Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sitting At The Master's Feet

What is the most important position we can hold in life?

I know many people might have various responses to what appears to be a “loaded” question. But the question really is a valid one. As followers of Christ, the most important position is also the most privileged.

Most of us are very familiar with the Bible’s account of Martha and Mary. However, in our quest for “deeper revelation,” we may often miss some essential truths. The story is found in Luke 10:38-41. I will not quote the entire passage here, but simply cite a few powerful points.

Martha and Mary were sisters of Lazarus and apparently Jesus’ good friends as well. This is the same Lazarus whom Christ called from the tomb. As Jesus came to visit their home in Bethany, Martha welcomed and invited Him to come inside (v. 38). It is very evident that this woman had a strong gift of serving and hospitality. This is an important truth to keep in mind.

Mary was found sitting at the feet of Jesus where she “heard His word.” Let me also point out the following: this is the same Mary who anointed His feet and wiped them with her hair (John 11:2). Additionally, when Christ came to raise Lazarus from the dead, this same Mary fell at His feet as He was approaching. It appears that being at the Master’s feet was a posture Mary found to be natural and essential. In Luke’s account, Mary seemed to hang onto every word that Jesus spoke. She heard with understanding because she paid close attention.

On the other hand, Martha is distracted with the many cares and burdens of her work. She even grows resentful because her sister is not helping! She went so far as to request that the Lord speak to Mary and tell her to do something.

How does Jesus respond? He corrects Martha for allowing herself to get so caught up in her gift, so troubled with burdens, and so worried about things over which she had no control. How often do we become distracted? Burdened? Worried?

Jesus said this, “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part . . .”

When we fail to spend time at the Master’s feet, listen to His words, and give attention to His directions, we can become resentful. In reality, when we refuse to come to the Lord, we are saying, “Lord I’ve got this. I don’t really need You right now, but it’s good to know that You will still be there if and when I do.”

Let’s keep in mind, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” If we will draw near to God, He will draw near to us.

We can often open the door to confusion and every evil work by giving place to the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things. This includes “ministry” and things that appear good.

Jesus said “ONE THING” is needed and that “one thing” is spending time at the Master’s feet.

Grace & Peace,

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Message From The Heart

This may seem like a difficult or hard message to receive. In fact, it may be one of those that is intended only for those who have “ears to hear,” as I am quite sure many will not want to receive it. 

Over the past thirty years, the Lord has allowed me to witness and be involved in a variety of spiritual “movements” that included everything from tent revivals to the prophetic and on to the apostolic waves of more recent times. With that being stated, it is time to voice some challenges and concerns. This is not intended to be negative, as I am a man of faith.

One of the great concerns involves the American church’s need, or hunger, for sensationalism. By this, I mean that it seems many spiritual leaders are seeking the next big thing. All the while there is a desperate lack of unction or anointing. People have a difficult time discerning the difference between drama and dynamics. It seems a bit appalling to see churches using spectacular light shows and smoke machines in an attempt to reproduce the presence of God’s glory. Some people have a hard time telling the difference between a counterfeit and the real thing. Many preachers have quite simply become motivational speakers. A good number of worship leaders are mere stage entertainers, and prophets are too moved by profits!

I miss the likes of David Wilkerson. I can certainly state that I did not always agree with him, but I have always respected him for passionately proclaiming the message that burned in his bones. Where are the true prophets of today? We need the voice of one “crying in the wilderness.” I fear that if we heard such a voice as that of John the Baptist, the church may well want his head on a platter! We need modern-day prophets like Isaiah and Elijah. Today, we have many that call themselves prophets, and they really seem to be “life coaches” that are skilled in psychology and motivating folks through positive mind control. I would categorize some of these as “pop-culture prophets.” I use this term because of the influence they have on a society that follows the latest fads.

Here is a recent quote that was published by a very popular pop-culture prophet:

“Don’t listen to negative prophetic words and reports. God is still in charge and releasing something new for you.”   

Now, speaking as a “word of faith” preacher/teacher, I understand the power of confession. Additionally, it is quite clear that “God is in charge.” However, one has to wonder about the first statement. What if God were commanding repentance and turning from sin? There are many instances in Scripture where God’s prophet spoke some very negative words. What was the result? They were usually put to death.

The Body of Christ has a sin problem! Yet, all we want to hear are pleasant sayings.

I am reminded of an Old Testament account found in 1 Kings 22. Here we see the king of Israel detesting the prophet of God. Verse 8 sums up how the king felt:  
1 Kings 22:18  “… I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.”

1 Kings 22:13   Then the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, “Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Please, let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement.”

1 Kings 22:14   And Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, whatever the LORD says to me, that I will speak.”

I understand that, according to 1 Corinthians 14:3, he that prophesies “speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” 

This does not mean that the purpose of a true prophet is to make folks feel comfortable with sin or other forms of spiritual neglect. I recall a time when believers felt a bit “uncomfortable” when in the company of a true prophet of God. It was as though that individual could see into the hidden part of our lives; we may have feared what they saw! Today, we have a very different disposition. Many can’t wait to hear something that tickles the ear but rarely changes the life. We see no reason to fear a holy God; it seems as there is no cause for repentance. After all, “God is love.” He is love and that is exactly why He calls us to turn and follow Him, His ways, His will, and His Word.

Without true repentance and humility before a holy God, man will move down a path of confusion and despair. The Lord calls us to repent. This is not from a posture of mere judgment. Rather, He loves us so much that He provides the avenue of mercy that can only be experienced through true repentance. 

America continues to stand on the edge of a very steep cliff. I refuse to believe and accept that God has turned His back on a nation that He founded for an incredible purpose. However, if His people (the church) refuse to heed His Word and do what He commands, there will be very serious repercussions. 

It is incumbent upon those who are called by His name to turn from idolatry and the lusts of the flesh. It is time to return to the God of Salvation. May we stop being conformed to the world and truly be transformed through the process of renewing our minds which Apostle Paul wrote about. 

May we cease seeking to be entertained and endeavor to be enlightened; may we deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Grace & Peace,


Monday, May 13, 2013

The Triumphant Church, Part 8

Now let’s briefly discuss the issue of spiritual authority. Scripture serves to remind us that Jesus Christ has been granted “all authority in heaven and earth.” In turn, He has seen fit to delegate this authority to believers. However, it would benefit the world, the church, and individuals to keep in mind that true authority begins in our own lives. Christians who lack spiritual discipline are unable to walk in true biblical authority.
How in the world are we going to exercise authority over the whole earth when we don’t even know how to do it in our own homes? I remember years ago there was a young couple that came to see us for counseling. They were relaying how God had called them into ministry and how they were going to cast out devils and destroy the powers of darkness. At the same time, their young child was running around, tearing stuff up, and acting very disobedient and obnoxious. I said, “Now, let me get this straight. You all think that you’re going to go take dominion over the powers of darkness, and you don’t even exercise authority over a two-year old? The first thing you need to do is to go home and take some authority over your own house."
Are we really qualified to represent God’s government when we desperately lack self-governance? Make no mistake about it; you are here to exercise power over the devil.  You have a very real enemy, and his name is Satan. He roams about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, and we are to remain on guard and resist him! Peter said, “Who resists steadfast in the faith.” If you don’t resist him, he’ll just have his way with you. He’ll have his way with your stuff, your family, your money, your health, and your peace of mind. Your life will be a wreck.
Many come to church on Sundays and say, “Oh, yes, I love Jesus.” Yet, Jesus said, “Why do you say that you love me, but you don’t do what I told you to do?”  It's the same way in some relationships! “Why do you say you love me, but then you go out and mess around?” “Why do you say you love me, but you’re not committed to me?” Jesus said, "If you love Me, you’ll do what I say." That’s a hard word, and sometimes we don’t want to hear it. “Oh, I love You, Jesus; I love You, Jesus.” He says, “Good! I want you to . . ." And then you say, “I can’t do that, Jesus.” He says, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’?” We have to get our thinking straight!
The Church is called to rule and reign with Christ; this must begin in our own lives and homes. If we are not able to rule our own lives, how will we be qualified to rule the earth?

Grace and peace,
Pastor Emory

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Triumphant Church, Part 7

Romans 8:31, 32: "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” How many things are “all things”? ALL! I’ve studied this word for nearly thirty years, and I’ve used various lexicons, dictionaries, and concordances. As nearly as I can tell, the word “all” still means all!
Do we understand that God makes everything He has available to us? Do you believe that? All things! Paul repeats that phrase: “God has given to you all things.” He’s given you His kingdom. He’s given you the mind of Christ. Paul said, For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
What does that mean to have the mind of Christ? Well, do you believe that Christ is God? Then don’t tell me that you can’t get God’s thoughts. If you have the mind of Christ, you are capable of doing it if you will seek Him. This can only be found in His Word and in His presence. You’re not going to get God’s thoughts by being bent on doing things your own way.
Look at Romans 8:33: “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?” Who are God's elect? We are! It is God who justifies. It is Christ who died, rose, and is seated at the right hand of God. It is He who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? Distress? Persecution? Famine? Nakedness? Peril? Sword? Paul says, "It is written that for your sake we are killed all day long and counted as sheep for the slaughter," and then he goes on to say "that in all of these things we are more than conquerors."
We’re not just conquerors, we are more than conquerors. The Greek word is “upernikaw” (pronounced hoop-er-nik-ah'-o), which means to utterly vanquish, to go beyond conquering. It’s slam-dunk, then rub it in your opponent’s face. It’s beyond conquering. God has called you and I to utterly vanquish the works of darkness on the earth, and it begins in our own lives!

Peace and grace,
Pastor Emory