Spiritual Stragglers

Far too many of us Christians struggle with spiritual amnesia—walking around with a constant bump on our forehead, forgetting just how sly the devil moves and operates.

“Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God.” (Deuteronomy 25:17–18, NKJV)

Amalek here is a type of the enemy. In fact, the root meaning of “Amalek” means: To work, toil endlessly. To “Straggle” means just about the exact opposite: To dawdle, walk slowly, lollygag. So, while the enemy is staying awake at night, scheming how he can destroy a life, a family, a church, a nation—Mr. Christian is at the end of the line, in last place, oblivious to the fact that the devil has his sniper scope all dialed-in to pick you off when you least expect it!

Also, notice the timing of the enemy’s attacks: “…when you were tired and weary.” It’s not to say the he can’t, or doesn’t attack believers when they’re on-fire for God, but (being the sly devil that he is), he knows that spiritual stragglers are easy pickings, and he (in a sense) get’s more bang for his buck. Always remember that the devil is your enemy. Never hope that he’ll have mercy on. The Bible says of Amalek, “…he did not fear God.” The reason I say this, is because many Christians have the idea, “Well, I don’t want get too serious about my walk with Christ. I’ll just go to church, not be too bad, that way the devil won’t bother me.” Watch out. With that type of thinking, you might actually be a spiritual straggler, at the end of the line. Everyday you find yourself getting more tired, more weary; and the devil is watching you with a smile on his face—just waiting for perfect the right time to pull the trigger and take you out.

Romans 12:11 says, “…not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” The King James says, “Not slothful in business.” Hebrews 10:38… “Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

We can’t afford to lag behind!
We can’t afford to be slothful!
We can’t afford to draw back!
We can’t afford to take spiritual vacations!
Now is the time to AWAKE!

“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Romans 13:11–14, NKJV)

Playing it Safe?

If God promises you something big, never settle for less.

“And Moses said to the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben: “Shall your brethren go to war while you sit here?” (Numbers 32:6, NKJV)

This verse, literally jumped out at me this week. The significance of the original language, in this text, is absolutely eye-opening. The tribe of Ruben (which means, “to see” ), and Gad (which means, “a fortune” ), these two tribes saw the incredible land that they wanted to be theirs. The only problem is that it was on the wrong side of the Jordan. The whole deliverance from Egypt was for the purpose of getting them across the Jordan River, and into their very own “Promised Land”. But these two tribes were content to stay right where they were at. What did they see? Num. 32:1 says they saw the land of Jazer (which means, “help & protection” ), and Gilead, (which means: “to be exposed” and “arguments” ). Here’s the thing: Sometimes what looks good on the surface, ends up leaving you exposed, and causes a lot of arguments, shouting matches, and family feuds. When we begin playing it safe, it ends up biting us in the end! Matthew Henry says it like this: “They consulted their own private convenience more than the public good.”

Stop sitting around twiddling your thumbs

To sum it up, let me share this: If God promises you something big, never settle for less. If He’s spoken to you about being a Pastor, don’t lower yourself by taking a management position just because the job looks good, and you know that you’ll be able to afford a house & car payment. If He’s spoken to you to start a business, why are you settling in the land that looks safe, and that you’re protected? You know you’re not happy. You’re arguing with your spouse, your spiritual-walk is constantly being attacked. Why? Because you’re not strapping on your boots and dealing with the issues at hand. Get in there and possess your land! Stop sitting around twiddling your thumbs, while others are excited to be in the promised land. Go get yours!

You Can’t Tie a Man Who’s Already Bound

Who is this “Paul” anyway? Sound a little strange? bound

DBR – Daily Bible reading: Acts 19-21

S. SCRIPTURE
The Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” [Acts 21:13 13 NKJV]

O. OBSERVATION
Paul had been beaten, jailed, and ran out of town by those who didn’t want any part of his message. The Christians at Caesarea tried to keep him from going to Jerusalem. In verse 4 it says, “They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem.” So who’s right? I believe that was a test to see just how committed Paul really was. How could Paul be so ready to be bound and to die (vs. 13)? A nugget is hidden away here.

1.Paul Purposed in the Spirit. [Acts 19:21]

2.Paul Goes Bound in the Spirit. [Acts 20:22]

First Paul “purposes”, (or makes a decision); then he experiences the momentum of that decision. This is what catapulted him into a whole new way of thinking and living. He was literally consumed, and driven by the Holy Spirit. Paul wasn’t the kind of Christian that needed to be prodded. He had been prodded once before, and that was enough for him.

A. APPLICATION
As strange as it seems – the Holy Spirit can direct another Christian to be a roadblock on your path in the race you’re running. Am I going to “stick to my guns”, or am I going to go the way of the coward and say,
“Yeah, well it did kinda seem like a crazy idea…” I need to ask myself this morning… “What decision is the Holy Spirit calling me to make?” Do I realize that this morning could be the turning point in my life which catapults me into such a radical commitment to Christ ? Because I’m a bond-servant of the Lord Jesus Christ – bound by His Spirit – I won’tl be affected by anyone that tries to bind me in the flesh.

P. PRAYER
“Father, it’s my prayer this morning that You would open my eyes to the decision, to the commitment, that You are calling me to make today. I long to be in that place of total surrender where nothing ruffles my feathers, and where all I see is souls, and the finsihed line of my faith. I’ll gladly be bound in the Spirit today! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

“Buyer’s Remorse?”

This Devotional takes about half-hour to do. It works individually or in a small group setting. What are we waiting for? Let’s get it started in here!!

Open-up your Bible to: Luke 10:38-42

“But Martha was distracted…” — Luke 10:40a

One of the most incredible privileges that we’ve all received from God is the ability to choose. Have you ever walked into a department store looking for just the perfect outfit? [Us, guys might just pick out a shirt, but definitely not an “outfit”.] But have you ever experienced something that’s called, “Buyers Remorse”? Buyers Remorse is when you spend so much time deciding what to buy, but once you brought it home you realized that it’s not really what you wanted, and you feel miserable. Believe it or not – it’s the same way in the spiritual realm. Many times we find ourselves going through this same exact experience when we choose the wrong thing. Ever been there? I know I have.

:: Pastor Robb’s Thought-Provoking Questions ::

1. Have you ever experienced “Buyers Remorse”? If so, what did you buy?

2. Pastor Ray Berryhill said, “Busy is not better, choosing better is better.” Why is being busy sometimes not such a good thing?

3. What are some of the patterns of busyness that sometimes we find ourselves in?

4.Practically speaking – What are some of the things you do to refuel, relax, and get re-energized?

How Do You See Yourself?

Tonite it seemed like I heard the Holy Spirit say, “If you would see yourself according to the Word of God, you would never be the same.” I thought how that so often I merely see myself according to the flesh. I mean really, we look at ourselves everyday in the mirror several times a day. There’s no escaping… you! But in the Word of God there is a completely different picture that is told of the believer. They’re forgiven, new, empowered, endowed with gifts, etc. We’re really different people according to the Word of God, and yet we live in a state of ignorance most of the time. One of my missionary heroes, David Hogan said in one of his messages,

“Do you realize who I am? I am a conduit of power to the people God sent me to!”

How do you see yourself? Has it helped you, or hindered you? It’s time for you to rise above the funk, and starting taking control of your emotions, and begin living the life that God gave you!

Underground Waters

In a day and age where fashion is more important that passion, and looks than books, there’s a call of the Spirit going out today for us to cultivate our inner-life. The Apostle Paul declared, “…though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” [2 Cor 4:16 NKJV]. Could you say that’s true about you? Sure, we’re all getting older, but can you honestly say you’re being renewed every single day? Is your inner life growing? Most of us would be hesitant to answer. But take a quick look at an obscure passage of Scripture that is loaded with truth that will transform your inner-man.

The waters made it grow; Underground waters gave it height, With their rivers running around the place where it was planted, And sent out rivulets to all the trees of the field. [Ezek 31:4 NKJV]

1. THE WATERS MADE IT GROW.
The Holy Spirit and the Word of God are the key ingredients to growing the inner-man. This is basic Christianity 101, where you come to Church, hear the Word taught, and sense the presence of God.

2. THE UNDERGROUND WATERS GAVE IT HEIGHT.
This is that Christian who’s not merely content just to go to Church once or twice a week, but has cultivated a daily one-on-one relationship that’s growing. This Disciple has a secret, personal, and private devotional-life and has the ability to tap-in and quench his/her thirst at anytime. Where is it? It’s “underground”. No one sees you seeking God, but you are, and you’re growing as a result it!

3. WITH THEIR RIVERS RUNNING AROUND THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS PLANTED.
We must bloom where we’re planted. A real river must “run”! It’s always moving, gushing, and touching the dry banks, and enabling them to be transformed. My personal “tree”, of who I am in the Spirit, must be watered – first and foremost by (not the Pastor, but by) me. “Underground waters” provide personal, spiritual nourishment in the place where I’ve been planted.

4. AND SENT OUT RIVULETS TO ALL THE TREES OF THE FIELD.
These underground waters are “running”. There’s no stagnation here. A growing believer is also one is takes their “underground relationship” with Jesus into the Church and serves the Lord. I’m amazed these days just how many Christians are simply attending Church, but are not building the Church with what God has equipped them with. Come on, and let your river run into that children’s ministry, that youth ministry, that worship team! “Let the river flow!”

Do you want to be great in the Kingdom of God? Do you truly want to do great things for God? Remember this: People can only “look up to you” as they see the height of your underground time with God.

The Sick Jesus [poem]

The Sick Jesus

My Jesus, why are you sick?
“You’re doing well,
But have doused thy wick.”

But Lord, why is your stomach so upset?
I mean Lord, there’s nothing I regret

Sick, Lord? Maybe it’s something you ate
The cookies at our Church are really great!

The praises, the prayers
What could be wrong?
“My son, the song in your heart
has not yet been sung…

Some think I’m demanding
Waiting with a stick
But shallowness to My love
Is what makes me sick”

Sing your song
And run in the race
Declare it the world
Right to its face!

[ by: Robb Gorringe ]