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Friday, January 20, 2017

This Is Why You Can’t Be Deterred By Your Critics. Let God’s Work In Your Life Be What Silences Those Who Tried To Silence You! Let Today Be The Day Your Prayer Life Takes On A New Dynamic.

Matthew 20:29-34, "As Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd was following. Two blind men who were sitting by the road heard that Jesus was passing by, so they began to shout, “Son of David! Have mercy on us, sir!” The crowd scolded them and told them to be quiet. But they shouted even more loudly, “Son of David! Have mercy on us, sir!” Jesus stopped and called them. “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU?” He asked them. “Sir,” they answered, “WE WANT YOU TO GIVE US OUR SIGHT!” Jesus had pity on them and touched their eyes; at once they were able to see, and they followed Him." (GNT)
Be Like The Blind Men, When You Can’t See Jesus, Listen For Him, And When You Hear Him, Make Sure He Hears You! Open Your Mouth; Therein Lies Your Miracle!
Therefore, starting today, pray Big and Bold! Ask the hard thing! And be specific! Dont be afraid! Ask God to heal the situation in your marriage; the substance abuse in your children; your fear of tithing because of your bills and debt. Take to Him specifically what the doctors diagnosed! Jesus is not afraid of Cancer; Heart Failure; Diabetes; Arthritis; HIV or Aids! He Can Heal Anything, So Take Everything to Him! He has no fear in regards to your mistakes and even deliberate sin. He can handle the divorce; the unemployment; the church transition; the foreclosure; the bankruptcy; the child support (and even lack thereof).
Why struggle with fear, fret, panic, anxiety worry, stress; anguish and the like, when you could simply enter your prayer closet (the one that you make anywhere, including a bathroom stall at work!)
Block out people who try to discourage you with such statement as “nobody has ever survived that; or my dad died from that same exact thing; or boy you must be out of your mind to think God will do that; or girl you may as well throw in the towel because not even Jesus can clean this mess up!”
Jesus loves these kinds of prayers: Persistent and Bold!
And lastly, let's focus on the one secret of prayer that we miss all too often. In verse 32 Jesus says, "What do you want Me to do for you?" It seems like such an obvious question though, dont you think? I mean after all, here are two BLIND men! And Jesus heals BLIND people! However, the blind men say instead, "Lord, have mercy on us." And there’s nothing wrong with that, but Jesus says, "Well, tell Me exactly what you want Me to do?" This is a characteristic of prayer that gets miracles and that’s praying Specifically!
See, these guys had already made a GENERAL request, "Lord, have mercy," but Jesus insists that they narrow down their request and tell Him EXACTLY what they want, SPECIFICALLY. And when they do, Jesus responds with a miracle!
The word “specific” is defined as “clearly defined or identified; precise or clear; relating to a particular individual or situation; a definite reference; limited to one particular thing; exact; detailed; intended; distinctive; unique; designated; explicit.
This is what your prayers need to sound like!
See, too often our prayers are like those vague answers I give my family in regards to buying gifts for me, "Anything will be fine, and anything you pick out or pick up is alright by me." Likewise, we talk to God about "give me a blessing," "I need an answer," "send help!" or some GENERAL spiritual request. And I wonder if Jesus is standing there asking, "Well, like what? What are you asking for?" In fact it's really expanded my praying to imagine Jesus standing there as I pray, saying, "Okay, J.P., what do you really want Me to do for you?"
And so, I learned not to just ask God to bless my marriage, but I’ve learned to take specifics about my marriage to Him. I no longer just say “Lord, keep my children safe.” But I’ve learned to pray “Lord, keep my children safe not just from others or harm, but from their own imaginations; desires; devices; wants; lusts; insecurities; immaturity”, and the like. I dont just say “Lord bless my finances.” But “Lord, bless me to be a good steward over the finances that you have provided for me. Help me to be disciplined in my spending and saving…”
In other words, I dont want to be like the blind men sitting by the road yelling Lord have pity and mercy on me, when my specific request is, “I WANT YOU TO GIVE ME MY SIGHT!”
Now it isn't that He doesn't know what the need is. He just wants us to know what we believe Him for...specifically...not vaguely because we have doubt, fear and unbelief!
Listen to Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [SPECIFIC] requests known to God." (AMP)God honors specific faith! Not demands, but requests that are always under the umbrella under which even Jesus Himself prayed, "Not My will but Yours, Lord."
Coming to God persistently, daring to believe Him for big, bold, specific requests touches His heart!
You know what I also find interesting as well? Once they make a persistent, big, bold and specific request of Jesus; once their request is granted; they “…joined the procession.” This is the same crowd of critics that tried to mess up their miracle! This is why you can’t be deterred by your critics. Let God’s work in your life be what silences those who tried to silence you! Think about it: Two blind men shouting to get their sight silenced those who tried to shut them up…isn’t God amusing!
Let today be the day your prayer life takes on a new dynamic. One that is specific in its nature.  One that goes to God KNOWING He hears and He answers!
SEE to it today that you Make Your Prayer Request Specific! You Have NOTHING to Lose And EVERYTHING to Gain!


Thursday, January 19, 2017

We Have To Demonstrate Better Examples Of Christian Conduct Before Our Children. Our Children Young or Old Will Embrace and Emulate What We Entertain in Our House & In The Church House!


1 Peter 1:18-19, “You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold, but [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.” (AMPC)

Believe it or not, but we have all gotten some very destructive hand-me-down ways of living from our parents who probably got those same hurting ways from their parents, and so on and so on. And even though we may have been determined not to reproduce some of those traits, (even the ones we’ve hated), truth is, many of us have still ended up duplicating instead of destroying harmful family traditions. There they are popping up in our generation; marking (or better yet scarring) another generation. And unless their hold can be stopped in our generation, we’ll pass on the bruises instead of the blessings to further future generations!

Admit it, or deny it, but we've all got ways of doing things we have long wanted to change, and for a long time: things like our temper, our negative attitude, our lack of discipline, our critical tongue, this addictive personality, this controlling personality, this lack of affection, this dishonesty. We’ve all inherited some family traditions that need not be passed down any further. This is why we have to take into account what the Bible instructs us:

“You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from your] forefathers…”

This is the major thing we must be honest about, granddad and grandma didn’t pass the best of traditions to mom and dad, and mom and dad didn’t pass on the best traditions to us. And since we’re being honest, let’s be all the way honest, WE, have not passed down the best traditions to our children. Sure, we’ve passed on photos, family recipes or holiday traditions, but for many of us we’ve also passed on that cussing tongue; that resentment, bitterness, hate, anger, jealousy, competition, comparisons, forgiveness. 

We’ve taught our children (via our own speech and behavior) that it’s ‘okay’, when clearly it is not. They’ve listened to us gossiping about church folks, and then going to church to pray, praise and worship? Or we’ll tell them the importance of going to Sunday School; Bible Study; Prayer and Morning Worship (while we’re shopping during Sunday School; at the Movies during Bible Study; watching our favorite Television show during Prayer or at IHop during Morning Worship).

We have to demonstrate better examples of Christian Conduct before our children if we want them to emulate the Right things about us (because trust me, whether we want them to or not, they will emulate much of what they see us do).

Warning: Our Children Will Embrace and Emulate What We Entertain!

Remember, the Scripture makes it clear, “…from the useless (fruitless) way of living INHERITED BY TRADITION FROM YOUR] FOREFATHERS…” We have taught them far too many lessons on failure; compromise; excuses; blame and the like. We have to reverse this or the next generation will produce more “…useless, fruitless…” ways of living. And after all, who wants that as their family legacy?

Do you honestly want to live in such a way that you pass on to your children (who will pass on to your grandchildren and so on) ways that are displeasing to God? Do we want them to spit out your verbal vomit of disrespect because that’s all you taught them to digest?

Listen, as much as we like to talk negatively about the next generation, let’s be real, some of that stuff they received from us. Many didn’t learn to smoke, drink, cuss, lie and steal from the streets, no; they learned that in the house. Many didn’t learn to be lazy, unaccountable, undependable, from the streets, no, they learned that in the house. Many are in insurmountable debt and owning absolutely nothing of substantial worth, because they learned such behavior in the house. Do you really want our children to live in such a manner that their future is useless and fruitless, and all because they learned such acceptable behavior in the house?

And this goes far beyond just our personal homes. This addresses the House of God, which addresses us as leaders in God’s house. Are we setting proper examples for the youth in our ministries and churches? Are we correcting them, empowering them, instructing them, encouraging them? Or do we simply give them a little something to do so they can stay out of our hair?

Are we teaching them to tithe, to give offering, to respect authority, to lead well, to be faithful, dedicated and committed? Are we teaching them how to handle conflict on an auxiliary so they’ll know how to handle conflict on a team? Are we coming to the house of God together, as a family, or are we teaching them that it’s okay if we worship in bits and pieces?

We have to do better or they will never be better. And that’s the goal, to make the next generation better than the previous one. To show growth, maturity, and fruitfulness.

Which means, we can’t tell them to pull up their sagging pants when the panty-lines of the preachers are exposed; the cleavage of the worship leaders are hanging out and the youth leaders need someone to wrap a tablecloth around their legs. How can we tell them not to lie, cuss, steal and gossip, when we do? How can we tell them to go to church, while we stay home and send them with grandma or auntie? How can we tell them not to drink, smoke, or have sex or babies out of wedlock, when we do? How do we tell them to grow up, but we as leaders can roll our eyes, suck our teeth and walk all the way on the other side of the church just so we don’t have to walk past Brother “I Can’t Stand Him”, or Sister “She Makes Me Sick?” How do we tell them the importance of giving to God, when they see us purchase more at the mall in one day than we’ve put in the offering plate all year long?

In a nutshell, we’ve got to do and be better, so they can as well!  Let’s change us and we won’t have to worry about changing them (they’ll simply follow the examples we’ve set) and this time, it will be worth the imitation. Let’s prepare the next generation by making the necessary changes in ourselves, first. Let’s show them the fruit they are to produce:

Our children (biological, spiritual, and all those we come into influential contact with) need to see in us what they will one day see in themselves. Let’s start reflecting now faith, hope, trust, holiness, kindness, goodness…let’s show them what it means to be the Image and Likeness of God. Let’s expose them to the Christ-Like Character and Conduct that Every Believer Should Possess.

If we love them, let’s help them.

1 Timothy 4:11-14, “Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.” (MSG)

This is the example we want to set for them. Let’s teach them, with our life (and lifestyles), by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. And in teaching them in this manner, they will one day emulate us and teach others in the same manner. And we will have started a cycle of blessing instead of a cycle of cursing. Let’s share the reading of the Word with them, give them wise counsel and teach them. And let us also be so active in the gifts God has granted us, which our children will be inspired to do the same. 

Let’s show them the excitement of ministry, so that we fan their inner flame into a blaze, and they beat us to the house of God to be in His service!

Our children need to see us reading, studying, applying and living the Bible, so they copy our character as they build their own. They need to see and hear us praying (often), (publicly and privately), so they can emulate. They need to see us visible and active and happy in the house of God, so that they will not view it has a place you have to go, instead of it being the place you want to go to the most. Let them see us behave as believers so they’ll know what it looks like, sounds like, and should be like.

Let’s prepare the next generation by getting the baton of blessings (and behavior) ready to pass on to them. Let’s give them what we desire them to give the generation after them. Let’s help them to do and be better than we ever were, and let’s teach them to do it quickly, young, and authentically.

We’ve passed on enough poor examples, now let’s change us so we can help change them, and they can in turn help to change others.

“The most important business of one generation is the raising of the next generation. Nothing else you do in life will be as deeply satisfying.” (George Will)

“What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.” (John Wesley)

Let’s expose them to the joy of living for God.

Blessings

J.P. Olson