Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Costs of Compromise


According to the simple calculation of years provided in the book of Genesis, it is both easy and very interesting to study the overlapping life spans of the patriarchs of the Bible.

Reading through the genealogies, which many people think to be the most boring passages in the Bible, we find so much information which would otherwise be overlooked. Once recognized, it no longer seems incredible that the stories of the Bible were preserved in accurate form through the years, as stories which were told over and over again, generation after generation, by the person who actually lived that experience.

Take for instance the story of creation. Adam and Eve were created by the hand of God in the year zero.

Genesis 5:1-4 tells us that Adam was 130 years old when he had a son named Seth and then lived for an additional 800 years and died at the age of 930 years old.

If we continue studying, making simple calculations provided by the scripture, we conclude that the flood of Noah’s day occurred 1656 years after Adam was created. The Bible tells us that at the point of the flood Noah was 600 years old and he lived another 350 years after the flood and died at the age of 950.

Let’s develop this for just a moment as a parenthetical thought for the day.

· Noah lived for 350 years after the flood.
· Shem, Noah’s son, lived for 500 years after the flood.
· Abraham was born 292 years after the flood.
· Isaac was born 392 years after the flood.

· Jacob was born 452 years after the flood

When Jacob was born, Shem, Noah’s middle son who was on the boat with all the animals, was still alive. Jacob was 48 when Shem, who was the last eyewitness to the flood, finally stopped telling his first-hand accounts and died.

I don’t know about you, but to me this adds perspective to the real accounts of these real people who were facing real situations and making life’s daily decisions.

Ok, now back to the story for this morning … The cost of compromise.

Genesis 11 KJV
26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

27 ¶ Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.
28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.
29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.
30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.

Genesis 12 KJV
1 ¶ Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
4 ¶ So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

It would be very easy to overlook the possibility that God may have first called Terah to go to the land of Canaan, before He called Abraham to do so. Now, no doubt God was speaking to everyone in the group on some level, even Acts 7 tells us that God appeared to Abraham before he and his father, Terah, decided to stop in Haran. But, while Abram was in Haran, God spoke directly to him apart from his father and told him to separate from his family and continue the journey for himself.

The Young’s Literal Translation of verse one of chapter twelve says:

And Jehovah saith unto Abram, “Go for thyself, from thy land, and from thy kindred, and from the house of thy father, unto the land which I do show thee.”

It seems to the reader at a first glance that Terah died in Haran at age 205 then, after that he died, (Genesis 11:32 & 12:1), is when God called Abraham to go to Canaan for himself. However, that is not the case.

Genesis 11
26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.

Genesis 12

4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

... in fact he lived another 60 years after Abram left Haran and went into the land of Canaan.

Terah was still very much alive in Genesis 12:1. Terah did not die until Abraham was 135 years old at which time Isaac was 35 years old. This was about the same time or just after the time in which Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice to God on Mount Moriah - Right about the same period of time in which Sarah died.

Just to keep things in perspective --- or to confuse you a bit more and make you have to go and study this for yourself --- When Isaac was 35 years old, Abraham was 135 years old; Terah, Abraham’s father was 205 years old and in the last year of his life; as well, Shem, the guy on the boat with all the animals, great, great, great granddaddy to the Jewish people, still had another 70+ years to live and give his personal testimonies.

Now consider the scriptures we have read this morning as I tell you the truth about the opportunities God gives a person and the potential costs of compromise.

It is reasonable to assume from scriptures that God inspired Terah to leave his family’s home and go to the land of Canaan right around the time that Noah died, (2006 years after the creation of Adam). You see, God promised and purposed to offer a covenant to one of Noah’s descendants through the lineage of Shem who is the father of the Israelites. This would be the family through which God would one day bring Messiah.

Terah uprooted his family and took his son Abram, and his grandson, Lot, and headed for the Land of Canaan. This would be a journey of almost 1000 miles along the route they chose. They walked northwards, no doubt joining the Euphrates River and continued following its valley through what is now Baghdad and on across the current border into Syria to an area later known as Haran.

Haran sat on the banks of the Euphrates river in a fertile region of Mesopotamia in what is now extreme southwestern Syria, over 350 miles east of the Land of Canaan. Its beauty and comforts of life held much to be desired to any sojourner of that day. No wonder Terah, whose name many associate with the word, “Delay”, remained in this place.

However, God would not be satisfied until one of Noah’s descendants made it all the way to the Promised Land and established the covenant. This confirms a principle we see in many stories of the Bible which says:

When one person goes as far as they can with God, God will raise up another person to go farther.

When one person has done all they can do or will do to enhance and advance the Kingdom of God … God will raise up another person to go farther and do more.

You may not be the first person God chose, called or equipped to do what He has chosen you to do … but you can be the one who does it.

Don’t stop short of the promise land to live in the land of comfort or compromise.

Genesis 12:1 infers that once Terah stopped, God spoke directly to Abram and told him to go for himself, from the land, from his kinfolks, and from his father’s house, into the land of Canaan.

God said He would make Abram into a great nation and bless him and make his name great and make him a blessing. “I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who do not esteem you … and in you Abram, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

But realize, this passage did not start with the phrase, “Now these are the generations of Abram.” But rather,

Genesis 11:27 “Now these are the generations of Terah.”

Evidently Terah was chosen to be the beginning of something great … at least that’s how the Bible is written.

At any rate, Abram took Sarai and all their stuff, their servants and his nephew, Lot and left for Canaan. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran and came to the place known as Shechem, where he built his first altar to Jehovah in the Land of Promise.

Did Terah compromise? We do not know because the Bible only infers his calling and does not speak that specifically. However we do know that Abram did not fully obey the Word of the Lord. Rather, for some unknown reason, Abram decided that instead of leaving all of his kinfolks behind that he would take his nephew Lot with him on this sacred journey.

For the next several years Lot proved to be a difficult burden and even his offspring gave the Israelites much trouble during the Exodus and their wanderings in the wilderness. Many scholars believe that Abraham’s choice to take Lot was a big mistake, a compromise of sorts.

Many also believe, and I imagine it to have merit, that one of the reasons why God continued to promise blessings to Abram but not fulfill them in any expedient manner, was because of Lot’s presence in Abraham’s camp. It was not until 25 years after entering Canaan and receiving the covenant that God fulfilled his promise to Abraham by giving him a son through Sarah, the one who was previously called barren. This occurred only after God finally separated Lot from Abraham’s household.

Have you ever counted the costs of compromise? What is compromise? We compromise when we do not fully follow God to the finish line, get ahead of his timing, or when we begin to add things we want instead of sticking to the things God wants along the way of life.

God won’t hate you for your compromise, rather He will always love you no matter what you do because God is Love. However, compromise can create a loss of opportunity or a delay of God’s blessing in your life.

Stop and consider the costs. Are you settling short of God’s goal for your life? Are you trading the covenant for comfort? Ask God what to do about the compromises in your life today!

God has a plan; He will succeed; and you have a chance to participate!

Run your race, finish your course & keep the faith. I pray that you have as much passion for the last lap of the race as you did for the first! Whether it is marriage, ministry, or other vital concerns of life...

Don't stop short of the finish line.
What you did to get it is what you have to do to keep it.
Repent, return and do the first works over!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Balance of Life


Today is Saint Patrick’s Day. Ever wonder who Saint Patrick was and why he has a day?

The brief history:
British 16 year old captured by Irish raiders
Spent 6 years captive in Ireland before escaping
5th and 6th Century Priest to Ireland
Irish soldiers in British military first marched in NY in 1762
1845 Potato Famine in Ireland drove immigration – 1 mil I. Cath.
Prejudice stereotypes depicted as drunken monkeys (paddy wagon)
1900 Voting bloc known as the “green machine”
1948 President Truman attended NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Each year 3 mil line the 1.5 mile route to watch 150K ppl participate
The oldest civilian and the largest parade in the US … plus the world
Celebration of Ireland and the Irish people’s strength to overcome

BTW – I am of Irish descent … Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Just like the story of Saint Patrick’s life …

Our life should also be a script which only God can write. Realizing that …

Life is filled with things that just did not happen, and things which did!

And how important it is that we learn how to cope with both.

I’m told that at the end of life, people most often do not regret the things they did but rather the things they did not do.

Some people seem to be born with an adventurous spirit while others have to work hard at trying new things or being spontaneous.

As well, some people are born with a stable soul while others have to work hard at putting down roots and keeping commitments.

In either case, life is work … but it just keeps coming at you, day after day.

Tonight I want to open the Word of God and share principles that will give us a practical hand on life, its disappointments and its victories.

As I said earlier, Life is filled with things that just did not happen, and things which did. And it is important that we learn to cope with both.

Open your Bibles to:

2 Corinthians 12 NKJV
6 For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

1. Do not let your past keep you from your future.

2 Corinthians 11 NKJV
22 ¶ Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.
23 Are they ministers of Christ? —I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.
24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—
28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.

· The list of things which did and did not happen …

2. Do not let your adventurous spirit keep you from being a stable soul.
3. Do not let your stable soul keep you from being an adventurous spirit.

2 Corinthians 11 NLT
16 ¶ Again I say, don’t think that I am a fool to talk like this. But even if you do, listen to me, as you would to a foolish person, while I also boast a little.

12 But I will continue doing what I have always done …

2 Corinthians 12 NLT
1 ¶ This boasting will do no good, but I must go on …

4. Allow God to write the script of your life.
5. Live life while you can.

So, in conclusion … what is God saying to us tonight?

Life is filled with things that just did not happen, and things which did. And it is important that we learn to cope with both.

Keep the balance of life while you allow God to write the script He has in mind for you.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Family Sunday The Best You


God created mankind in His image and likeness. He is our Father and we are His children. He made each one of us special, with special gifts and special abilities for a special purpose which He designed.

No other person is exactly like you. You were born with potential – the potential to be everything God created you to be. You were created for purpose and will be given every opportunity to accomplish that purpose.

There is something which you can do better than anyone else in your world. You are the perfect candidate to be you! No one else has the combination to your soul and the potential you possess.

You might say, “I’m not perfect! There are so many things I just cannot do.”

You are partly right – you are not perfect, except for the purpose to which God designed. You might be a complete failure at being anyone else but you. And the things which make you so sharp in one area of life may actually make you dull in other areas. However, we can all do the basics.

The two keys to being the best you are:
1. Do the basics first
2. Then stick to the plan of God for your life

If you will just do the basics of life and become great in your ordinary, God will then give you extra-ordinary opportunities to reach your greatest potential. Don’t get these two steps out of order or you will quickly find out that life out of order does not work.

Life out of order will be frustrating and will most often end up cycling through failure after failure. What do I mean by a life out of order?

Life is out of order when a person attempts to reach their potential but refuses to embrace the basic, ordinary, everyday activities and attitudes a successful life demands. Jesus put it this way: (Matthew 16:26)

Matthew 16:26 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

… or his family for that matter!

It’s the basic priorities of life. You see … There is nothing wrong with you that getting right with God won’t fix.

I didn’t say “other people”, I didn’t even say “us” … I said you!

Sometimes it is not about you, but sometimes it is! Only you can reach your greatest potential.

Reaching your greatest potential will demand that you first conquer the basics. What are the basics for you? They are the same for everyone.

1 Peter 2 NKJV
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,
12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
13 ¶ Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme,

16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.

Note: Verses 11-16 encourage us to watch our conduct in life. These verses are summed up in verse 17:

17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

The Holy Spirit continues encouraging believers to live the basics by speaking specifically to servants, wives, husbands and everyone in general as the thought is developed. These admonitions are the basics ---

18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.

1 Peter 3

1 ¶ Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,

7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

8 ¶ Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;
So, what is the conclusion of today’s message?

1. You were perfectly designed by God with dynamic potential.
2. The keys to being the best you are to do the basics and then stick to the plan of God for your life.
3. There is nothing wrong with you that getting right with God won’t fix.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010



Key Scripture: James 1:19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

When God came in the cool of the evening into the Garden of Eden as recorded in Genesis 3, He came to talk with Adam and Eve. From that time forth God has been doing His part to communicate with mankind. Why, because He wants to build and maintain healthy and happy relationships.

Communication is the basis for any relationship.

Imagine if you worked for a company or business who hired a person who was from a different country to be your boss. Imagine that they did not speak your language, yet you wanted to, and needed to succeed in your job. What would you do?

Do you you think you would try fairly hard to communicate with them? I can imagine that you would even attempt to learn a little of their language and culture so you could better understand what they were saying. Believe me, you would only be hurting yourself and your chances of success if you did not.

It would not be enough to just sit around and complain about not understanding what your new boss was saying or what they meant when they gestured with their hands. You could work as hard as you could, but unless you did what the boss wanted and expected, you would always be in trouble.

This sounds silly and yet it happens every day, not only in the work place but also in schools, friendships, and in marriages. Even when people think they are communicating, they often are not and they don’t realize it is because that they aren’t speaking the same language.

Just because you were born in the same town, went to the same school, work at the same job or live in the same house, does not mean that you speak the same language. Tell me, do you understand everyone in your world … even everyone in your family … or anyone else but you at times?

I see this in many relationships, people who don’t understand that they come from two different worlds, with two different un-communicated expectations, at odds because they can’t understand the other person. Often, when we get to the bottom of the disagreement there was not really a disagreement at all, but rather a miscommunication.

You can know you have a communication problem when the conversations begin to go something like this:

“How many times have I told you …”

“I thought you said …”

“You said, (such and such), … That’s not what I said …”

“That’s not what I meant … Well that’s what it sounds like to me …”

It is often bad enough to be understood, let alone continually misunderstood. Even God wants and has a need to be understood.

Proverbs 4 NKJV
1 ¶ Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding;
2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law.
3 When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,
4 He also taught me, and said to me: "Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live.
5 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.

Evidently understanding is something we can get, yet many people just don’t get it.

Tonight I want to give you some practical tools which you can use to sharpen your understanding. Remember – communication is a two way street. In other words, it takes two people to have effective communication – someone who sends a message and another person who receives the message as it was intended by the sender.

Until the message sent is the same message received, communication has not take place – miscommunication perhaps, but not communication.

Our key scripture for tonight will be the foundation upon which these communication tools rest. Remember our key scripture?

James 1:19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

1. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood.
* Take time to listen and pay attention
* Don’t interrupt unless absolutely necessary
* Don’t change the subject or make it all about you
* Give others equal time to talk

2. Learn the language of your leaders and your listeners.
* Are they communicating a fact or a feeling?
(Is this a logical or an emotional conversationalist?)
* Do they need from me: counsel or consolation?
* Hear what is meant in the speaker’s language.

3. Don’t assume – clarify.
* Hear their words, not your thoughts
* Have your thoughts confirmed before you believe them
* If you are going to imagine, imagine the best not the worst

4. When someone says, “That’s not what I meant”, believe them.
* Why? Because it’s not what they meant!
* Meanings are not in words but in people

Get wisdom and with all your getting, get understanding!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pro Choice


Life is always a choice!

Without regard as to your age, your stage, station, or situation of life, and without respect to how long you will live, you have but “One Life” and believe me when I tell you that “Life is a choice”.

Today each one of us:
· Think what we think
· Feel what we feel – and –
· Want what we want – because –
· We believe what we believe

However, we:
· Do what we do – and –
· Get what we get – because –
· We Choose what we choose

This process is all well and good as long as we believe the truth and choose to live according to that truth. What happens though if we are deceived and believe a lie? Do you know if you are deceived?

Well, what is truth? How can we determine what is actually true?

Just as we have only “One Life”, there is only “One Truth”.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life …”

John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Thy Truth, Thy Word is Truth.”

Jesus, who is the Word, is the One Truth, the One Way, and the One Life. And yet, God allows mankind, and each one of us in particular, to choose:

· what we believe
· how we live – and –
· where we go

Live, even our One Life, is always a choice … in this, God is pro-choice. (ie. God defends your individual right to believe what you choose, live like you choose, and ultimately go to heaven or hell as a result of your own choice)
Does the fact that God has given mankind, each one of you and every one of your children this kind of power and authority, concern anyone else but me? I am so bothered with the reality of this that I have dedicated the last 30 years of my life in attempts to educate people about this truth and motivate them to make the right choices in life. Still today, I spend almost all of my waking hours somehow engaged in spreading that truth around our community and communities like ours all over the world.

So, for this morning allow me to go back over this one more time for those who are here, those who are listening and those whom you will tell.

Deuteronomy 30 NKJV
19 "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
20 "that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."

God’s Word is established forever in heaven and on the earth. God has set life and death, blessing and cursing before you and given you the choice. Notice that He encourages you to choose life because along with life comes all the benefits a person could desire.

Why would anyone therefore not choose life and blessings? Here are some common reasons why people don’t choose a blessed life:

1. They don’t believe that the Bible is God’s Word.
(they simply don’t believe the Bible is true)

2. They don’t believe God meant it.
(they don’t trust God or His motives)

3. They don’t believe God will do it.
(they believe God is a liar who does not keep His promises)

Sometimes it is just a matter of the fact that some people have not yet heard they have a choice.

4. They just don’t know about it.
(ignorant of the Word, Way and Will of God --- lost)

but mostly it is because:

5. They don’t know how to make the choice.
(these believers need to be empowered to choose)

Remember: We think what we think, feel what we feel, want what we want because, we believe what we believe. However, we do what we do, and get what we get because we choose what we choose.

If I can teach you to trust that the Bible is the Word of God, it says what it means and means what it says --- it is the Truth --- then you will believe it.

Once you believe it, I can then empower you to begin acting on the Word, increasing its claim on your life, releasing its right and power to change your life to line up with God’s will, God’s way, God’s word.

When you believe the Word of God and act upon it, it will change what you think, what you feel, what you want, what you do, and what you get. And, you will get the “One Life” God has for you when you believe the “One Truth” and make the “One Choice” God wants for you.

How can you begin to empower yourself to choose life? “One Confession”

Proverbs 18 NKJV
21 ¶ Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
20 ¶ A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth, From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.

We begin to empower ourselves when we make the Word of God our “One Confession”.

The power of God’s Word is released through the faith-filled words of a Believer. The more we speak the truth, the more we declare the Word, the more we choose to trust what God says, the greater the release of blessings in our life.

The blessed life comes from within, not from without a person. Love, joy, peace, patience, along with all the fruits of the Spirit are produced in a life lived in harmony with God’s will.

When God set life and death before you, when He placed blessings and cursing in your pathway – He told you to choose! Well, how do you choose? By the faith filled confessions of your soul.

Your words hold the power of death and life, blessing and cursing. Choose your words well.

Mark 11 NKJV
22 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God.
23 "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
24 "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Not only is God pro-choice … so are you!

What are you for, life or death, blessing or cursing? – make your choice and declare your stand! You shall have whatever you choose!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One Life – One Mind


Key Scripture: Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

Recently we have been developing a “One Life” theme in our church. Not only have I been preaching a “One Life” series in this pulpit but I have also developed “One Life” materials for use in Pastor's, Leadership, and Family Church conferences all over the world.

The “One Life” theme is built around the truth that every person, without regard to their age and despite how long they will live, has only one life. It is therefore incumbent upon each Believer to make the most of the one life they have been given and seize every opportunity presented to positively impact others for the cause of Christ.

Not only do we have but one life in which to tell others about the plan of salvation through Jesus the Messiah, but every individual on planet earth has only one life in which to hear and accept that message as well. Those who die absent an eternal relationship with God through a personal belief in Jesus as Messiah waste the one life and forfeits the one opportunity they had. Since this is central to the Christian faith, it is necessary for us as believers to give our one life in God’s service.

Our “One Life” is understood to include several other “One Concepts”. For example:

One Life – One God
One Life – One Story
One Life – One Message
One Life – One Faith
One Life – One Family
One Life – One Purpose
One Life – One Source
One Life – One Testimony

And tonight’s message,

One Life – One Mind

So, with these things fresh in our thoughts, let’s turn in the Bible to:

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you be of one mind …

What in the world could this battle hardened fisherman turned Disciple, turned Apostle, turned Church Father mean? … be of one mind?

When the Apostle Peter wrote this letter it was penned in the common language of his day, Greek. As it is with varying languages, some are more definite while others are less specific in the use of words to convey literal and intended meanings. The Common Era Greek of that period was a more specific language than say, the English used in much of the world today. Believe me, a little understanding of the Greek language can be dangerous because it is fairly complex in its grammar. However …

The Bible says that God sent His Son in the fullness of time. I believe that one of the things which marked the fullness of time was the language of the day which God knew would be used to preserve the inspired and anointed words of the Bible. Did you know, for example, that there are 8 different Greek verbs and at least 2 Greek nouns translated into the one English word, gift? Each one of the Greek words for the English word “gift” conveys a different meaning.

So, when the Apostle, inspired and anointed by the Holy Spirit, begins writing the letter we now know as the First Book of Peter in the New Testament, he says precisely what God intends for him to say. Now, we must study to show ourselves approved of God in order to rightly read, understand and correctly interpret the word of God.

In 1 Peter 3:8, the Greek word Peter used which is translated to the phrase “be of one mind” is:

Mind = Homophron
Homo = Joined together; oneness; the same
Phren = the midriff or diaphragm region; parts of the heart with which we perceive or judge

Basically, to be joined at the heart when it comes to judging one another …
This is the only time in the Bible where this compound word is used.

So, since God used only one generation to write the one Bible we have, telling the one story God wanted us to know so that we could live the one life we have, and since that one generation lived in a very different world than the world we live in today … how is it that we can be expected to be perfectly joined together at the heart when it comes to judging others?

Glad you asked! Because, the inspired, eternally anointed word of Almighty God given through the Apostle Peter did not stop with a command, but also gives insight into how we may accomplish that command. Let’s look further into this passage …

1 Peter 3
8 ¶ Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;
9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
10 For "He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.

Commentary and Conclusion
Verse 8:

· Exercise compassion and sympathy on others - Put yourself in their shoes before condemning, criticizing or rejecting them
· Love others like you would love your own family
· Be tender and merciful not hard, harsh, uncaring or too direct
· Show humility and treat others with common decency and respect

Verse 9:
· Don’t ill treat others because of your own experiences
· Find ways to be a blessing – not a curse – even to your enemies
· This is God’s will – do it and you will be blessed

Verse 10:
· Don’t say bad stuff about others just because you think it
· Don’t repeat the bad stuff you have heard about others
· Live this and you will enjoy your life and see good all your days