Gossip, do you or don’t you?

Gossip is one of those things that creeps in like the coolness of a spring evening. You barely notice it until you are freezing and need to find extra layers to warm back up. Gossip is in the details, gossip can be found in our opinions as well. We find gossip mentioned throughout scripture, in both the Old Testament and the New. In Exodus, Moses is talking to the Israelites when he says; “You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand.” Exodus 23:1 NLT. From the very beginning of time, gossip has been a stumbling block for humanity.

It’s the Law

In Leviticus we find God giving Moses the instructions and expectations that the Israelites need to follow. These expectations that God set forth at Mt Sinai were the guardrails to keep the Israelites on path with God. Now I know what you are thinking, but didn’t Jesus die on the cross to do away with the “old law”? He died on the cross so we can have eternal life in heaven, not take away the guardrails that guide us to a life that glorifies God. We could never live up to the “old law”, so Christ made a way for us to be forgiven. We just have to choose to follow Him instead of the world! So how does gossip fit into this, Leviticus 19:16 NLT says, “Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people. Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. I am the Lord.”

Expectations

God’s expectations that are laid out in the old testament for the Israelite people still hold value to us today. We have to understand that Christ didn’t take away the expectations, just the punishment. So as we study and work toward a life that glorifies God, we have to know what is expected. We have to choose to do what God sees as right.
If we spend more time talking about the details or the circumstances of a prayer request than we do actually praying about it, than we are gossiping!
We can’t get wrapped up in the details of prayer request, we have to get wrapped up in prayer. If we think we are gossiping, we need to step back and evaluate why we are talking about details, or why are we asking about details? God knows the situation, so why do we need to know? Now there are times when leadership needs to know some details so that future situations don’t produce conflict or sin, but most of the time prayer requests should be prayed about, not talked about.

Seeing is believing

Matthew 5: 16 NLT, Jesus says “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Our Jesus is talking about letting His light shine through us. By letting God’s expectations guide our lives we are letting His light shine through us, when we gossip, we are hiding that light. I love the comparison of our faith to light, you don’t hear light coming. You see it! Our faith is not proven by what we say, it is proven by what we do. 1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” Knowing the expectations that God has for us, allows us to choose wisely. God is not going to force us to act a certain way, but He does expect us to follow His guidance. So hit the ground running and put gossiping behind you! Let your faith be filled with action and not just words, and Always Do Good for God!

Pastor Rick


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Do you have a Babylon?

 
In the book of Isaiah, chapter 43, we find a passage of scripture that is entitled “The Lord’s Promise of Victory”.  This “title” is in the New Living Translation (NLT), but it draws us in with the words Promise and Victory.  How many of us want a promise of victory?  I mean if it is a guarantee than count me in!  God is talking to the Israelites as they are held captive by the Babylonians.  He is reminding them of the victory he gave them when they left Egypt. 
Let’s read Isaiah 43:14-21

The Lord’s Promise of Victory

14 This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

“For your sakes I will send an army against Babylon,
    forcing the Babyloniansb] to flee in those ships they are so proud of.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
    Israel’s Creator and King.
16 I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters,
    making a dry path through the sea.
17 I called forth the mighty army of Egypt
    with all its chariots and horses.
I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned,
    their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.

18 “But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19 For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
20 The wild animals in the fields will thank me,
the jackals and owls, too,
for giving them water in the desert.
Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland
so my chosen people can be refreshed.
21 I have made Israel for myself,
and they will someday honor me before the whole world.

 Are we ready and willing to leave our Babylon?

So many of us have escaped our Egypt, the life that had us enslaved for so long, the life that caused us so much pain and misery.  We followed God for a while and we know how good it can be when we follow His plan, but we still have things that hold us back.  There is a Babylon in our life that has risen up and taken the place of God.  We have to be willing to let go of this Babylon and return to God.  Being willing is different than being ready.  When I think of being ready, I think of a physical preparedness.  You are “ready” to go on a trip when your bags are packed, but you may not be “willing” to leave on that trip.  On the flip side, being “willing”, to me, is more a mental preparedness.  You have made the decision to move forward and you are “willing” to do what is needed to accomplish the move.  When we are “willing” we don’t always know what will be expected, but we have made the decision that it will be worth it.  Whether your “Babylon” is addiction, doubt, anxiety, what ever; you have to be willing to turn to God and be ready for what He is going to do.  Notice in verse 14 it says, “For your sakes I will send…”.  God will send an army to defeat our Babylon, and the best part is we don’t have to do anything.  We just have to be willing to follow God.  So pack your bags because God has a ticket to paradise with your name on it!  Be ready, and be willing to Always Do Good for God,
Pastor Rick

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Snowed In?!

Snowed In?!
     What crosses your mind when we look outside and see all of this white stuff on the ground?  Do you think about driving?  Do you think about sledding?  Do you think about summer?  What is your first thought when you see the weather report and they say a storm is coming?  Do you prepare?  Do you start making plans to get through it?  When I was younger, I was a member of the Boy Scouts.  The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared”.  That was always something that my family did, we would plan for the worst and hope for the best.  While that may sound like good advice, it doesn’t really work well in your walk of Faith.  You can’t “plan” to be tempted; you can’t “plan” for tribulation.  You might think you are prepared for whatever comes your way, but are you really?  You never know how you will react to a situation until you are in that situation.  God on the other hand, He sees how you are going to react and how the situation ends before we even see it begin.  His plan is what gets us prepared!  Jeremiah 29-11,   
     “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
 

The best way for us to “prepare” is to follow.  Let’s break this down a little.

“For I know the plans I have for you.”

God has planned a path for us.  He knows what He wants us to do, but we have a choice.  Our choice to follow Him will determine if we are walking in His plan for us.  When the Lord says “…for you” at the end of that line, it is an invitation to join Him.  It isn’t an order to follow or a command.  You have a choice; God is just letting you know He has a plan if you want to follow it.

“They are plans for good and not for disaster,”

God does not want to harm you; He doesn’t sit on the throne in heaven and think of ways to punish us.  He wants us to succeed, and we can count on it to be good!  The kind of good that will glorify God!

“to give you a future and a hope.”

Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.  When we choose to accept the future that God has for us, it allows us to feel that feeling of expectation for the good that God has for us.  Remember God has good things for us, so lets always do good for God!

Pastor Rick


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Doubting Thomas

We read about the disciple Thomas in Gospel of John chapter 20.  After Christ was crucified the disciples didn’t know what to do next.  They had their life turned upside down in a matter of days.  The only thing they did was believe in Christ and follow Him, and here they found themselves enemies of the church.  They found themselves alienated by the people.  So we find the disciples locked away in a second story room in Jerusalem.  In Mark we read they were getting ready to eat, in Luke they were talking to the followers who encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus, in John they are hiding because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.  They had locked the door for protection, yet Christ came in and stood among them.  “May Peace be with you”, is what Christ said when He was with them.  They were scared for their lives and Christ is talking about being at Peace.  Now, Thomas was not with them when Christ first visited the disciples.  When told about it, Thomas didn’t believe it.  We read in John 20:25,

They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands,

put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

He had to see it, had to touch it.  It wasn’t good enough to be told, he had to experience it.  How many of us know someone who is the same.  They have to see it with their own eyes.  Talking about it just isn’t good enough for them.  They are skeptical of what others have experienced until they experience it themselves.  So how do we help those skeptics experience God?  Well for Thomas, he wanted to touch the wounds.  See the wounds that allowed Thomas to identify Christ, we painful for Christ.  The scars proved who Christ was to the disciples because they saw Christ receive those wounds when the nails were driven through his wrists and His side was split open.  We cant dismiss our past scars, we have to be able to heal them with Christ.  When people see us get hurt they watch our reactions, they watch how we handle the situations of life.  When we are willing to share our scars and let people “put their fingers” in our wounds, we can help them experience Christ.  The same way Christ’s scars proved who He was to His disciples, our scars can help prove that we are children of God.  But we have to be willing to let people see our wounds.  Now that doesn’t mean we bear all to complete strangers, but we have to be able to answer questions about who we were before Christ, how we met Christ, and who we are with Christ.  Give it some thought, continue to study God’s word and remember, Always Do Good for God.

Rick


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Trust in The Lord

It’s simple. It’s short. Yet it’s incredibly powerful. Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible–with good reason. It sets forth a life-changing truth that is worthy of our attention. Spend three minutes reading this article, and see if you agree.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Trust in the Lord.

It starts with trust. Any real relationship has to start with some level of trust. It’s the only way a friendship will endure. It’s the only way a marriage will work out. It’s the simple reason why an employer hires workers, or why the workers stay employed. It’s all about trust. Trust in the Lord, however, takes on an entirely new dimension. This is our trust in an eternal, all-powerful, all-wise, all-loving God. He is worthy of our trust. The trust is important, not just because of who God is, but because of the way in which we must trust him: with all your heart. It involves every fiber of your being. That’s the kind of trust we can have in God–a complete, unshakable, deep, abiding trust.

 

Read part 2, Don’t Lean On Your Understanding


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Do Not Lean on Your Own Understanding

Read part 1 first, Trust In The Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

 

Don’t Lean on Your Understanding

The verse involves a positive–something you must do. But it also involves a negative–something you must not do. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Basically, the verse is telling us that we ought not to be self-reliant. We cannot pursue a course of action, a financial decision, a business move, a relationship, or an educational choice, simply based on our own understanding. It must be founded in our trust in God.

Self-reliance is such a deceptive trap. We begin to pride ourselves in something–our savvy, our looks, our intellect, our spirituality, our family, whatever. And when we do, it takes away our trust in the Lord. It has become trust in self. The result is a dangerous compromise that will lead to destruction.


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