him into Canaan as a spy! What he was really saying is that he was still able to tackle any problem same as when he was a young man. His power from God had not diminished, in fact, if anything, he had grown stronger! Most people when they get older, look forward to retiring. They don’t want the stairs anymore, the two stories. They want everything on one level. They want to live in the valley. They don’t want anything too difficult.

When Caleb stepped forward to claim any land he wanted, he chose Hebron. He chose the Hebron mountain area, about 3500 feet above sea level. Why? Because he wasn’t through climbing in his life. He had not accomplished all his goals. He was still pressing upward for the prize of the high calling in Jesus Christ.

Caleb reminds me of Adoniram Judson, the missionary who spent twelve years in Burma without a convert. The board that sent him out didn’t sense the situation nor what a tremendous missionary they had in Judson; so they wrote him a very diplomatic letter, suggesting that he should come home. They asked him what the prospects in Burma were for the future. His reply was, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.” His confidence in God was the reason he could stay in the wilderness of Burma all those years. Although he suffered a great deal and it took a long time for revival to break out, it finally did. His time was well spent. Today, in Burma, there are Christians thriving becasue of the work of Adoniram Judson. In 2013 they will have a huge 200th anniversary celebration.

Are you enjoying all the spiritual blessings that God has for you today? You say, “I have lots of trouble.” I know that Christians have many troubles in the course of their lives. My heart goes out to them.  But I always think of the testimony of a wise old saint who said his favorite Bible verse was, “It came to pass.” When puzzled people asked him what he meant by that, he replied, “When I get into trouble and problems pile up, I turn to my verse and know my troubles have not come to stay; they have come to pass.” We can complain all day long, but that will only hamstring our walk. We need to focus on God, His Hope for us, His Future for us! These things will pass! Our Victory is Promised!

Press-toward-the-MarkCaleb for forty years followed fully the Lord his God. Everyone else around him was dropping dead, was complaining, getting bit by snakes, getting swallowed by the earth, but old Caleb kept on following fully his Lord. He was thinking about going mountain climbing. He was still pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus!

In this life you are either running a winning race or you are falling down in the wilderness.

1 Corinthians 10:1-11 (KJV) Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

There are five reasons why we are overcome in the wilderness: we lust after evil things, we have idols before God, we commit fornication, we tempt Christ (fail to Honor Him), we murmur. These all could have infected the spirit of Caleb. These all could have overcome him in his walk toward the blessing of God, but NO, Caleb had ANOTHER SPIRIT, He Had God Sense, He focused on Him who is INVISIBLE, but ALL POWERFUL!

Caleb kept on drinking from the Rock. He kept on thinking about those grapes. He kept on thinking about his land. He looked forward to climbing. After all, He was on the Boss’s Six!

  • Do you still have goals for Christ?
  • Are you still climbing towards him,
  • Or are you coasting, getting by, just doing what you have to.

Watch out. If you are not climbing, you will get overthrown.

Caleb followed God fully. This is why Caleb chose Hebron.

Hebron means fellowship, it means fullness, and it means fruitfulness. So Caleb was saying, “Joshua, I want that mountain that represents fellowship with God; I want to walk with God. I want that mountain that represents fullness; I want everything that God has for my life. I know there are some giants left, but that is no problem when I am on the back of God!

Have you heard of the man who was mountain-climbing in the American Rockies, along a very rugged track. Suddenly he slipped, falling over a cliff. He grabbed the roots of a tree and hung there. When he got his breath back he looked down and saw an enormous drop. If he fell, he’d certainly be killed. Looking up, the cliff top was so far above him he couldn’t climb back. In desperation, although he knew he was alone, he cried out ‘Is anyone up there?’ He was startled to hear a booming voice say ‘Yes!’ ‘Can you help me?’ ‘Yes’ came the response. ‘What must I do?’ The voice answered ‘Let go!’. There was a long pause, then finally the man called out ‘Is anybody else up there?’

Someday we will be rewarded. We will not be rewarded according to the great amount of work done for God, nor according to our prominence and popularity. The important thing will be — did we wholly follow the Lord?

Oh, that God’s people would learn today that the most important thing in this life is to wholly follow the Lord! Caleb, man of God that he was, took Hebron. There were giants there, but he said, “That’s the place I want. That’s the very best spot!” Oh, that you and I might keep climbing toward the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

III. Conquering Faith

Caleb Conquering FaithWhy did a man 85 years old pick a place like Hebron? It was mountainous, it was rocky, it was controlled by not just one giant, but by his three giant sons. But that was why he wanted Hebron. He wanted to PROVE the POWER of GOD! “Bring them on,” says Caleb. “They’re no match for the LORD!” Forty-five years before he had promised, “Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us” (Numbers 14:9). Now he had a chance to prove it as leader of “the men of Judah”. The giants represent the enemies of Conquest, and Caleb is ready for them

Fear looks at the problems, faith claims the opportunities. Caleb had GOD SENSE! Sure the giants are big, their strength superhuman, their reputation terrifying. We may be like grasshoppers, but there is none mightier than EL GIBBOR! Faith filters every giant through the Power of God! There is no trick to Conquering Faith. If you believe Jesus saved you by His blood and He lives in your life, then you have experienced conquering faith.

In Luke 17 Jesus says we should forgive someone who sins against us seven times in one day! The disciples ask – reasonably enough we might think – for more faith to do this. Jesus brushes off the request, saying, in effect, ‘What you need isn’t more faith, but using the faith you already have! Your problem isn’t faith or the lack of it, but obedience!’

To grow stronger, you don’t need a muscle transplant, but to exercise the muscles you have! Trust and obey says the old hymn – and it’s still true.  They think of possibilities. Just as Augustine wrote the biography of sin in four words: a thought, a form, a fascination, a fall, so faith begins with your thoughts of faith.  We need to exercise our GOD SENSE and see His Power. We need to believe His PROMISES! We must unite our FAITH with the VISION of GOD ALMIGHTY! We must BREATH ANOTHER SPIRIT through our lives: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Phil.4:13). “I am more than a Conqueror through Him who loves me!” (Rom 8:37)

See What Caleb Did at 85: “From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites — Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai — descendants of Anak” (Joshua 15:14).

Why does the Scripture give their names? Because their names were well known; the giants were what legends are made of. You only name great opponents, and these giants were great enemies with great reputations to match. But Caleb fearlessly drove them out. Doubtless the story was told again and again around the campfires, “Do you remember when Caleb….”

Just How Big were the sons of ANAK?

Anak was How BigCaleb said in Numbers: “Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us:

  • Caleb said, these giants won’t be the means of our defeat but of our growth.  We’re gonna eat their lunch!  He bellied up to the table and said, please pass the Anakim, Breakfast of Champions!
  • Why did your momma make you eat your spinach?  Because it was good for you.  “But I don’t want to!”  But you should, it will make you strong.  God says, eat your Anakim!
  • We need heroes. We need to know those who have gone before and have conquered the giants of life.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith….” (Hebrews 12:1-2a, KJV)

You can view life as a stumbling block or a stepping stone.

Granny BrandDr. Paul Brand, (Pioneering physician in the field of leprosy), was raised in India. His parents were missionaries there. In his book, “In His Image,” he writes about his mother.

His mother, Evie “Granny” Brand had just lost her husband. Their mission term was up for renewal. A widow, 68, she was seeking another term. She actually took no support from the organization, becasue she lived off an inheritance. But the board said it made no sense to appoint a sixty-eight year old woman to another five year term.

Evie did not see it that way. Years ago, she and her husband Jesse had vowed to reach five mountain ranges with the gospel. Four still had to be reached. Evie felt that God intended for her to fulfill that vow. She saw one last chance. “Please just send me back for one year,” she pleaded. “I promise not to make any more trouble. At the end of one year I will retire.”

Reluctantly the board agreed. Had they known Evie’s secret plan, they would surely have refused. When her year with the mission ended, fellow missionaries gathered to wish her goodbye. Then came the shocker. Evie gleefully informed them that she was retiring from the mission– retiring to take up independent work in the mountains. She would fulfill the promise that she and Jesse had undertaken years before. Protests and warnings fell on deaf ears.

Paul BrandRejoicing, seventy-year-old Evie began to fulfill Jesse’s dream. Everyone called her “Granny,” now, but she felt young. She traveled from village to village, riding a hill pony, camping, teaching, and dispensing medicine. She rescued abandoned children. The work was hard because her body was thin now. Life became even more difficult when she was dropped by her carriers and whacked her head on a rock. She never completely recovered her balance after that. She took to walking with bamboo canes in her hands. Yet the face that she turned upon the world was full of joy and laughter. “Praise God!” she exclaimed continually.

Despite broken bones and fevers, she labored on. In fifteen years, she almost eradicated Guinea worm from the Kalryan range. (Guinea worms grow several feet long under a person’s skin.) Through her efforts, the five ranges were evangelized, and a mission work planted on each. She added two more ranges. “Extraordinary,” said people. Granny insisted it was all God’s doing.

Whether on her mountains or off, she proclaimed Christ. In a hospital with a broken hip, she scooted on a carpet from room to room and talked to the other patients. She painted landscapes for them. Her bones knit in record time and back she went to the mountains to fight marijuana growers. Her son Paul visited her and found her looking not older but younger. “This is how to grow old,” he wrote. “Allow everything else to fall away, until those around you see just love.”

Granny-Brand2When she was 75 years old, she was still walking miles every day, visiting the villages in the southern part of India, teaching the people about Jesus. One day, at age 75, she was travelling alone & fell & broke her hip. After two days of just lying there in pain, some workers found her & put her on a makeshift cot & loaded her into their jeep & drove 150 miles over deep rutted roads to find a doctor who could set the broken bones.

But the very bumpy ride damaged her bones so badly that her hip never completely healed.

Paul Brand wrote: “I visited my mother in her mud-covered hut several weeks after all of this happened. I watched as she took two bamboo crutches that she had made herself, & moved from one place to another with her feet just dragging behind because she had lost all feeling in them.”

He said, “At age 75, with a broken hip, unable to stand on her own two legs, I thought that I made a pretty intelligent suggestion. I suggested that she retire.” He said, “She turned around & looked at me & said, `What value is that? If we try to preserve this body just a few more years & it is not being used for God, of what value is that?’”

So she kept on working. She kept on riding her donkey to villages until she was 93 years old. At age 93 she couldn’t stay on her donkey anymore. She kept falling off. But she didn’t stop preaching. Indian men would carry her in hammocks from one village to another. And she continued to tell people about Jesus Christ until she died at age 95.

Paul Brand writes, “My most vivid memory of my mother is of her propped up against a stone wall as people are coming to her from their homes, schools, & places of work. I can still see the wrinkles in her face, & her skin so tanned by the weather & the heat. “I saw her speaking to those people. I looked at them & saw the sparkle in their eyes, & the smiles on their faces. And I saw them deeply moved by the message of God’s love, spoken by this old woman. I knew what they saw was not an old woman who had passed her prime, but a beautiful person bringing tidings of love straight from heaven.”

When her son, Paul visited her in the mountains, he found her looking younger. Her smile, brighter than ever, made the difference. “This is how to grow old,” he wrote. “Allow everything else to fall away, until those around you see just love.”

Granny tore some ligaments and had to go to the plains for treatment. Before she could return to her beloved mountains, her speech became jumbled and her memory failed. Seven days later, on this day, December 18th, 1974, she died. The next day her body was taken back to the hills and laid beside Jesse’s while a multitude wept. The woman who had been declared too old for India had carried on for 24 more years, working almost to her day of death.

We Need Heroes Like CalebAre you Wholly Following the Lord God?

We need more Caleb’s. We need Heroes who exercise their God Sense, who can visualize God’s Power, Power to Keep on Carrying, Power to Keep on Climbing, Power to Keep on Conquering!

Would you tell God each and every day “I’m on your six, Boss!”


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.


slide2Over the last few weeks we have been discovering the value of Honor in finding God’s path for our life, in growing in faith, in seeing the Power of God in a real intimate way, and in realizing our full reward here on earth! God has been dealing with me in learning to honor our political leaders. I have been praying for our National as well as Local leaders. I have been asking God to build honor for them in my heart. In honoring my social authorities, I have been seeking to honor Jesus Christ and seeking how He would pastor our church. God brought a Debate coach into mind that I had failed to honor in high School. I had always honored and respected him until we got political. We got into a big shouting match during a class and I walked out, in fact I think we both walked out. I never went back.

Well, God brought my forensics coach into my life this past week. I was able to thank her and honor her as I probably never really said so when I was in school. She is going to get Tom Cameron’s number for me so I can call him. I look forward to honoring him after I ask his forgiveness.

This is what the Pathway of Blessing series is all about. It is about seeking to know God’s ways and then walking in His path. God’s path is a path of blessing. God’s path is a path of earthly rewards. But God’s pathway is found only as we honor those authorities and leaders God has placed in our life.

This discourse we are going to look at the Value of Honoring our Mother and Father. In looking at honoring our Mother and Father, we will discover some amazing truth about the promises of God. We will also learn a bit about drama queens or kings and why this growing phenomenon will prevent many people from finding God’s Pathway of Blessing.

“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3

honor-father-and-motherHonor for our parents is not a recommendation, it is a commandment. Keeping God’s commandments is evidence of our love for Jesus Christ. “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21

We also see: “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it”. 2 John 1:6

With God, it is all about obedience to His word: “ keeping the commandments of God is what matters” 1 Corinthians 7:19 (NKJV)

result-of-born-again-lifeIf you habitually ignore the commandments of God, perhaps you have never had a genuine encounter with the Holy Spirit. God says: “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:20 (NKJV)

If the Holy Spirit isn’t producing “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control, then you need to honest with yourself and say I’ve never been born again. The Spirit of Jesus Christ doesn’t live in me. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 Jn 2:4) If you know Jesus in a real intimate way, you will have a heart drive to follow Him.

Let’s review what HONOR is:

Honor: to value, to esteem, to respect, to treat favorably, to have high regard for. If we view our parents through the eyes of honor we will communicate with them in respect and love. Honor is displayed in deed, word and even thought. But all true honor originates in your heart.

dishonor-of-parentsSo if a young or old person speak in a flippant, careless or irreverent way on a regular basis toward their parents or grand parents, they are displaying outwardly their lack of true honor for their parents. Jesus told us: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. (Matt 12:34)

You can display dishonor by your behavior, by the tone of your voice, rolling eyes, disgusted look, dragging your feet to carry out a request, complaining and so forth. I’ve mentioned before a time when I was 12 that I have never forgotten. My mom had said something I didn’t want to hear and I looked at my friend and did this: (crazy sign). My mom saw me out of the corner of her eye and she slapped me so hard I thought my head would pop off. She said don’t you ever disrespect your father like that again.

I learned to respect my parents, but I’m well aware that: Dishonoring our parents has become a normal way of life in America.

dishonor-of-parents-is-funnyWe have gone from “Father Knows Bes”t to Homer “Doh” Simpson! Or Psycho Dad Al Bundy. It is funny to make fun of your parents. It gets big laughs from the viewing audience, from the kids at school. It is expected. “Well Jim, that’s part of growing up. It’s ok to make fun of your parents” But God doesn’t think it is very funny.

“ ‘Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ Deuteronomy 27:16 (ESV)

cursed-are-those-who-dishonor-parentsDo you understand how strong a word “cursed” is? It is the word awrar, and it means to bind, hem in with obstacles, render powerless. The serpent was cursed, when he caused Eve to sin. Does your life feel as if you meet one road block after another? Do you have sins that you feel powerless to overcome, they have you bound up? Perhaps you have dishonored your parents. You may expect that God only curses murderers, thieves, sexual perverts, yet God said more than once that the one who dishonors his father or mother is cursed. To dishonor your mom or dad means to treat them as common, ordinary, or menial. At worst it means to treat them shamefully, even humiliate them.

Consequences of Dishonor

Noah became a farmer after the flood. One day he drank some fermented wine and got drunk, took off all his clothes and passed out in his tent. We can only speculate why he did this, or if he did it on other occassions. What happened next is what we need to take note of. His son Ham, went into the tent, saw his dad naked, and went outside and told his brothers. We don’t know exactly what Ham said but I imagine it was something like this: “Hey guys, you are not gonna believe this, Dad is a drunk as a skunk and naked as a jaybird! You gotta see this!”

they-honored-noahHowever, Shem and Japeth showed honor to their drunken father and grabbed a garment, held it up and walked backward into the tent, covering their dad without looking at him. They did not want to see the shame of their father. When Noah wole up the next morning, he realized what happened and said:

“Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren.” Genesis 9:25

This prophetic word from Noah, the only statement of Noah recorded in the Bible, was played out for several generations. cursed-by-canaanThe Canaanites, the descendants of Ham, were cursed and eventually overtaken by the Children of Israel at God’s command. Ham dishonored his father and brought a curse upon his descendants. Noah’s behavior brought no such curse. In fact, Hebrews 11:7 says that

By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. Hebrews 11:7 (NKJV)

noah-was-righteous1Ham is not mentioned in Hebrews 11.

Noah’s moral failure became a test of honor for his three sons; it revealed their true heart. Note: Ham was accurate in his report. His father was drunk and naked, yet Ham was wrong in principle. You could certainly justify his reaction. He was being truthful. Yet the principle of Honor and Kingdom authority says he was wrong. Have you passed God’s Test of Honor for your Life?

Dishonor Grows Over Time

jacob-loved-rachelDishonor for parents is like a disease. If left untreated it grows over time. Case in point: Most of you are familiar with the story of Jacob, how he was tricked into marrying Leah and finally got Rachel after working 14 years for her. Well, what you may not remember is that Rachel and Leah had an ongoing feud over who Jacob loved more. Leah kept having babies. In spite of the babies, Jacob loved Rachel, but Rachel was barren. Leah felt unloved, even though she was the one bearing Jacob all the children. She thought that her children would cause Jacob to love her.

leah-and-rachel1“The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.”

Rachel devised a plan to get back at her sister. She let her handmaid Bilhah bear children for her.

And Rachel’s maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Then Rachel said, “With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and indeed I have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali. Genesis 30:7-8 (NKJV)

Reuben, being the firstborn, grew up with all this strife. He had to have felt for his mother, and resented the way his dad loved Rachel more than Leah.

He got personally involved one time. He went out into the fields and found some juicy mandrakes. He brought them in for his Mom. Rachel saw her eating these juicy delicious mandrakes, and desired to have some. So Leah made a bargain with Rachel. “I’ll have Reuben get you some mandrakes if I get Jacob for the night”

The fact that Leah had to pay to have Jacob sleep with her meant that most nights he spent with Rachel. Evidently Reuben had a dishonor for Jacob that grew and grew the more he saw him neglect his mom. Finally, when Rachel died in childbirth, Reuben committed the ultimate dishonor to his father, he slept with Rachel’s handmaid Bilhah. Jacob didn’t do anything at that time, but when it came time for Jacob to die, he gave Reuben’s birthright to Joseph’s two sons. Reuben is not even listed in the genealogical records as Jacob’s firstborn son.

The oldest son of Israel was Reuben. But since he dishonored his father by sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, his birthright was given to the sons of his brother Joseph. For this reason, Reuben is not listed in the genealogical records as the firstborn son. 1 Chronicles 5:1 (NLT)

Jacob’s actions were wrong, in that he neglected Leah for Rachel. Reuben saw his father accurately. However, the bitterness he had in his heart poisoned his whole outlook on life. He let go of the honor a child naturally has for his parent and embraced an attitude of resentment that fostered dishonor. It grew to the point where he could justify his behavior toward his dad. He lost his birthright. Hannah honored Eli and received her full reward. Reuben dishonored Jacob and lost his reward.

wrong-behavior-not-affect

Don’t Allow Someone Else’s Wrong Behavior to Affect You

Moses: Moses had one of the hardest jobs you can imagine. He had to herd Three Million Drama Kings and Queens across a desolate desert.

What is a “Drama Queen or King”?

no-drama-queens1

People (mostly girls – but boys play their part) who like to blow everything

totally out of proportion because they either :

a) Want to seek attention

b) Have some emotional dysfunction and it’s their duty to make life harder for everyone around them

c) Just simple can’t get over it. (Urban Dictionary)

“The term “drama queen,” or less frequently, “drama king” is usually applied to someone who tends to overreact to seemingly minor incidents. A drama queen often views the world in absolutes, and only has two settings on her emotional control button; zero and ten. Psychologists might describe a drama queen or king as a neurotic personality with histrionic tendencies, meaning they tend to become needlessly dramatic whenever order is disrupted.

In literature, the character Scarlett O’Hara from Margaret Mitchel’s “Gone with the Wind” would be considered a drama queen by today’s standards. A drama queen is notoriously self-centered and self-absorbed, often viewing friends and relatives as lesser beings assigned to take care of her personal needs. A drama queen’s worst enemy is solitude, so she tends to be very outgoing and sociable, although many of her friendships tend to remain at surface level. Others who have experienced the drama queen’s sudden outbursts in the past may have a feeling of walking on egg shells around her, not wanting to be the person who delivers upsetting news or offends the drama queen in any way.”

spoiled-bratsWhen I was growing up we didn’t call people “Drama Queen’s”. We called them spoiled brats. If I acted like a spoiled brat my Dad would take the board of education and deal directly with my seat of knowledge. Now I don’t mean to make fun of what happened to the Hebrew Children, but Moses must have felt like he was dealing with a bunch of spoiled brats. Or “Drama Queens” in modern language. Because of their fear about going into the Promised Land, He was forced to wander in the desert for 40 years. For 40 years he had to babysit all those Drama Queens.

They were always complaining about this about that. The slightest thing would get them going. Nothing was ever good enough for them. God would do something to stop their complaining, part the red sea, drown Pharoah and his army, make manna fall from heaven, send quails, make a pillar of fire, but nothing God did ever satisfied them. They went from one big drama to another. Moses left them for just a few days and you would have thought the whole world was coming to an end. The made a golden calf and startted having a worship orgy around their new “god”.

You will never learn to honor your parents if you are a drama queen or king. Because life is all about God and what He wants you to do. And he wants you to get over yourself and realize you must learn to honor your parents, honor your teachers, honor those authorities in your life if you are going to grow in your trust of Him!

moses-was-angry-at-drama-queensYou could tell Moses was starting to crack even then because when he came down from the mountain, he saw what was going on and he threw the tablets of stone down, breaking them in pieces. Another time they were complaining because there was no fresh spring water. All the bottles of Evian were gone and they simply knew they would all die of thirst. So God told Moses to speak to a rock and then water would gush out of it. But at this point, Moses was so fed up with these “Drama Queens” that he gathered them together and said:

“Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?” Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out.

Now Moses let their bad behavior affect his good judgment. He struck the rock twice. God told him:

Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!” Numbers 20:12

Psalms 106 explains what happened:

They angered Him also at the waters of strife, So that it went ill with Moses on account of them; Because they rebelled against His Spirit, So that he spoke rashly with his lips. Psalms 106:32-33

We cannot blame our wrong behavior on the bad behavior of others.

blame-gameReuben’s father was not honorable toward his mother, but that did not justify Reuben’s dishonorable attitude and behavior toward his father. God says to honor your father and mother, regardless of how good or bad they are in our eyes. Or how honorable of dishonorable their behavior is. Jacob had a terrible unloving attitude toward Reuben’s mother. But that did not justify Reuben’s dishonorable attitude and behavior toward Jacob. Noah did a terribly stupid thing, but that did not justify Ham’s disrespect toward his father.

I know most of you are thinking “What about when they…?” There may be times when you have to take a stand. But you never take a stand against your parents unless it is from aplace of Honor and Rspect. While you are to honor them, you may decide that to obey would be contrary to God. It could be asking you to lie to a teacher, or something much worse, involving some kind of abuse. Respectfully you must decline and make them aware that you mean no disrespect, but you will not violate God’s law in such and such. You may have to get your civil authorities involved if the situation of abuse or drugs is destroying your life. Many teenagers disobey their parents in the name of Jesus, when there is an underlying attitude of disrespect and even rebellion. Disobedience in the name of God is only powerful if it is done from a deep seated sense of respect and honor for your parents.

Believe me, they know the difference.

I have known youth directors who encouraged their youth to disobey their parents and come to youth meeting when the parents have grounded them. But what the yout pastor doesn’t realize is that dis-respect and disobedience is probably the reason they were grounded in the first place. Having them disobey to come to church is going to drive a wedge further into the relationship.

TWO FOLD REWARD

two-fold-rewardEphesians 6 said that there are TWO rewards when we honor our mom and dad. First, that things would go well with you. You will experience success in life the way God values success, peace, joy, love, self control. Your path will be clear. Second, you can live a long life.

You may be saying, “But I know someone who honored his parents and … Why didn’t this promise apply to them?”

The Power of Praying the Promises of God

Who found a wife for Isaac?pray-gods-promises

Then he said, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’–let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.”Genesis 24:12-14 (NKJV)

God brought Rebekah forward that day. Isaac was promised many descendants because he was the son of Abraham. But Rebekah was barren. What was God up to? What about the Promise? Isaac had to pray the promise. “Now Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived”. Genesis 25:21 (NKJV)

Spiritual Truth: We Must DECLARE It!

must-declare-gods-wordSimply because God has given us a promise in His Word does not mean it has become OUR promise. We must claim it for our own! Scripture says God’s Word is established in Heaven, but Jesus says we must pray that God’s WIll is established on Earth as it is in Heaven! Our prayers are the Track that our powerful God moves upon!

  • Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. (Ps 119:89 )
  • Teach us to Pray: “Thy Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven”
  • By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established. (2 Cor 13:1)
  • You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you. (Job 22:26)
  • Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss (James 4:2,3)
  • Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. (Matt 18:18-19)
  • I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV)

You don’t have to chose death, it is already working. But You DO Have to Chose Life

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. (Prov 18:21)

Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Lamentations 3:37 (ESV)

prayer-lays-the-trackThis command is the word “(t)sawa”. It pictures the enjoining of one with another in order to carry out a charge. It also pictures says that the one giving the command provides the power and the means to accomplish the charge.

God has placed His Commands in this BOOK. They are the Commands that will bring Life. He is looking for people to join with him and declaring those commands and promises, and thereby seeing them come to pass. Thee is this giant Locomotive loaded with all kinds of power and provisions, and we are the track upon which this Locomotive travels. We speak it, We pray it and God does it, when we enjoin ourselves with Him!

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7 (NKJV)

Have you honored your mother and father? It is never too late. If they have passed on, you can repent before God and honor them in your hearts.

Have you claimed the promise of a “well” and long life? Go ahead, provide the track for God’s Power. Speak it and it will be so, for God has commanded it!


jason-bourne

Jason Bourne is my kind of hero. He is a man with an awful past, a trained assassin who has lost his memory. I like him because he is like a maniacal energizer bunny, he just keeps on killing and killing. He can kill a man with a bic pen, he can kill a man just by singing “Makes me feel like a woman”. In the Bourne movies, he is after the men who made him what he is, and they are out to kill him. It is but another movie showing how corrupt our government is, and it’s subtle message is to trust no one!

reagan-government-helpRonald Reagan said the most terrifying words in the English language “I’m from the Government & I’m here to help you”. Indeed many in America regard the Federal Government, in fact any government, with scorn and contempt. I confess that my attitude has been wrong on several occasions. But God has issued the Scourne Ultimatum to Christians. (I made the spelling like Bourne)

SCORN: lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike. Similar to contempt. To show scorn for the court is to be held in contempt.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Psalms 1:1 (KJV)

The Scourne Ultimatum applies to Being Blessed. If you want to have God’s Blessing in your life You must not sit with those who scorn God’s Ways. If we as a Church want God’s blessings on our efforts to grow and reach out and serve, we must not be Scorning God’s Ways nor God’s Government.

Part of the Scourne Ultimatum is that not only do you miss out on God’s Blessing and Power, but you also lose God’s ability to keep you from temptation. Those that scorn authorities reserve special judgment for themselves:

then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 2 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV)

god-over-beltonWell, you say, God isn’t governing Belton (or your city, your country…)! Oh, Yes He Is!

For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations. Psalms 22:28 (KJV)

God is even governing Cass County. He is governing Peculiar, Cleveland, Raymore. God has ordained our civil government, our civil authority.

God’s Directive for Christians is found in Romans 13: 3-7

For rulers are not to be feared by those who do good, but by those who do evil. Would you like to be unafraid of those in authority? Then do what is good, and they will praise you, because they are God’s servants working for your own good. But if you do evil, then be afraid of them, because their power to punish is real. They are God’s servants and carry out God’s punishment on those who do evil. For this reason you must obey the authorities—not just because of God’s punishment, but also as a matter of conscience. That is also why you pay taxes, because the authorities are working for God when they fulfill their duties. Pay, then, what you owe them; pay them your personal and property taxes, and show respect and honor for them all. Romans 13:3-7 (TEV)

Our civil authorities are the ministers of God. The word used is δικονς. The same word we get ‘deacon’ from. Civil Authorities are God’s deacons. We are to give honor and respect to ALL Civil authorities, not just some of them. They are all deacons of God!

burris-confirmedThe impeachment trial for the Governor Blagojevich of Illinois is over. He is out of office. While still Governor he appointed a replacement for now President Barack Obama. The Congress at first said they would never approve the person he appointed. They changed their mind and approved now Senator Burris. Why? You can speculate about why, but they did the honorable thing. They honored the office of Governor that Mr Blagojevich held. He may be a dishonorable person, he was even impeached, but while he was in office, the citizens of Illinois, the United States Senate honored the office that he represented.

Civil Authorities are ordained by God. They are His servants, His deacons. If you give your heart to God and allow His truth to guide your life, then every time you see a policeman, firefighter, councilman, mayor, state legislator, governor, judge, congressman, senator, or any other person in a branch of government, you should find respect and honor welling up in your heart. This is the fear of the Lord residing in your heart. That fear leads you to honor God and those authorities He has ordained. The way most of us encounter civil authority is by those flashing lights in our rear view mirror.

77-impalaI remember driving to Springfield one time near 1980 or 81. We were going to Branson for a little family vacation. We were in a 1978 or 79 Chevy Impala. Big back seat. We had at least four kids then. The baby was up front but the three boys were in the back. It was late at night, the kids were asleep, and one was laying in the back under the window, two were sprawled in the back seat. You looked in our car and it was all kids.

Well, I got caught speeding. The officer came to the window and said his usual, I said I’m sorry that I was speeding and I thanked him for doing his job. He goes back and then comes back. He said. The fine for this ticket would have been 75 or 80 dollars, but I’m just gonna give you a warning. You take that money and spend it on your kids.

I thanked him, and drove away thanking God for His mercy.

Now I have had not so kind encounters with policemen. And I am sure you have too. They have a tough job. You cannot watch TV without seeing and hearing people dishonor policemen, and government officials.

Why should churches and Christians have a good reputation with the city?

1. Honor for Civil Authority is God Directed

Furthermore, he (church leaders) must have a good reputation and be well thought of by those outside [the church], lest he become involved in slander and incur reproach and fall into the devil’s trap. 1 Timothy 3:7 (AMP)

We bring offense to the Gospel by not having a good reputation. The early church in Jerusalem:

but the people (outside the church) held them in high regard and praised and made much of them. Acts 5:13 (AMP)

westboro-protestsWhen we fail to pro-actively honor our civil authorities, we hinder the advancement of the gospel. Our civil authorities are the gatekeepers of our community. If we want those doors open wide to our efforts to preach the Gospel, we must honor the gatekeepers. We must ask ourselves if the Gospel of Christ is aided by protests and controversy. Certainly the actions of Rev. Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church harm the cause of Christ. They consider themselves to be Biblical, but they frame their action in hatred instead of the Grace of God. God says to honor our authorities so that we may live peaceably with all men.

An unbeliever in early Rome wrote: “They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time, they surpass the laws by their lives. (Letter to Diognetus, chapter 5)

Do we compromise the Gospel to honor and reach civil authorities? Definitely Not!

  • John the Baptist was beheaded because he warned Herod of the lawlessness of sleeping with his brother’s wife.
  • The Apostles, Peter and John, respectfully decline to refrain from preaching Jesus Christ, becasue they decided it was more important to obey God rather than man.

And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:18-20 (NKJV)

Our attitude of Honor is so important in showing our authorities to fear God.

national-prayer-centerPastor Ken Wilde is the Senior Pastor of Capital Christian Center in Boise, Idaho. 22 Weeks out of the year he spends in Washington DC praying for the leaders of our Country. Ken founded the National Prayer Center is an inter-denominational, non-profit organization dedicated to activating, mobilizing and inspiring Christians across America to become involved in the Biblical mandate to pray for our leaders and for national revival in order to heal our land., with over 2000 attendees. The Center is open to members of Congress and their staffs for times of prayer, devotion and spiritual encouragement.

Ken Wilde tells of meeting with a Congressman for the first time. He brought 15 intercessors from a local church along with their pastor. When they were allowed into his office, Ken could tell by the congressman’s body language that he wasn’t sure what they wanted.

He asked what he could do for them. Ken proceeded to tell him they did not want anything, but were only there to thank him for his service to his country and to pray for him.

He said this is a real gift for me. Every day it is an endless stream of people and groups coming in to his office to request money for this or that special interest. He pictures a digital readout on the wall that totals all the money requests each day. “But you have come to give me something today. That has never happened before.

The group prayed for the Congressman, and when they had finished, he asked them if they would pray for his staff as well. When they had finished, he looked at his watch and said, I just had an appointment cancellation, would you like to go over to the Capitol and have a look around? (A Congressman never does this-only interns and staffers.) He led them on a quick ½ hour tour of the Capitol.

Two weeks later Ken received a call from the local Pastor. He was quite frantic. The Congressman had called and told him he was going to come and visit his church with his wife.

Are we to bring the truth to our leaders?

nathan-to-davidWe must speak the truth, but speak it in love. Sometimes God will raise up servants to speak strong words to a civil leader.

  • Nathan to David
  • John the Baptist to Herod

What good does it do when we backbite against our leaders, when we disrespect and dishonor them. What we say in private God will shout from the rooftops on the day of judgment. Speak the truth in your hearts and you will have a heart burning with honor before our leaders. Otherwise your dishonor will poison your spirit and will be manifested before our leaders.

2. Honor for Civil Authority Restores the Fear of God.

scourne-ultimatum-2Peter illustrates the value of the “Scourne Ultimatum”:

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 1 Peter 2:17

Peter says “how can you fear God whom you cannot see, when your don’t honor the leader he has placed his authority upon that you do see?

In America we say: “You will have to earn my respect” The fear of God says: “I see the authority that God has placed upon you, therefore you already have my respect”. We are not to sit in the seat of the scornful, but we are to walk in the fear of the Lord.

  • Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. Psalms 33:8 (KJV)
  • Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. Deuteronomy 8:6 (NKJV)
  • The fear of the Lord leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil. Proverbs 19:23 (NKJV)

Honoring our civil authorities opens up our community to the Power and Authority of God!

“and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 3:9-10 (NIV)

God uses the church to display to the hidden authorities of this world His manifild wisdom. In the unseen realm of God’s Kingdom, when the church honor’s God’s Civil authorities, it allows God to display His awesome Power. In so doing, the world, the governors know the Fear of the Lord! If we do not fear our authorities, we demonstrate no fear of the Lord, and our authorities will never fear the Lord. The church, Christians, are to be living testimonies of the Power of God!

Herod Agrippa came into power in 37AD.He helped the Emperor Claudius gain the throne after Caligula was murdered. As a reward he was given Judea nd Samaria. Now his kingdom was as large as his grandfather Herod the Great. Herod Agrippa (I) was the one who persecuted the early church. He killed James. He imprisoned Peter tot kill him. This is the King that Peter wrote we are to honor! The Christians continued to honor Agrippa, even though they feared him and endured horrible persecutions for their faith in Christ. In so doing, the Jews and Herod experienced first hand the “Fear of God”!

The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!” Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died. Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread, and there were many new believers. Acts 12:22-24 (NLT)

God had his way with Herod! The people feared God!

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego honored the King but honored God first. In so doing the King saw the power of God, He feared the Power of God, and S,M, & A were promoted in the land. God’s influence was allowed to spread. The whole Country Feared God!

We see a modern day application of this principle in Nigeria:

nigeria-prayerNigeria is the most populated country in Africa, with over 140 million people. There is a strong Christian movement in Nigeria. The Christians there have a strong sense of honor for their civil authorities. There are monthly prayer meetings where 100’s of thousands of believers gather together to pray for the leaders of the country, and for righteousness to reign in their country.

Abacha took over power from the caretaker government of Chief Ernest Shonekan, who was put into place by General Ibrahim Babangida after his annulment of the 12 June 1993 elections (won by Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola) caused a massive popular uproar.

In 1998 in one of those monthly prayer meetings, a well-known Nigerian pastor, Emmanuel Nuhu Kure had a vision in which he saw the clouds part and two huge angels appear with giant swords. God showed him Abacha’s days were now numbered, in fact he prophesied it would happen within three months.. There would be no escaping if he did not repent.

Word got to Abaca about the vision, and he a “peace offering to Kure, a huge sum of money., to hopefully turn the prophecy around. Pastor Kure said the Lord told him “Do not touch it lest his (ABACHA’s) leprosy come upon you. Pastor Kure refused the money and sent word back to repent and turn to the Lord God.

Three months later, during another large prayer meeting, another Pastor, Pastor Adeboye told the gathering to turn to the people around them and wish each other “Happy New Year”. Everyone was puzzled. Pastor Adeboye told them the yoke was broken and there would be dancing in the streets.

Within 24 hours of his proclamation, President Abacha died unexpectedly of a heart attack.

A BBC news report said that “Nigerians celebrated in the streets across the country at the news of his death.

Today the Harvest is truly Plentiful in Nigeria. God’s Power is truly evident:

nigeria-revivalCharisma Magazine, Jan. 30, 2009 — The counting of the completed Decision Cards from last week’s Gospel Crusade is 803,563. So many people heard the Gospel and decided to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. The local churches follow them up immediately. “Gather up the fragments so that nothing be lost”, Jesus said. (John 6,12). NOTHING BE LOST! That is the will of God.

“The original Gospel comes with signs and wonders, and what we witnessed last week was absolutely glorious! Miracles upon miracles. Without the miraculous the Gospel would be an empty shell. But Jesus Christ is the same…TODAY. Miracles identify Him. If signs and wonders come from God alone, then we cannot be showmen. Christian services are not exhibitions of our religious stature. Christ gives us the victory that He won on the Cross. “From the fullness of his grace have we all received” – that is, “out of” his fullness we receive our supply. “We have this treasure (this power) in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). That power flows out as it flows in, the overflowing of God through mortal lives. And this is what we witness.

This Gospel Crusade nearly did not happen because of lack of finance, but the God of Miracles performed another of His wonders and made it possible. A very big Thank You to those who helped us so spontaneously. Imagine if we would not have gone! We love you and pray for you.

More than 800,000 people made decisions for Christ during crusades evangelist Reinhard Bonnke hosted last week in Nigeria’s Delta State. Bonnke, founder of Florida-based Christ for All Nations (CFAN), said 85,000 people gathered the first night of the crusade, held in Isokoland Jan. 21-26. CFAN reported that on the final meeting some 425,000 people attended. Those who accepted Christ were directed to a local church for follow up. “The original gospel comes with signs and wonders, and what we witnessed last week was absolutely glorious. Miracles upon miracles,” Bonnke said in a ministry statement. “Without the miraculous the gospel would be an empty shell. But Jesus Christ is the same-today. Miracles identify Him.” Bonnke said there were numerous reports of the blind receiving sight and the lame walking. One man reported that he had been healed of HIV/AIDS.

3. Honor for Civil Authority is God Rewarding

When we honor a prophet, we receive a prophet’s reward. When we honor a civil authority, we receive a civil authorities award. What is that? It is the key to the community. They are the gatekeepers of our towns, cities, states and nations.

John Bevere in “Honor’s Reward” tells of a church in the Midwest that he used to preach at in the late 80’s. One particular church was about 150 and seemed very stagnant. He preached there three or four years in a row. He stopped going, but decided to go a few years later to a conference they were putting on. The letter of invitation indicated there would be over 800. He was curious, and decided to accept the invitation to speak. When he stepped into their new auditorium it was packed with 8-900 people. He said the presence of God was stronger than he had ever experienced before.

After the meeting, he was alone with the Pastor and asked “What Happened” You were stagnant for years. How did the church grow so quickly? I’ve only been gone three years.

“John, I got so tired about my people complaining about paying their taxes and how wrong our civil leaders were, I had to do something about it. So I took it to prayer and God gave me an idea.” He went to city officials and asked about their greatest need. They shared with him that the fire department needed special equipment to enable the fire fighters to see through smoke.

thermal-imaging-cameraMost fire related deaths are due to smoke inhalation, rather than burning. The smoke is so thick that they cannot see someone even a few feet in front of them. Thermal Imaging Cameras (TICs) use infrared technology to help firefighters and rescue workers “see” through smoke, darkness, fog, dense vegetation, fire and walls to find people and fire sources. A common use for TICs is to quickly and easily locate a fire’s origin without causing unnecessary damage. Thermal Imaging Cameras (TICs) were new at that time and quite expensive. It was going to cost the city $25,000 and they did not have the budget for it.

The pastor preached the next Sunday from Romans 13. In love he corrected his congregation for complaining against city officials. He told the people they were God’s servants and that believers could not be blessed by dishonoring civil leaders and cutting corners on their taxes. Once the scriptural foundation was laid, he told of the cities need for the Thermal Imaging Device, and announced a special offering would be taken. It was a good way to honor those whom God had appointed.

The church responded by repenting of their attitude and giving a 25,000 dollar offering. The pastor called the mayor and asked if he could assemble some of the city leaders so the church could honor them with this check to buy the equipment. When the church people got to the meeting, they were surprised to see how many city officials and workers were present to receive this honor.

At the presentation, the pastor read from Romans 13 and shared how his church appreciated the city officials and workers, and they viewed them as ministers of God. He thanked them all. The city officials and firefighters were overwhelmed by the honor and generosity of the church. (We convey honor by money)

A year later the pastor held a new building dedication. Scores of city workers and officials attended. Many were saved and made the decision to attend the church. “That is what blew open the community to us.”

rick-warrenMany evangelical Christians criticized Rick Warren for catering to Obama and McCain when he had them to his church for his one on one interview. But Pastor Warren was only doing what Scriptures tell him to do, honor our leaders, pray for the President. And because he honored the men running for President, when the time came to invoke God’s blessing on our new President, Pastor Rick Warren received the honor. God unlocked the doors of our nation to a man who saw the value of honoring our civil leaders. Now some criticized his prayer, saying it wasn’t bold enough or whatever, but his prayer was before God almighty and was both honoring to our Creator and our new President. That was not the occasion to get on a soapbox and try to put the fear of God into our country.

But listen to how he closed the prayer:

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus, Jesus (hay-SOOS), who taught us to pray, Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

He used the opportunity to honor the one who gave him life, Jesus Christ.

If we dishonor our civil leaders, if we address them like we are better than they, if we try to set them straight so to speak, we are dishonoring God, we are failing to fear God, and we close the door on any opportunity to further honor Jesus Christ.

Look at the life of Billy Graham:

billy-grahamFebruary 2005, Time magazine reported, “He has had the ear of Presidents for five decades, but except for his public disavowal of racial segregation, Billy Graham, 86, has stuck to soul saving and left the political proselytizing to others. He explained his self-imposed separation of church and state in the language of a Gospel preacher: ‘It’s not what I was called to do.’”

Billy Graham never took his eyes from the one who called him to preach, Jesus Christ. He was given the marvelous opportunity to witness for Jesus Christ at the highest levels of government. Former President George Bush said he owes his conversion to Jesus Christ to Billy Graham.

Are You Afraid of God? Are you afraid that one day you will have to face almighty God, Holy God, Righteous God? Are you not sure how you will fare in that meeting? When you revere God to the point of seeing your need for Jesus Christ, you will no longer need to be afraid of God.

satan_fallConcluding thought: When the disciples returned from their special mission to evangelize, they couldn’t wait to tell Jesus about the amazing power they experienced:

“Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20 (NLT)

Jesus said it was no big deal to have authority over demons. Likewise, we can say that it is no big deal to be a civil authority, even the President of the United States! After all, Jesus saw Satan being thrown out of heaven like lightning. He is no big deal! What is a BIG DEAL is to have your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life! When we honor our civil authorities it works to bring the Fear of God into our society. And wherever the Fear of the Lord is, there the Salvation of the Lord is. People will have their names written in the Book of Life! For that WE REJOICE!



slide1One problem has caused more people to stumble in their walk with God than any other situation I know. We encounter harsh and cruel authorities at various times in our lives. How should we react to cruel and harsh authorities when they mistreat us or abuse their authority? Most people ask the question this way: Why Should I honor an authority that I don’t respect and even dislike?

The attitude of dishonor runs deep within our American Society. We believe it is our right to speak out against those we do not like, think are wrong, or disagree with us. I was in the lunch line with my mentor student last Tuesday. The lunch ladies had the Presidential Inauguration playing on a radio. President Obama was giving his acceptance speech. I overheard a fifth grade girl say “I don’t like him”. The boy behind her said “I wish he wasn’t our President”. I immediately turned to them and said, but he is our President. We need to honor him and the office that he represents. The girl said, but he’s not a good man, my dad didn’t want him to be President. I said “that doesn’t matter, he is our President, and it is our duty to honor and pray for him” The kids kind of had a shocked look on their face and then changed the subject.

I challenge you to live this next week and not hear one instance of dishonor. I can guarantee that you will hear someone say something negative about a politician, a bank official, a boss, a spouse, a teacher, someone. Dishonor is rampant in America.

As I look at the question of Honoring Cruel and Evil authorities, I want to relate a true story, as told in 2 Kings 6. As I tell the story I will draw out few points which will form the foundation of the answer to our question.

The Sunken Axe Head

pick-the-axe-head-up2 Kings 6 opens with a group of young prophets coming to Elisha. They have been meeting with Elisha, but there are so many young prophets, they have outgrown the meeting place. So they suggest building a bigger place. Elisha being a man of few words says one word: “yalak” which means Go. But they want him to come and upon asking Elisha to come he says “yalak”. One way means you go, and another way means I go. So they go to the Jordan and start cutting down trees. All of a sudden one guy is chopping real hard when his axe head flies off and sinks to the bottom of the muddy Jordan River. He starts crying out: “What am I going to do? I borrowed that axe”. Elisha goes over and cuts off a branch and throws the stick in the river where the axe fell. All of a sudden the axe head floats to the surface and floats over to the guy who lost it. Elisha tells him to pick it up. He picks it up and goes about chopping the wood.

You say “That’s a cool story” but what does it have to say about cruel authorities?

1. This world is under a curse.

That curse is sin. That curse resulted from our disobedience to the one True Authority. God was good and kind and man still rebelled. We became cursed because of sin. We are condemned to sink under the weight of our sins. We are all hopelessly drowning, whether you are a boss, a King, a President, a father, a mother, whatever authority you may have, you are condemned to drown in your own sins, condemned to eternal separation from Holy God in a literal burning fire of Hell.

2. Jesus Came to Reverse the Curse

Elisha took a stick and put it in the water at the exact spot that the axe head had sunk. Jesus died at the precise time and place needed to satisfy God’s demands of payment for our sin. What Jesus did was exactly what was needed to REVERSE THE CURSE

Jesus Christ, God’s son, holy, without sin, came to this world to REVERSE THE CURSE. He died upon the cruel stick of the cross of crucifixion. When Elisha took that stick and through it into the River of Death (which the Jordan symbolizes) he was painting the picture that the Cross of Jesus reversed the curse. Our sins have been forgiven and we rise above the curse. We are free. God is actively at work in this world reversing the curse upon man. That curse affects our leaders, our authorities, our husbands, our wives. The only way to reverse that curse is by Jesus.

3. We’ve Got to Honor God’s Word

Elisha said “Pick it up”. The man had to honor the commands of Elisha to reverse the curse and get the axe head. Christ may have won the victory but you have to pick it up! When we honor God, when we honor God’s structure of authority, when we let the reality of the Cross live in our daily lives, our daily inter-reactions with those around us, we have amazing power to reverse the curse!

King of Syria Seeks Elisha

Look at the next happening: in Verse 8 we read about the King of Syria and how he was trying to capture and kill the King of Israel. He heard the King might be over at the Wal-Mart in Raymore and he sent his troops over there, but he had already left. Then they heard he was going to be at the Home Depot in Belton, but by the time they got there, he had already left. Then they knew he was going to go to the ground breaking ceremony of anew manufacturing company. So they waited along the route he would have to take, but lo and behold he took another out of the way route.

So the King of Syria gathered his top men and said “Which one of you is the traitor?” Who is telling the King of Israel about my plans? But a servant stepped forward and said; No one is my Lord, for there is a prophet Elisha who tells the King everything you are going to do. Why he even know what you say in your bedroom!”

The King is angry and says “Where is this Elisha?” They spy out the land and word comes back that he is living in a little shack down in Freeman. SO the King sends his vast army to go get this one man Elisha. This is no scouting party. We are talking about tanks, jets, armored personnel carriers, 2000 infantrymen. This King wanted Elisha, dead or alive! So they march and late that night get within a couple thousand yards or so and decide it’s best to wait until the daylight in the morning.

open-his-eyesThe next morning Elisha’s servant goes outside to get wood for a fire and he sees this vast Syrian army and it looks like their guns are all pointed at him. So he runs inside and says Elisha, get up, the whole Syrian Army camped outside and I think they are after you! What do we do? Elisha says “Don’t be afraid! There are more on our side than on theirs!” And before the servant can dishonor Elisha with a wisecrack, he prays, Lord, open His eyes and let him see! Sure enough, his eyes are opened up and he sees an army that you can’t even begin to imagine. The hills surrounding Freeman were filled with millions of army men, tanks and blazing fire power. They must have outnumbered the Syrians 100 to one.

elisha-leads-the-blind-armyAs the army and the tanks advanced on Elisha’s little shack, Elisha prayed. He prayed that not that the Lord’s army would intervene. He prayed that the Syrian army would be made blind. And they all get stricken with blindness. Elisha runs out to them and says yoo hoo, guys, you are in the wrong city. Follow me and I’ll take you to the man you are looking for. So all these soldiers start following Elisha. He leads them up Richards Gebaur where the King is meeting with Ike Skelton. Then Elisha prays God, open their eyes. Their eyes are open, and they find themselves surrounded by the marines, and the King of Israel is there. He cries out to Elisha, Father, what do I do, Do I kill them? “Of course not” Elisha cries. Do we kill prisoners of war? Give them food and drink and send them on their way to their master. So the King of Israel prepared this huge feast, and after they had eaten and drank, he sent them home to their master.

OK, another cool story, but what does it mean?

lessons-from-army

1. Pray To See The Power Of God!

No matter how mean and cruel your authority may be-they are outnumbered by God!

2. God Is Greater Than Any Harsh Authority (Enemy) In Your Life.

God uses these encounters to show us His Power, if we let him open our eyes.

3. Honor Every Harsh Authority As A Prisoner Of War.

God told the King of Israel to honor his enemies. He did.

4. Enjoy a Feast With Harsh Authorities!

(Isn’t that what David wrote-Thou prepares a banquet table before me in the presence of my enemies)

5. Pray That Harsh Authorities Will See That Their Master Is The Devil!

Sometime the only way that someone will do right or turn to God will be when they realize just how mean low down and dirty the devil is. When they see how black and heartless their life has become.

  • The prodigal had to get eye level with those ugly pigs before he thought to return home.

If you treat evil authorities with evilness or dishonor you will never show them the love of God, you will never put them in a place where they can even see that they are following an evil master.

Whenever I talk to a wife who is living with an, insensitive, unloving, unspiritual husband, I tell her, why don’t you go to your husband the next time he does such and such and you want to ring his neck or such and such and instead of dishonoring him or rebelling, just say to him, honey, I love you, and I am praying about my attitude. God has led me to start praying for you that you would see yourself the same way God sees you. I want to draw closer to God and I have learned that God uses you to get me to see Him. So I will be praying that you will see God in a clearer way, so that I can see Him through you.

Now this is not the end of the story. The Bible says the Syrian army went home and didn’t bother Israel for a long while. I think they got reformed. They got a little bit of heaven scared into them. Elisha could have had God’s Army kill them, but no one would have learned anything. Jesus could have had the Roman Soldiers killed, Pilate Killed, Annas and Caiaphas killed, but in that little victory the whole world would have been lost.

You may rebel or do something to prove a point. You may even embarrass the authority or win a lawsuit, but at what price comes your victory? When you chose to dishonor even an ungodly authority you are closing your eyes to all that God wants to do. You are closing your eyes to God’s Power!

Our story doesn’t end there.

Ben-Hadad Besieges Samaria

A new King takes over. His name is Ben Hadad. He doesn’t know about what happened and so marches on Samaria and lays siege. His army camps out for months. Things get so bad that people are willing to pay 5000 for a donkey’s head to eat. One day the King is walking along the wall of the city, and a woman calls out to him from the streets below.

help-meShe says “Help me King!” He says, “If the Lord doesn’t help you, what can I do, I don’t have any food! But she says, that not what I want King. A few days ago my best friend Betty said, hey, things are so bad, let’s make a pact. If we eat your son today, then when all that food is gone, we can eat my boy Johnnie over there.” So I killed my little boy and we’ve been eating him for the last week or so, but he is all gone. So I look for Betty to remind her that it’s Johnnies turn, and now she is gone away and Johnnie is nowhere to be found.

The King of Israel got so upset that he started tearing his clothes. He yelled “God strike me dead if I don’t cut Elisha’s head off this very day” He took his despair and anger out on Elisha. Why hadn’t Elisha done something? Why was there all this suffering because of the evil Ben Hadad? Why didn’t Elisha call the Army of God or strike them blind? He had done it before?

Remember, we need to have our eyes open at all time to see God, to see what He is doing. God intervened the time before, because He wanted to show His glory in a certain way. But this time God was silent, Elisha was silent, there was suffering going on. Why” I don’t know, but God was clearly allowing it!

murderous-captainWe get a glimpse into why when we look at verse 32. We find that while the King is fuming, Elisha is sitting in his house with the elders of the city. He says, “Guys, by the way, the murderous King we have is sending his Captain to cut off my head”. Keep the door shut so he can’t come in. Sure enough, as Elisha was talking, there was a knock on the door. No one budged except to lock the door.

They hear someone yelling at the door: “This disastrous siege is because of God! How can we trust God anymore?”

  • (You may have been tempted to say just that when you endured a harsh authority)

Elisha yells back: “Hear ye the word of the Lord: About 3 o’clock tomorrow afternoon in the city of Samaria you will be able to buy a 12 ounce Filet Mignon for one dollar and a 15 piece bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken for fifty cents!

Listen what happens next: The Captain, the Kings right hand man yells out “Even if God could open the windows of Heaven, this would never happen” So Elisha yelled back: You will see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it! The Captain made a terrible mistake. He dishonored the word of God! He dishonored God! He dishonored God’s messenger.

four-lepersThe rest of the story is that 4 lepers decided it was better to die by the Syrians than to starve to death, so they go into the enemy camp. No one is there, because God had let them see His great army and hear the sounds of His Army and they got scared and ran away. They left their filets and fried chicken out. It was a feast. The lepers went back and told the people and you would have thought it was Wal-Mart on Black Friday. Everybody started running to the enemy camp to get food. Sure enough, the Captain who dishonored God and Elisha was trampled to death before he could get one bite!captain-trampled-to-death

God allowed evil to happen to His people. He allowed an evil authority to cause things to get so bad that horrible horrible things were done. Why? I can’t tell you, but I can tell you that it was His plan. If anyone dishonors God’s plan, God’s authorities, they will get trampled.

If You Want to Feast, Honor God’s Word & Wait For His Power! (Always Give God One More Day)

feastGod has a feast prepared for us, but we must learn to Honor even evil authorities, because no authority is in place against God’s will.

Now with this foundation, we are able to answer the question before us:

Question: How could a Righteous God appoint cruel people to positions of authority?

God is the originator of the authority, but He is not the author of the cruelty. Man is responsible for his cruel actions, not God. All authority is of God, but not all authority is godly.

MAJOR QUESTION: Are we to submit to authority when those in authority mistreat us?

Last week we saw from David’s life that yes, we are to honor even evil authorities, even when they abuse and mistreat us.

Now let me just say this now: Our government has enacted laws that govern the treatment of minors and spouses. I believe they are fair and equitable laws. We need to submit to and honor those laws. So when you know of an adult who is abusing children, or a husband or wife abusing their spouse, you are duty bound to come to the aid of the one being abused and placing them under the proper authority. If this happens to your self, you should certainly seek the help of the proper authorities. They are there by God to punish evil and reward good. So do not misinterpret what I am teaching to mean you should put up with abuse. If your direct authority is not doing right, you are to utilize the chain of command. And you should always feel free to go directly to the top! (Boss tells you to steal, falsify documents etc)

But lets look at New Testament writings in 1 Peter 2:

Servants (employees, students, civilians, church members), be submissive to your masters (employers, bosses, teachers, church leaders, civil authorities) with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 1 Peter 2:18 (NKJV)

Peter says we should also submit to the harsh.

What does harsh mean? Mildly irritating? Difference of oppinion? No, it is worse than that. The Greek word is skolios which means:

skoliós; Crooked, bent or warped from dryness, such as wood. Has the picture of one who is crooked, perverse, wicked. A Master who is perverse and unjust. [Complete Word Study Dictionary, The]

Well, maybe that is just one interpretation of harsh. So I looked at Vines:

tyrannical or unjust masters—Vine’s

The New Living Translation says it this way, as if there was any doubt as to the meaning of harsh:

You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 1 Peter 2:18 (NLT)

The Living Bible says:

Servants, you must respect your masters and do whatever they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are tough and cruel. 1 Peter 2:18 (TLB)

  • But Jim, if spousal or child abuse is wrong, why would God allow His own born again children to be abused by harsh authorities?

God does not want His children to be abused. He does not even condone child abuse. He is the most loving father in the universe. God doesn’t just love, God is love. And in His Loving ways that are higher than my ways, God tells me to be submissive to harsh, cruel, crooked, perverse, tyrannical, unjust and dishonest leaders.

God’s Way vs. Man’s Way

Understand what God considers EVIL:

  • For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13 (KJV)
  • Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. Jeremiah 7:24 (NKJV)
  • “For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge.” Jeremiah 4:22

Being evil before God is not murdering, not stealing, not lying…Being evil involves two things:

  1. Forsaking God (Not obeying Him)
  2. Following Your Own Plans (following the counsels and dictates of your evil hearts)

God wants us to depend upon Him. Whatever happens in our life is to draw us into greater dependence upon Him. Even that which you consider evil is meant to draw us into God’s presence. When we rebel against authority, when we dishonor authority, we are closing our hearts to God and His Divine plan.

WHY SHOULD WE SUBMIT TO HARSH AUTHORITIES?

There are Three Personal Benefits of Submitting and Honoring Harsh Authority.

1. Submission to Harsh Authority places our case in the hands of God who judges justly

(For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 1 Peter 2:21-23

  • If we take matters in our own hands, God steps back and lets us be on our own.

Say we rebel and win, we divorce and find a better husband, we quit the cheer leading squad in a tiff, we hang the phone up and vow to never talk to them again, a wound or root is left in our spirit that is not Christ like, and eventually will bring trouble and even defilement. God Hits a Lot of Straight Licks With Crooked Sticks

2. We receive a blessing

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. 1 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)

When we walk after God, and not after the evil imaginings of our heart, we receive a blessing.

I did not want to get real personal with you, but God said I had too, because this is something God has been teaching me over the last thirty five years. My Brothers in August 1988 voted to fire me from Tompkins Industries, Inc, where I was President. Dad had retired in 1986 and gave us different responsibilities, but made us equal in ownership. But we didn’t get along. And Dad didn’t intervene.  So I found myself without a job, with no savings, and a wife and six children to provide for.   The next three years were incredibly hard. We struggled financially, my relationship with Mom and Dad and my brothers was non-existent, until my grandmother passed away. I had just been fired from an Asphalt Paving company that I had been hired to manage. My brothers asked me about starting my own paving company. I said yes, I could start one, and they agreed to loan me $80,000. I started Tompkins Pavingy on March 21, 1991, having had only 6 months prior paving experience. My office was back at Tompkins Industries, the place they fired me from in August of 1988.

I have kept a journal the last 35 years, and I wanted to share some journal entries with you that might help with this issue of submission and harsh authorities.

April 7, 1991: “When I think of all that was taken away from me at Tompkins, and how now monetarily the boys are doing so well, and I am struggling…, it is very hard not to be bitter. Especially now that I am officing with them. But Father-You did exactly what I needed, for you will work a far greater eternal glory. Please keep reminding me of that… I gladly accept your fire of suffering-knowing that my family, my children, my grandchildren are better for it! Teach me thy way O Lord and I will walk in your truth.”

The brothers started to get nervous about their money. Sales were slow at first. They were refusing to pay vendors until they got their money. They refused to let me have any say so with the check book. They had become a “Harsh” Authority to me very quickly. What I though had been a restoration of our relationship seemed to be a ploy to ruin me further. So one day, one very bad day I wrote:

July 21, 1991: “the thought that has come to me is that Job’s afflictions came all at once (or do it seems). He was strong in his resolve not to curse God and die. But what would have happened if your afflictions came slowly, over a period of several years. Slowly, methodically your will to live, your hope is chipped away. Finally something happens, and any hope left is finally dissolved. You are left with no way out, but to take your life. The thought to end my life has been on the top of my mind-it just seems there is no hope anymore-that I’ve boxed myself into a hopeless situation-one which will lead to ruin for my family. It’s been tough the last 4 or 5 years-the afflictions have slowly eaten away at my love for life, my love for others-my love for God. I’m to the point where I have no hope, no confidence in my own strength, or friends, or family-I don’t know what to do.”

February 19, 1994: “What a difference 2 years makes-(91-92) winter was very discouraging. 94 winter I am very thankful for the way God has given. It would take several pages to list all the ways.”

March 21, 1994: “How headstrong and self confident I am by nature. So confident of my intellect and abilities to make things happen. God had to take all that away-to show me His strength and ability to provide in the face of my inability to do what is right. Only as I give over to Him my confidence for success am I allowed to receive His great gifts.”

“When God desires to deal with a particular man, He does not leave Him until He has brought him through to a clear place. God does not leave us in darkness for long. He will reveal His will. He waits until He is finally free to speak, and our attention is focused on Him. Trials issue in triumph. Clearly it is not the number of trials which is important, but that we reach God’s goals through them.”

March 21, 1994: Insight from 2 Samuel 12:20: So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. This is the Mark of a Man after God’s own Heart: “When we realize God’s way with us without resentment or regret. “UPON SEEING GOD’S WAY, WE BOW AND WORSHIP THE WILL OF GOD.

I know first hand the blessings that you receive when you honor even harsh authorities.

3. In trusting God, Rather than vindicating ourselves, Godly Character is built within us.

Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 1 Peter 4:1 (NKJV)

The suffering of Christ was mistreatment by authority. We are to arm ourselves with the same mind. WHY? We are called to honor authority even when it mistreats us. Peter says if you do this well you will cease from sin. This means we grow in our character. Paul writes:

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5:3-4 (NLT)

The Bible instructs us to unconditionally submit to authorities, however, it does not tell us to unconditionally obey authorities.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Romans 13:1 (NKJV)

Submission deals with our attitude, obedience deals with our actions.

Isaiah 1:19: If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.

We must be willing AND obedient. The fear of the Lord resides in our heart, and honor is an outflow of Holy fear!

  • God wants to reward your Submission to His Ways and His heart…
  • It is not about obedience, it is about your attitude…

Obey (Peitho-Be Persuaded) those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give an account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:17)

We must have unconditional submission. But not unconditional obedience. Case in Point:

Nebuchadnezzar: Mighty Ruler, Brute Beast, Servant of God

submissive-honorShadrach Meshach & Abednego decided it was more important to fear God rather than worship Neb. They had honored Neb, and he had made them governors of Babylon. But when he commanded them to worship the golden statue, they politely refused. They confessed their obedience to God.

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 (NLT)

Shadrach Meshach & Abednego honored both God and the Kingthey-honored-the-king

  • They Honored God by refusing to sin.
  • They honored the King by submitting to his authority and speaking respectfully to him.
  • God gave them a Full Reward
  • The King promoted them

And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:13-17 (NKJV)

pressure-enlarges-usWhen we submit to harsh authorities, we bring God into our situation. God uses that pressure to enlarge us! Look at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The three became four! God enlarged them as they honored Him and the harsh authority He had placed over them.

Bottom Line: In learning God’s Ways, we must learn to Honor the Authorities God has placed in our lives. Honoring requires that we submit-and that requires a heart attitude. Obedience without the right attitude produces no reward. God values your heart above all else.

1. We must LEARN the value of submission and honor

2. We must OBEY God first, but when faced with a harsh authority, we must have our eyes OPEN to see God’s Power.

3. We must correct our heart ATTITUDE.

4. We must APPEAL in the right spirit. (Esther)

5. We must COMMIT the matter to God if we suffer.

6. We must SEE the authority as a Prisoner of War, and treat them with dignity.

7. We must PRAY that the authority will see himself as God sees him, praying for their repentance and ultimate blessing from God.

Remember, Nebuchadnezzar came to see himself as he really was, a brute beast.brute-beast

Have you dealt with any Brute Beasts in your life?

Any Harsh Authorities?

Did you react you way, or God’s way?