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Monday, February 25, 2019

I’m Here Today To Remind You That It Isn't Always Going To Be Like This. Remember, Every Storm Eventually Runs Out of Rain! Things Will Begin to Clear Up & Clear Out Sooner Than You Think. Here's Why:

Remember: “…the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory…” Remind Yourself Daily: What’s Coming is Better Than What’s Been!

The key here is a little thing called Perspective. The description I love on “Perspective” is “a particular way of regarding something based on its relative importance.” In other words, it’s how important it is to you! How do you view it? How do you see it? What is its importance? And like Paul, when you compare the temporal to the eternal and the pain to the glory, the cross to the crown, you will also conclude that what you are going through is nothing compared to what God has planned to come to pass! It’s likened to trouble lasting “One Day”!

I know it feels like the marriage won’t get better, the children won’t improve, your finances won’t increase, your health won’t change, the job won’t come through, the business won’t start, the ministry is struggling. But truth is still truth, TTSP: This Too Shall Pass! It’s but for a moment, it’s temporal, it’s in comparison to just One Night! You can handle this!

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day. For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!], Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.” (AMP).

One of my nieces had an interesting method of weight control. She would eat what she wanted for a while, and then suddenly she would reverse all engines for a day or two. She would announce, "Today is a Slim Fast day!" Which translates, drink diet milk shakes three times a day. However, when you like to eat like I do, drinking all three meals a day is not very satisfying in my book.

Well, one day I was out running errands and my niece went with me. We stopped at this bagel store, and I came back to the car with the aroma of fresh bagels. (One of the great aromas in the world might I add!) I said to my niece, "I'm sorry I did this today, I know how much you love bagels." She said, "Auntie, don’t worry about it, I can handle it. It's only one day, it's only for a moment."

In our text of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul is writing his perspective on the mountain of suffering that he was experiencing. It sounds a little bit like the niece I know that would deprive herself of food...for a short time.

Here's what it says in another version, "Therefore we do not lose heart..." Wow! In spite of all Paul went through, not losing heart is major! Some of us go through nowhere near what he suffered and endured, and yet Paul encourages us by how he encouraged himself, “…we do not lose heart…”

He then says, "…Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles..." (Get that? “…light and momentary troubles…” In other words, this load as heavy as it is, will not crush you, believe it or not, it is but a light thing and as long as you’ve been going through it, it is still but momentary!) The word 'light' is defined as, 'of little weight; deficient in weight; not strongly or heavily built; not profound or serious.' And the word, 'momentary' is defined as, 'very brief or short-lived.' That's how Paul describes our troubles! And does he have the credibility to do so? Absolutely! Just listen to Paul's LIGHT AND MOMENTARY TROUBLES that he describes just seven chapters later:

2 Corinthians 11:21-29, "...(I can’t believe I’m saying these things. It’s crazy to talk this way! But I started, and I’m going to finish.) I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches..." (MSG) 

WHEN SOMEONE WITH THAT AS THEIR TESTIMONY TELLS YOU THAT YOUR TROUBLES ARE ONLY LIGHT AND MOMENTARY, YOU BELIEVE THEM!

The text goes on to say: "...are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV).

The Message Bible puts it like this: “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (MSG)

That’s what you call encouragement! Whatever you’re dealing with, Paul says to treat it as “…here today, gone tomorrow…light and momentary!”
Remember, Every Storm Eventually Runs Out of Rain! Things Will Begin to Clear Up and Clear Out Sooner Than You Think! Keep Mind: “…Weeping may stay all night, but by morning, joy!” (Psalm 30:5 CEB).

Paul continues that same theme from 2 Corinthians 4 in Romans 8:18. He says, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (NIV). The Common English Bible says it like this: “But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him. I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us.  The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters.  Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice—it was the choice of the one who subjected it—but in the hope  that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children.” (Romans 8:17-21 CEB).

When you look at the comparisons you’ll begin to say: "Okay, if this is all there is, I can handle it." You see, compared to a forever without pain and with incredible rewards for the faithful, our suffering is only for a day. So no matter what or who you have to face, face it and them with the same attitude: "I can handle it."

Believe it or not, but your loving Lord knows you are under a very heavy load of hurt right now. And as always, He shares your pain. He has seen your tears, He cares about your suffering because He's familiar with it! Philippians 2:5-8, "Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion." (MSG)

If no one knows what's it's like to endure suffering and pain it is Jesus!

He knows sometimes you feel like this is just more than I can handle. Which is why He lovingly says to you today:  Matthew 11:28-30, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (MSG)

I’m Here Today To Remind You That It Isn't Always Going To Be Like This. This isn't forever; not compared to how long you will live through eternity with your Savior in peace. In fact, compared to that, it's not long at all.

There’s a little phrase that a sister in church taught me to say whenever I was young and faced with hardship. She would say, "Just remember: TTSP!" The glorious truth: This Too Shall Pass! And that's the truth about this dark valley you're going through-This Too Shall Pass. Maybe you have lost someone close to you recently, and the grief is heavy, but it is temporary. There's a reunion coming. This is only an interruption in your relationship. The pain of your situation is real; maybe even devastating. But praise God there's an eternal healing coming. The Bible still says, "…Weeping may be for a night, but joy comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).

Get Ready Because There is Still a Morning Coming After Your Mourning!

In Christ there is a four-letter word that makes the worst earth stuff bearable-HOPE. And the hope will last much longer than the hurt! You have in Jesus a Savior who has lived the pain. Hebrews 12:2says, "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (NIV). The Message Bible says it like this: “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:1-3 MSG).

Nutshell: Temporal Pain, Permanent Joy!

If you just look at today's suffering, you're going to stagger under the load. But if you can lift your eyes and look at the short way down the road, you'll be a winner even with your wounds. For just beyond this valley there is a Savior waiting with His arms wide open, waiting to welcome you to the forever He has planned for you. And you will hear Him say, "It's over, my child. You have born your pain as I did. Now, enter the kingdom I've prepared for you. I’ve been waiting on your arrival."

Oh, I know it hurts now, but hold on and hold out, in comparison to what’s coming, it's only for a day.

BE REASSURED, WHAT'S COMING IS SO MUCH BIGGER, BETTER AND GREATER THAN WHAT'S BEEN!

Blessings
J.P. Olson

Monday, February 18, 2019

Why Was He Looking At This Naked Woman In The First Place? How Is It Possible That The Man After God’s Own Heart Took His Eyes Off Him? I Believe Someone Is Reading This Right Now & God Wants To Say:

2 Samuel 11:2-4, “One night he couldn’t get to sleep and went for a stroll on the roof of the palace. AS HE LOOKED out over the city, HE NOTICED a woman of unusual beauty taking her evening bath. He sent to find out who she was and was told that she was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah.  Then David sent for her and when she came he slept with her. (She had just completed the purification rites after menstruation.) Then she returned home.” (TLB)

Talk about a lot of stuff going on in just a few verses! 

I believe someone is reading this right now, and God wants to say to you, "You're about to crash because you've looked away." However, He doesn't want you to crash! He doesn't want you to pay for the damages for the rest of your life and legacy. So He's sending you this loving warning today. Are you listening? Are you taking heed? You've looked away from His book. You've put your Bible on a shelf and seldom are you showing up for your time with the Lord anymore. You've looked away from His calling on your life and you're on a spiritual vacation. You've looked away from Jesus and you've let something or someone else take over your heart. You're headed for a terrible crash!

David took a spiritual day off and he paid for that day with the rest of his life (and dare we say with Uriah and David and Bathsheba’s son’s life as well)! It could be you've been taking some spiritual days off and Satan is using your complacency, he's using your carelessness to make you drift off the road that God once had you on.

Well, before we get to that, listen to this…

I haven’t done a radio broadcast in a long time. However, there’s one broadcast that I will never forget! You see, I was invited to speak on a radio broadcast with a ministry colleague. At the time we were both spear-heading the women’s ministry at our separate churches and this broadcast was focused on our views and vision for women’s ministry. We were in the studio getting ready to tape a live broadcast. But what made this program so exciting is that we also had a live studio audience filled with a lot of women in ministry. However, this particular session was to include a specific church whose women’s ministry was coming to be a part of the audience. This particular women’s ministry we both knew quite well, since we’ve both fellowshipped numerous times with them.

We were so excited! It was the first radio broadcast for either of us and to have a live audience at the same time was crazy!

We were excited…they were excited…the audience was excited… 

HOWEVER, we waited, and we waited, and they never showed up! 

Consequently, we never got to do the program that we planned so diligently for months to do! No one had even called us to inform us of anything! Now, either they were pretty irresponsible, or maybe something major had happened! Then, we found out, that in fact, something major had happened. The man driving them to the studio had looked down for just a brief second and they plowed into the rear of a construction truck!  Thankfully no one was seriously injured, and they even came back another time to do a program.  

Now, to this day, I’m still grateful that no one was injured, but I could never figure out what was so important that the driver took his eyes off the road, knowing he had a van load of women to get to an event safely?  Well, I found that out a little later. Believe it or not, he had just entered into a new relationship, and it was her who had called him. His phone rang, he looked down and her face was on the phone. In his own words, “I got distracted when I saw her…”  However, that minor distraction caused him major damage!  

Women were not seriously hurt, but they were injured. They were supposed to be somewhere, and due to his distraction, they didn’t make it (which was a domino effect of disappointment for them, for us, for the audience, for the studio and staff etc…) Not to mention he lost his job, destroyed the church van, and the woman whose face was such a beautiful distraction, caused him an ugly break-up in the end!

Who knew just a brief look could distort and destroy vision and destiny?!

If you think about it, it really didn't take much to cause that crash – actually, it just took one moment to look away! Indeed, that's been the cause of many accidents, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Let us shift our focus to 2 Samuel 11:1.  I find this is one of the saddest chapters in the Bible, it reads: "Then it happened in the spring, AT THE TIME WHEN THE KINGS GO OUT TO BATTLE that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all [the fighting men of] Israel, and they destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbath.  BUT DAVID REMAINED IN JERUSALEM" (AMP) David's job was to be out there fighting God's battles right alongside the other fighting men. But instead he decided he would take a day off in more ways than one.

Not Being On His Assignment, Allowed an Attraction to Distract Him!

Beginning at verse 2 it reads: "One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof HE SAW A WOMAN bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, 'She is Bathsheba, THE WIFE OF URIAH,'" who, by the way, was ONE OF HIS TRUSTED MEN. "She came to him and he slept with her." 

The danger? “…HE SAW A WOMAN…”
The Next danger? “…THE WOMAN WAS VERY BEAUTIFUL…”
The Next danger? HE FOUND OUT WHO SHE WAS, KNEW SHE WAS OFF LIMITS, AND YET HE SLEPT WITH HER ANYHOW!
However, the initial danger that started it all was... “…HE SAW A WOMAN…”

Let’s read this again: “One night he couldn’t get to sleep and went for a stroll on the roof of the palace…” Well David, if you were where you were supposed to be in the first place you wouldn’t be in this predicament! The Bible says, "Then it happened in the spring, AT THE TIME WHEN THE KINGS GO OUT TO BATTLE...BUT DAVID REMAINED IN JERUSALEM" David, you couldn’t sleep because you weren’t supposed to be sleeping, you were supposed to be fighting! Temptation always rears its ugly head when you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing; and when you’re not in the place you should be! Don’t Let the Rooftop Ruin You! When you’re supposed to be on the Battleground, be there! Because oftentimes when you go out of position, you go out of line!

So, while David is inactive and out of place, “…HE LOOKED out over the city, HE NOTICED a woman of unusual beauty taking her evening bath…” I reiterate David, if you were on the battlefield, WHERE YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN, you would never have taken notice of the unusual beauty taking a bath! David was supposed to be NOTICING the ENEMY, not the ENTICEMENT to WILLFULLY SIN! Don’t Let Sin Catch You in the City When You Should Be Out in the Field!  

“…He sent to find out who she was and was told that she was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the WIFE OF URIAH…” The worse part about it all is that DAVID FOUND OUT WHO SHE WAS, AND WHOSE SHE WAS, AND STILL HE HAD TO HAVE HER! Not that it makes it any better if it were a stranger, but David, Uriah was one of your TRUSTED MEN. How do you allow your character to have such a tremendous flaw that the one you trusted, couldn’t trust you?! The one out fighting your battle has no idea that you’re watching his wife bathe! Instead of Doing What KINGS Do, David Was Doing What JOKERS DO! How do you stab in the back the very one who covers you from all sides? David had full control of what and who he saw, and what he deliberately decided to do with it. No excuse, no justification, no reasoning, no 'oops my bad’ etc…   

“…Then David sent for her and when she came he slept with her. (She had just completed the purification rites after menstruation.) Then she returned home.” (TLB) Yep, there’s a whole lot going on here. She’s coming off her menstrual, she takes a customary purification bath, the king sends for her, she goes, she has sex with him, and she goes back home. Well, isn’t that just an interesting night? Grant it when the king sent for you; especially as a woman in that time you went to him no questions, arguments, refusals or negotiations. They didn’t have the protection we have today as women. The saying goes, ‘when a woman says ‘no’, it is no.’ But unfortunately, that did not apply in Bathsheba’s day. Nor did they have the ability to make a lot of their own decisions. Many of the women then were seen as property and possessions not as a person. And I get all of that. But my focus isn’t on Bathsheba right now anyhow. It’s on David. All of his actions were his own, they were focused, calculated, manipulative, deliberate and entitled.

In a nutshell: There was a moral crash that night that David could never have foreseen and all the damages that would follow simply by not being where he should have been, and doing what he should have been doing. Take that as a warning for yourself too…selah…

Chapter 12, the prophet says to David, "You despised the Word of the Lord." In other words he got tempted and he stopped caring what God would think. The word “despise” is defined as “to feel contempt or repugnance for.” It’s Latin Origin “despicere” literally means “to look down.” The word ‘repugnance’ is defined as, ‘intense disgust.’ Its Origin means, ‘opposition’ from Latin, ‘repugnare’meaning ‘to oppose.’ And lastly, the word, ‘opposition’ is defined as, ‘disapprove of, resist, or be hostile to; to compete with or fight; contrasting or conflicting; opposite.’ Its Old French Origin, ‘opposer’, from Latin ‘opponere’ literally means ‘to set one’s heart and mind against.’ When David made his deliberate and willful decision to sin, he did so despising the Word of the Lord. Which means he looked down on God’s Word; he held it in intense disgust; he was in opposition to God’s Word; and he set his heart and mind against God’s Word!  

How is it possible that the man after God’s own heart, took his eyes off Him? Instead of looking up, he began to look down, and as soon as he did, he saw temptation. Have you ever been there? God-focused, and then in one glance, distort His vision for your life? I know I have, repetitively! In the wrong place, with the wrong person, doing the wrong thing, and in my FULL RIGHT MIND!

And the danger of that? Then the prophet says, "The sword will NEVER depart from your house." “Never” in its simplest definition means “not ever; not at all.” Oh, David's sin is forgiven, but the consequences will haunt him, and all those attached to him, for the rest of his life and legacy! Never under-estimate the lifetime damage one night can bring! Just ask the clinics who are treating varying STD’s; just visit many of the abortion clinics; talk with those trying to figure out what to do with this baby that wasn’t supposed to be conceived. It was just one night? Absolutely! But can you imagine all that can happen, in an instant, in just one night, with just one decision?! 

Eve wasn’t just conceived and carried to full-term for 9 months and then throughout the years grew up into the woman for Adam. Nope, Adam had need of her, and God reached in him and pulled her out full-grown just for him, in an instant! If He can do that, you do know that you can conceive a baby or contract a disease just as quickly! The question to ask is, is it really worth it? Selah...

Then the prophet says, "The Lord has taken away your sin, but by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt"(Ch.12:14). So, not only did David mess up his own life, and all those attached to him, but matters get even worse for him because now God's reputation has been smeared because of what one of His children did in one night of being inactive, and out of place! How many times have we seen that happen? One brief shift of focus, one night inactive, one night out of place, one look, and you make a damaging, deliberate decision that destroys you and everything and everyone attached! 

Despite what many may think, adultery doesn’t involve the married couple and whomever the outside offender may be. It actually involves all their families, their lives, their health, and even their relationship with God, we've just seen that with King David. Relishing in one night of pleasure is never worth the loss of Relationship with your significant other, your families, loved ones, and especially your God.

What caused this very costly moral crash? The same thing that caused the crash of that van in the opening story – ONE LOOK AWAY!  

Listen, it's time to look up, it's time to wake up, and it's time to quit flirting with that temptation. God said flee from it, not flirt with it! It's time to drop that person or the people who are pulling you away from your Savior. No more compromise, no more drifting, because it will cost you too much! Look up again at Jesus who suffered and died for the very sin you've been playing with. Come back to His love. Come back to His Lordship. It's so much better (and safer) there. 

If you look away much longer the crash is going to be inevitable and it's going to be costly!
Instead of being like David inactive, out of place and blinded by distorted vision, be as active as possible wherever God has planted you. Give your all to where you are supposed to be and on what you’re supposed to be doing. And don’t just hang out with “any” single folks, but hang out with those who are focused, not distracted, not lonely, not needy, not desperate, not depressed, not dysfunctional, not settling. Create your inner-circle with those who are determined to wait for God’s absolute best! No compromise, just conviction! 

Lastly, remember the opening story. All those women in that van had an agenda, had a goal, had an aim. They knew where they were going and what they were going to do once they got there. They were together and on one accord. The only danger was the person they had in control was easily distracted by what he saw! They could've ended up paying the price of his distraction with their very lives. Which means, be careful of who you let lead you! Make sure they see what you see. Make sure you are indeed valuable cargo to them, so they treat you with the protective care you deserve. You never want to be on the road to your assignment and have it aborted simply because one person took one look and loss control of it all! You have too much at stake to risk losing sight…even for just one night!

Blessings
J.P. Olson

Monday, February 11, 2019

Can You Serve Him When He’s In the Driver’s Seat & You Have No Idea Where He’s Going? Will You Still Remain Bonded When You Don’t Understand the Job Loss, the Diagnosis, the Divorce, the Foreclosure.

Romans 1:1, “From Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) called to be an apostle, (a special messenger) set apart to [preach] the Gospel (good news) of and from God” (AMP)

Can you imagine a slave not wanting to leave their master? But believe it or not, that was the case. There were some, however not many, slaves that actually refused to leave their master.

Now can you imagine if we (the church) had that kind of mindset? One that said “No matter what, I’m not leaving my master. I know I can legally go free, however, I Deliberately Choose To Remain Bonded to My Master For Life?”That’s what you call Beyond Loyalty!

Well, in case you didn't know, if you are a believer, you are a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is your Master! However, He treats us very different than any earthly master ever could. And yet, we still don’t submit to Him at this level. Still we’re not this loyal or this committed. That alone is a crime!

But If You Want To Change Today, Then I Admonish You To Pray This Simple Yet Powerful Prayer: “Lord I’m Not Serving You Because I Have To, But Because I Want To. Pierce me and mark me as Yours, bond me together with You so that I can never belong to another.” Lord I Choose You!

That actually reminds you a lot of Ruth’s words: “But Ruth said, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!” (Ruth 1:16-17 MSG). If only the Lord could get this kind of relationship with us!

Listen to a Simple Yet Profound Lesson I Learned the Hard Way: When ministry loses its passion it becomes an empty profession.

The very word “Minister” is a Verb, not just a Noun. It’s what you DO, not what you Claim to BE.
As the Lord’s Ministers (and no I am not referring to a robe and clergy collar, God has far more of those than I’m sure He ever called for, equipped or even wants), however, I’m referring to what we DO…Minister to the Needs of Others. We need to learn how to Function with such a passion for Him that it spills over onto all we do for Him. Truth is, anyone can wear the title of Minister (noun), but it’s only a select few who are actually carrying out the (verb) and Functioning as such!

And in order for you to Function as such there has to be a basic foundation that you are the Lord’s Servant, not because you have to be, but because you Want to be. And that Commitment, that Loyalty, that Love Compels you to Function as a Minister in this world of misery Effectively! It gives you that extra push that when people give you a hard way to go, you go the extra mile anyway because of your Loyalty, Commitment and Love to and for HIM! When HE becomes your Pursuit and Purpose nothing else really matters, not even the Personality of others! But the Responsibility of Attaining such a Relationship is on YOUR PART!

The Scripture says, the Servant would make the DECISION to Stay! And then the Servant would have to endure Unnecessary Pain: “…pierce his ear with an awl, a sign that he is a slave for life.”  
Mind you, we have a lot of wonderful vices to dull the pain when we get piercings today, however, that was not the case then! Piercing Was Painful! And yet, the bondservant would Willingly Endure it because staying with his master and having Evidence that he was his masters, and no one else was just that important!

Do you feel that way about the Master you serve? Is your Loyalty, Commitment and Love that Deep? Would you Endure Whatever Necessary to be Called His and to have Evidence that everyone would be able to See that you really are His…Alone? No one else could claim you, because you endured the pain to prove you already have a Master of your own, and you have no intentions on going anywhere else…even though you have the opportunity and free-will! Is your Relationship as a Servant that Knitted Together with your Master? Are You That Bonded?!

Before you answer "yes" too quickly let’s check out this word “Servant”. The word “Servant” also referred to a third-level galley slave chained to an oar on a Roman ship. Day and night you rowed to the drumbeat of the ship’s master, whether you were in battle or in merchant service. And you expected to die chained to that oar! What a picture!

So, do you love your Master like that? Are you willing to serve as a third-level galley slave in the bottom of the boat, in the dark, unseen, unnoticed, and yet working hard to obey every command of the Master? Are you willing to die for the Gospel or is it just a cute cliché you repeat because that makes your relationship with Him sound deeper than the shallow surface that it really is?!

The Bible Says: “When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don’t quit. Don’t cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you’ve run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.” (Matthew 10:21-23 MSG) Are you willing to endure pain for the Gospel’s sake? To be such a Servant as to have even loved ones’ turn on you, and yet you Remain Loyal to Your Master, With Your Hands Still Firmly Gripping the Oars?!

The Bible Says: “They are going to throw you to the wolves and kill you, everyone hating you because you carry my name. And then, going from bad to worse, it will be dog-eat-dog, everyone at each other’s throat, everyone hating each other.” (Matthew 24:9 MSG) Are You Willing to Endure This Level of Attack...Servant?!

The Bible Says: “I’ve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead. They are going to throw you out of the meeting places. There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he’s doing God a favor. They will do these things because they never really understood the Father. I’ve told you these things so that when the time comes and they start in on you, you’ll be well-warned and ready for them.” (John 16:1-4 MSG) Are You Willing To Stay Bonded To Your Master, Even If This Is The Consequences of Your Service?

The Bible Says: “Fear nothing in the things you’re about to suffer—but stay on guard! Fear nothing! The Devil is about to throw you in jail for a time of testing—ten days. It won’t last forever. “Don’t quit, even if it costs you your life. Stay there believing. I have a Life-Crown sized and ready for you.” (Revelation 2:10 MSG) So…Can You Minister, Even At This Level? A level in which it could cost you your life!

The Bible Says: “Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone Who Intends To Come With Me Has To Let Me Lead. You’re Not In The Driver’s Seat; I Am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” (Matthew 16:24-26 MSG) Can You Still Serve Him When You Don’t Even Understand Him? Can You Serve Him When He’s In the Driver’s Seat and You Have No Idea Where He’s Going? Will You Still Remain Bonded When You Don’t Understand the Job Loss, the Diagnosis, the Divorce, the Foreclosure? Will You Still Remain Stuck Like Glue? Or will you easily detach like Velcro?

The Bible Says: “When we heard that, we and everyone there that day begged Paul not to be stubborn and persist in going to Jerusalem. But Paul wouldn’t budge: “Why all this hysteria? Why do you insist on making a scene and making it even harder for me? You’re looking at this backward. The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience. Can’t you see that?” (Acts 21:12-13 MSG) Well, Can You Say That? Can You Say Whatever Is the Result of My Obedience to My Master It Is Still Well With My Soul?

The Bible Says: “When he ripped off the fifth seal, I saw the souls of those killed because they had held firm in their witness to the Word of God. They were gathered under the Altar, and cried out in loud prayers, “How long, Strong God, Holy and True? How long before you step in and avenge our murders?” Then each martyr was given a white robe and told to sit back and wait until the full number of martyrs was filled from among their servant companions and friends in the faith.” (Revelation 6:9-11 MSG) Can You Serve Even While Suffering And Yet…Still Remain On Your Post? This Was Paul’s Level of Loyalty, Commitment and Love As a Bond Servant to His Master…Does Your Levels Match Paul’s? If So, Celebrate, if Not, Decide Today To Deepen Your Service to Him!

And in conclusion to the whole matter, when you think of all that the Lord has done for you, is He really asking too much of you?

Today is the day that you make the willing and deliberate decision to be bonded as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, if you're not all in, what's the point? Jesus didn't just suffer, He died, for you, on your behalf! He gave His life, He gave His all, so what exactly is the message we're sending to Him, when we give Him parts and portions of ourselves to Him, and call it service?

“And he said to him, Well done, excellent BONDSERVANT! Because you have been faithful and trustworthy in a very little [thing], you shall have authority over ten cities” (Luke 19:17 AMP)

Becoming a BondServant is not by force, but by a deliberate, and willful choice to remain faithful to your Master, no matter what. And if you should dare to desire such a calling, are you in good company? Yes Sir, Yes Ma'am!


Blessings
J.P. Olson



Monday, February 4, 2019

Tell Yourself, All My Past Issues I’m Taking To The Tomb TODAY And I’m Burying It! Yes It Hurts, It’s Caused Me Pain, But TODAY I’m Burying It! It's Not Enough That It's Dead—You Have To Bury It!




"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creature; OLD things have passed away; behold, all things have become NEW." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Warning: Paying Attention to Your Past, Will Cost Your Present a Pretty Penny and Your Future a Fortune! Don’t Bankrupt The Blessing Before You!

Tell Yourself, All My Past Issues I’m Taking To The Tomb TODAY And I’m Burying It! Yes It Hurts, It’s Disappointing, It’s Caused Me Severe Suffering And Pain, But TODAY I’m Burying It! The actions were painful, the words were hurtful, the thoughts were discouraging, but I’m burying it TODAY! I refuse to let it hang around in the funeral home. TODAY, I’m packing it up and finding an available plot, and if not, I’m fed up enough to dig one myself! One way or another this thing is being buried TODAY! IT’S NOT ENOUGH THAT IT’S DEAD—YOU HAVE TO BURY IT!

Whatever You Do, Know That You Don’t Have To Stay This Way! You Don’t Have to Settle For This! You Don’t Have To Accept This! NO! Change Begins With You, And Your Change Begins Today! The Old You Will Not Enter The New Month or the New Day! Enough Is Enough!

You can’t afford to let your past infect your present or sabotage your future! That’s why certain things that refuse to be healed must be forsaken and forgotten! There are people praising God in Church every Sunday who lie awake in the privacy of their homes, digging up bones, picking at scars and reliving old memories. You need to accept that some issues will never be resolved, and if you let them, they’ll take up residence in your head and in your heart! [The what if's? The should have's? The maybe's?] These will all drive you nuts…if you let them!

Think about it: If you keep looking in the rear view mirror, you’re going to eventually crash into something ahead of you! And I would hate for that to be your blessing, your miracle, your breakthrough, your season or your way out! You don’t want to damage what’s before you, by daydreaming about what’s behind you! Sure, you have to utilize all the mirrors on your vehicle to some degree. But keep in mind, the main one is looking straight ahead out the windshield! Looking, anticipating, ready, expecting, and seeking for what yet lies ahead! SO…“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19 MSG). Adjust Your Focus On Your Future! The Vision For Your Future Will Always Look Distorted When You View It Through Eyes That Can Only See The Past!

Listen to what Tony Evans writes: "Every day you get out of the same OLD bed and go to the same OLD bathroom to look at the same OLD face in the same OLD mirror. You go to the same OLD closet to choose from the same OLD clothes, and then sit down at the same OLD breakfast table to eat the same OLD breakfast. Then you go to that same OLD garage and get into that same OLD car to head down that same OLD road to that same OLD job. There you work all day for that same OLD paycheck, next to those same OLD people, supervised by that same OLD manager.  Then you get back into that same OLD car and head back down that same OLD road to that same OLD house. Once you are home you sit down in that same OLD chair to watch that same OLD television. At the end of the day you go to that same OLD bed and sleep that same OLD way, so you can get up the next morning and start that same OLD routine all over again."     

AS OVERCOMERS, YOU ARE TO WALK IN NEW VICTORIES EVERYDAY! DAILY WAVING A FLAG OF VICTORY IN THE DEVIL’S FACE! With that said you have to ask, if "NEWNESS" is supposed to be so EVIDENT in the life of a believer, WHY ARE WE SO CRAZY-GLUED TO THE “OLD?" Far too many of us, are stuck in the same old routines.

 In case you didn’t know, THAT IS NOT THE MENTALITY OF AN OVERCOMER! OVERCOMERS ARE DAILY IN HIGH PURSUIT OF SOME NEW CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME! LISTEN, GOD DID NOT CREATE US, AND HE MOST CERTAINLY DIDN’T REDEEM US, TO LIVE A PURPOSELESS EXISTENCE! OVERCOMERS DON’T EXIST—THEY LIVE AND THEY LIVE NOT JUST ABUNDANTLY—BUT MORE ABUNDANTLY! For the Bible declares, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, AND THAT THEY MAY HAVE IT MORE ABUNDANTLY" (John 10:10) What Is Currently Around Us Is Not All There Is For Us! God Has An Awesome Customized Plan For Each Of Us! We Simply Need To Seek It, Find It, And Live It To The Fullest!                 

The Scripture says, "No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put NEW wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins are ruined. But they put NEW wine into NEW wineskins, and both are preserved." When something is PRESERVED it means it's,"KEPT, MAINTAINED, AND PROTECTED". And what’s being "KEPT, MAINTAINED, AND PROTECTED?" YOUR NEWNESS! UNDERSTAND THAT THE OLD CAUSES DAMAGE, IT TEARS, IT DESTROYS, IT PULLS AWAY, IT SEVERS, BUT THE NEW IS PRESERVED!  

IN A NUTSHELL: IT’S TIME TO BREAK-OUT OF THE OLD, AND BREAK-IN TO THE NEW!                 

Overcomers, Crush That Devil Under Your Foot On This Current Level, Then Lift It And Put It On The Next Level And The Next Devil And Attain Your Next New Victory!                 

Revelation 21:7, “He Who Overcomes Will Inherit These Things, and I Will Be His God and He Will Be My Son.” (NASB).                  

We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in NEWNESS of life.” (Romans 6:4 AMP)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.” So straighten yourself up and straighten yourself out! You Will Not Stay This Way!

I do thank God for the Apostle Paul though. Because he was honest enough to admit that he still struggled in certain areas. Unlike those with a Pharisee spirit who condemn others for doing the very things they do themselves, Paul confessed, “But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do badly, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.” (Romans 7:17-20 MSG).

Thanks Paul, from the rest of us who mistakenly thought that once we became Christians, there would be no more struggles! Thanks for helping some of us who thought that once we became Pastor, Elder, Teacher, Prophet, Evangelist, and Deacons, that the struggles would be over. That once we reached our 20 years saved, 15 years in ministry, 10 years healed and 5 years delivered, that the struggles would be over. Well, I’m here to serve notice on you: The Struggles Are Not Over! They continue! That’s why we were told to“Fight the good Fight of faith…” (1 Timothy 6:12). Not that we fought (past tense) the good fight. But this is a Current and Continual battle! YET, it’s one that doesn’t have to defeat us.

Albert Einstein said it best: “Nothing Happens Until Something Moves” And That Something Is YOU! Get To Moving Out of the Old and Into the New…TODAY!


Blessings
J.P. Olson