Monday, March 26, 2012

Are you unaffiliated?

Over the weekend I watched "Oh Brother where art thou?" for the umpteenth time. I love watching the show as it has a diverse group of characters and is very entertaining. This time though I noticed something I hadn't noticed before after the baptism scene they pick up Tommy the man that was at the crossroads, the mythical place where it is said the devil will trade fame and fortune for your immortal soul. Delmer and Pete were the ones that had just been baptized, Tommy had sold his soul to the devil as to quote the character in the movie, "I wasn't usin it" and Everett made the comment that he was the only one unaffiliated.

I hadn't put much thought to the movie or the comments before but this time it hit me how so many people in the world today are either like Tommy and have made wrong choices or like Everett and unaffiliated.

What does it mean to be unaffiliated, if we go by the dictionary definition it means not associated with another or others as a subordinate, subsidiary, or member; independent.

For years I was UNAFFILIATED, lost, and ended up at the same crossroads as the character Tommy, not tempted by the same things as Tommy but tempted none the less. It doesn't have to be fame and fortune it could be that car you always wanted, or the new house or basically anything that you could covet. Satan will always be there to tempt us, someone that was bold enough to think he could tempt God himself finds no trouble in sending things our way.

What I have found since becoming a child of God though is not just that I am affiliated but I have an advocate that is always there to help me in my times of trouble or when temptation comes my way. I truly feel for people like Tommy and Everett, for ones like Tommy as they don't  see the value of their soul, and for ones like Everett who think being independent and UNAFFILIATED make them more of a man.

Mark 4:1-11
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’
Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The power of His Word!

Last week we talked about the old children's rhyme sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. We found that in fact the words that come out of our mouths have more power than we thought they had and can hurt us.

All through life we are taught that seeing is believing, what are you going to believe what you are told or what you can see. These little rhymes along with the one above, I believe are the reasons so many people have trouble taking God at his Word. The world has fed our hearts and minds since childhood to by into their way of thinking and settling for whatever circumstances come our way. That is not what God had planned for us. If Abraham would have went by worldly standards and believed he and Sarah were too old to conceive we would not be here today. Instead he believed the promises of God and a great nation was raised from his seed. If Joseph had not believed God's Word where would we be, if David had not meditated on God's Word and believed that what was written would come to pass the lions would have devoured him, and the Philistine army would have continued to rule Israel. Even the Roman centurion knew the power of God's Word as evidenced in the passage below.

Matthew 8:5-13
Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.
10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

By meditating and memorizing God's word and keeping it in our hearts we are able to access the power that being a child of God affords us. His Word is power and His name is above every name. When we say that his name is above all names we are not just talking about a person's name. We are talking his name is above disease, poverty, fear, anxiety, stress, above all the problems the world can throw at you.

When the problems of the world come at you remember God's Word and keep it in your heart and it will be your armour and quench the fiery darts of negativty and unbelief that are the tools of the devil.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?

Over the past few weeks we have been talking about the power of not only God's word in our lives but what our words can do. I normally wouldn't bring up anything from the talk shows but this past week all of the focus of Facebook and the news is Rush Limbaugh and his inappropriate comment.

If words can never hurt us why is there so much made of someone's comments no matter how offensive? If words have no power why have wars been fought and lives been lost over words? The truth is words are far more powerful than anyone thinks. Most people can't recall the first time they skinned their knee or even a jammed finger but I would bet most would remember a name they were called in elementary school. I know we have all done it at some point in our lives, called a person fat, ugly, stupid or something derogatory and didn't even think about the effect that it had on the person on the receiving end.

The point I am driving home is our words are powerful. They bring positive and negative feelings and reactions. In the following passage James is speaking of the power of our tongue or words.

James 3:1-10
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 

No matter whether it is a few people talking around the water cooler, or on a nationally broadcast radio talk show the power of our words is far greater than one would think.

This week before making that comment or gossiping about someone, think of the effect of your words.

Have a blessed week!