A word of encouragement from a sojourner for Truth

Don’t complain

Ever hear of someone dying of a broken heart? What about dying of a grumbling unthankful heart? The corinthian church had a grumbling problem. Do you complain often? What does God say about being a grumbling Christian? First let’s get some context. When God dealt with the children of Israel in the wilderness journey he provided their every need. Their food and water were provided daily, their clothes and shoes did not wear out.Num. 21:4-9. However instead of being thankful they whined and complained at every turn.Num. 21:5. You may say I don’t understand your situation. You are precisely correct. However God knows your situation. Paul warned….

1Co 10:9 — 1Co 10:10

And let us not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. And do not complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel.

We need to be satisfied in God no matter our situation.

Heb 13:5 — Heb 13:6

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor — forsake thee.

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Paul reminds us to be content in whatever our status. 

Phi 4:11 — Phi 4:12

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

— I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Writing from prison Paul challenges us to change our heart through prayer and thankfulness. 

He tells us to think on holy, and beautiful things, to pray and give thanks for all things and then and only then will the peace of God guard and keep our hearts.

Phi 4:4 — Phi 4:9

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and — minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

A grumbling heart is not thankful. A grumbling heart is not thinking rightly before God. A grumbling heart is not satisfied in Him. It has no peace nor is it guarded by peace. Quit grumbling it could be worse. No one died of a thankful heart. Yet some died of a complaining unthankful heart.

Worship that pleases God

I worship God as best I can. Vance Havner said once that worship is all that I am in response to all that he is. I like that. Jesus said true worship is in spirit and truth. I also like Paul who said it is with psalms, hymns, spiritual songs and making melody in my heart. At once worship may involve me kneeling before him, weeping and supplication. Other times my hands are raised with the shout of victory. I come to him as I am broken, humble, in faith or in doubt, in fear or in joy, discontent or satisfied. Worship revolves around who I am encountering who he is. Sometimes I approach him yet it is he who apprehendeth me. I love to worship with music too. I believe it is the worship language of the soul. I worship with scripture songs, (psalms), spiritual songs, (praise and worship) hymns, (theology – what we believe). Some are southern gospel, some are ethnic, others are contemporary, some are my own. Some are Gregorian chants, hymns from the 1500s, some are instrumental, and some are responsive reading. Sometimes my worship is corporate and other times I am alone (making melody in my heart). Worship is commanded by God, expected by God and we are without excuse. Worship comes through humility, with exultation, and from the silences of our very core being. God is the God of order and not chaos. That means worship should glorify God,  edify the church and generally bless man. It should be understandable otherwise it cannot edify the body. It must be biblical otherwise it is heresy. If we do not feel we have worshipped because of style or we must be worked up first to worship what do we have different than the heathen on Mt Carmel or those answering the flute and sack but in Daniels day before the kings image. Worship is not based on skin color it crosses all ethnicities. It is not based on language…. for all tongues must praise him. John saw a greathrong of every kindred and tongue worshipping. It must be God honoring or its idolatry. It is about him and not based on my preference nor is it based on my feelings. It may include my preference and result in feelings but it is all about him. He is the subject, the cause and the audience. To him be glory does not necessitate me feeling good. Sometimes worship is celebration and truth. Sometimes worship is awe and silence. Other times worship is humility and judgement. However worship is always truth. We do not say Amen because it feels good. We say Amen because it is truth. Our spirit moves deeply not because of the beat but because of God, who He is and what He has done. God does not need us to place worth on him because we can add to him. He is worthy whether or not we ever worship him. Worship becomes, when done right, a meeting place between man and God. Remember He inhabits the praises of his people. So come let us adore him, worship him and stand in the fear, reverence and holiness of the God who loves us, judges us, and gives us breath

Patience

10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. (Psa 46:10-11)

I see a stage in my minds eye. Dark curtains shroud the stage and the lights dim. Every heart is stilled and each child waits on baited breath. I am on that stage and the magician for our school assembly promises to hypnotize me. He tells me to clear my mind of any thought. At that note I strive to silence my mind, slow my breathing and concentrate on the swinging medallion in front of my eyes. Not…..Happening. In my lifetime nothing requested of me would ever be harder than this moment in time. Silence my mind! I wish it were so easy.
I have a hard time being slow. In my daily routine I spit and sputter running from this to that while all the time easily distracted by something else. I have adhd. It is thrilling and debilitating at the same time. I spend much of my life caught up in the wonder of everything only to find I have missed out on something because of distraction. Of course I know that no one can see, know or experience all of this experience called life. However the simple loss of something to the distraction of something else has a palatable pain. God calls us to be still. There must be a way to accomplish stillness. He speaks through the stillness. It is there we know Him. Probably one of my hardest tasks is to be still. I work to still my body because of my nervous energy. Daily I labor to still my voice because I rarely know silence. Yet once again God’s requirement of stillness requires silence. O sure there are times he wants us to cry out to him, call upon him, search for him and answer him. Yet for as many times he requires one, he requires the other as well. Stillness of body and silence of the mouth serve as the initial battles I fight daily. Why is there always a third? Knock three times on the ceiling ripples across my thoughts as I write this piece. Music wafts away in my mind while I “gee and Haw” trying to get the mule of my mind back into sync with my writing. Gee and Haw….Makes my reminiscent of my great grandmother. She loved to plow. She loved Jesus…O yeah. I am writing. Does that give you a taste of my mind? Believe me it is just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t get me started on the ship sinking.
I struggle with, probably, my greatest battle to corral my thoughts. They are in a constant state of flux. The simple tasks of writing an outline, formulating a static thought in a linear fashion without interrupting thoughts consumes my life. Often I am mentally exhausted. Being still of mind to hear the voice of my creator, though my constant goal, spins elusive and rare in my life. Meditation, music, and medication all work together and help but I never know these moments enough. However the command rings as clear and steady as the beat of my heart and the breath of my lungs. I long for order, I yearn to be still. My lifetime goal is to know him. People say they do not believe in, have not heard from or ever had experience with God yet I know in my heart He is there. I have heard his voice and know the nuance of his intonation. My heart quickens at his presence and I weep when I know I am doing his command. One day face to face. I shall behold him. I will know my redeemer in more than a nuanced nudge of my heart.

May my challenges never be more than my resolve in this matter. My heart cry for silence, my soul song for the sound of your voice, may their fervency echo only on the shores of heaven continually as I seek your face. Amen

Daily devotional by Pastor Ayres
Heb 12:14
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Do you ever wonder about your life’s impact on others lives? Just think for a moment about yourself as a child or about your children. Remember the joy they bring when they come to a place where they can show with their life that they have caught the truth you have been teaching them. I love it when my kids step beyond natural human selfishness and help someone beyond their comfort zone of friends. I am moved deeply when they repent, say they are sorry, love the unlovely, and care about folks in life’s downtrodden way. Likewise God expects us to influence the lives of people around us for His kingdoms sake. Paul tells us we are created for the glory of God, that in salvation we have become His workmanship. Peter warns that life is one day coming to an end therefore we should live lives impacting others for Christ. Jesus calls us to be light and salt in this world. Even The psalmist King David reminds us that He leads us in the paths of righteousness for His name sake. So I ask again. Do you ever wonder if your life is impacting others for Christ? If you are, it brings joy to the heart of God. If you are, your life will be leading others to God. Your life shines like a mirror in the world. Your witness reflects Gods truth or your hypocrisy to others like that mirror. It reflects through your attitudes, actions and words. That is why the bible often calls your life actions and choices the conversation of your life. Think of the cost if your life choices lead people away from God. It has been said its harder to shoot someone face to face than it is to drop a bomb on faceless enemies on the ground. Likewise You might be able to rationalize your sin because you don’t know the ones you lead away from God. Yet what if they are people within your life circle? What if it is your best friend, spouse or your children? Live for God like your friends and families eternity depends upon it. You may be the only bible they ever read.

Jer 29:12-13
12 Then shall ye call upon — me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek — me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Then you shall call upon me
What a simple effort it takes to call upon the Lord. Just a whisper of the soul sent heavenward receives the same attention an agonized cry from deepest suffering. No matter the anguish or intensity….the prayer that reaches heaven, simply resonates upon the heavenly ear born of brokeness, and humility from hearts who know the undeserved love of their Father. Otherwise we like the Mt Carmel mob would need to cut ourselves and cry all the louder to petition the Graceland of our father’s presence. If such simplicity and humility unlocks heavens gate, then why does the Father have to invite us to come and find him on bended knee? Fickle hearts only seek him when trouble comes but have no need of his provision when unencumbered. Father may our very breath breathe utterances of praise and petition. Give us our daily need.

Heb 13:5-6
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have:for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor — forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Life seems often full of troubles. We need things and want things and do not always get those things. We pray seeking answers but often we are telling God what we want when we should trust him with the answer and the results. Even when we are persecuted by the world we should not respond by greedily hoarding all we can just because we experienced lack. If our confidence and contentment anchors in the Lord our savior we will find ourselves satisfied. With him there is no depth where his supply can’t be found. No eagle can fly so high or so far the supply cannot reach him. Even when we tap into the supply of his sufficiency we cannot deplete it. He is inexhaustible.  He is not only our source, he is our supply and ultimately our satisfaction.  Yet if our anchor is bound deep into this life, or the physical world around us, in relationships or finances we will find our contentment wax and wins with each moment. Those items can be exhausted, and their source can be lost. How great is our God and his supply. He keeps it right with us because he never leaves us nor forsakes us.

His way or mine
Mat 12:3-4
3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

Several things intrigue me here in this passage. I just love the way Jesus deals with challenges. In the face of the Pharisees challenge to Jesus authority he challenges their knowlege of the word of God. He implies they have forgotten the word of God. He asks them if they have ever read the story where David and his men ate the shewbread meant only for use in the Lord’s tabernacle. They had forgotten and loved to take texts out of context to aid their control of the people. They were too quick to judge. Jesus never taught that we should not judge. He warned us to be cautious when we jusge. He taught that we should judge ourselves first. Then in judging others it ought to help and not to hurt. The Pharisees were charging Jesus disciples for working on the Sabbath. They were always quick to forget the import of the word. Further they invariably applied the word to others while neglecting to judge themselves by it at the first. Jesus however reminds them that David and his men were hungry and they had done the same as his disciples in their hunger. Essentially jesus is saying where David and his men were not condemned neither should they be condemned. He always taught doing good on the Lords day was right. His defense is simple. His word supercedes our interpretation. What about the Lord’s day have you been neglecting? Do you forget the assembling together as God designed? If you do assemble do you make tradition more important than doing good. Have you read his word and forgotten it’s meaning and the changes it requires in your life? Are you quick to judge others with the word while neglecting measuring yourself by the word first? Whatever our fault with the Lord’s day, Jesus knows best. It is his word after all.

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