Thursday, August 30, 2007

Submission to Authority

Our Father in Heaven has established a principle of submission to authority. From Adam and Eve forward we humans have resented and resisted authority wanting to do things our own way. We all would like to think that we can make decisions for ourselves and that we don't need to be controlled by another.

We hear from the world around us that if we allow ourselves to be dominated or ruled by another that we are emotionally weak and being victimized. It is probably why entrepeneurship is so desireable; the power to call your own shots and not submit to a boss. Children want to rebel against their parents leadership; motorists all around me rebel against the authority of government to set speed limits; we resist being bossed in any form or fashion. But, even when we do get to a position in which we can have control over certain decisions, we still find that others are under the control of another.

None of us is outside of authority. God established authorities on earth and commanded us to follow their leadership. 1 Peter 2:13-14 tells us, "submit yoursleves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men; whether to king as supreme authority , or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right". The point is re-emphasized in Romans 13:1 where we read, "there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."

What if the authority is unreasonable and harsh? There is evidence of the apostles choosing to go against authority in submission to a higher authority. No authority can force you to sin against God for God is the supreme authority. Now here is the kicker... 1 Peter 3:18-19 commands us, "slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God."

Our first verse gives us our purpose in submission... for the Lord's sake We may have a hard time submitting to unreasonableness or unkindness, but we do it not for the benefit of the unkind, but for the Lord's sake we submit to unjust treatment as his people.

I used to like Romans 8:28 because it gave me such hope that even in the midst of hardship that there was deliverance promised. Now, I can't read Romans 8:28 without reading the next verse which gives us the key to 28. Romans 8:28 -29: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed into the likeness of his Sond, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

Does this mean that we are merely martyrs allowing others to dominate and control? Absolutely not! We are more than conquerors because we know that in serving these authorities, we are serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Given what he endured for me, who am I to say that I will not bear with some unkindness or forgive some harshness? My every breath is in the hand of God. He is able to deliver if he desires, or he may choose to take me through the fire and walk with me and sustain me until on the other side of the trials, my character is more refined and I can shine more brightly for him.

We are being conformed into the image of Christ. God uses trials and grating personalities in our lives to sand off the rough edges of our character and to allow us to choose to put to death that old nature we like to cling to. If God is using a trial in my life or yours it is because he wants to make us more like himself. We can come alongside this effort of Gods by renewing our minds.
Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. "

This year I am trying to put into practice Philippians 4:8 in an effort to keep my mind renewed. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - thing about such things." Our Lord has been so good and kind to us to offer us salvation and to give us his Spirit to sustain and grow us. We have so many good things to ponder.

Another way I renew my mind is I dump any cares and concerns regularly before my Father. I ask for him to minister to those situations where I can do nothing else but stew and feel sorry for myself.

The last way I keep my mind renewed is to regularly grow in my knowledge of the character of God, by reading and studying the Bible. Did I mention that BBN Bible Institute is a great way to keep growing in the knowledge of our Lord? It is free and the teaching is excellent. Apart from the Holy Spirit himself, you will find no better instructors.

If you are struggling with submission to authority, talk with our Lord about it and search the Bible for his direction and his promises. Lamentations 3:22-26 promises us: "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "the Lord is my portion; therefor I will wait for him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."

God Bless you as you seek him and as you serve him.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Careful What You Ask For

Recently, I decided to study the character of grace. If you have read some of my prior blogs you have seen my commentary on some of the things that I have learned about grace. I am amazed at the character of grace and how unlike our own natural inclinations it is and how much it speaks of God's character.

In our message this morning, our new interim pastor spoke on Romans chapter 8. One of his comments this morning was that as adopted children of God we are heirs of everything. The resources available to us are beyond our comprehension and how seldom do we display God's power because we don't ask for it.

He said whatever we needed in our lives we should ask God for, whether it be patience, or an ability to guard our words. I asked the Lord to manifest grace in my life. It was almost as if as soon as I asked, the Lord gave me an opportunity to put some of my book learning into application. When I was confronted with a bit of unkindness, I really struggled to be the vessel of grace.

I pitied myself, I cried a bit, I told the Lord that I would like to be delivered from such harshness, but then I remembered that I had asked for grace. I really battled some bitterness and the strong desire to lash out in retaliation. I confessed my bad attitude to God and repented begging for my pride to be put to death and his character to be made manifest.

I can't say that today I was completely graceful, but the Lord certainly gave me an opportunity to practice. I hope that as the next opportunity presents itself I can be even more graceful and less hurt and prideful.

I pray that the Lord will take my life and mold me and conform me to his image so that his glory will be manifested through this poor broken jar of clay. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Back to School

Hi friends,

I just wanted to share with you a great way to continuously stay challenged and stimulated in your thinking. Enroll in BBN Bible Institute ( online. It is free and has many challenging courses to choose from. This summer I have completed several courses:

  • The Doctrine of Satan
  • The Doctrine of Angels
  • The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

I am now taking Dispensational Theology and learning lots!

I have found that in studying with BBNBI that I have learned how to articulate better some of our foundational doctrines and how misunderstanding of some of the foundations can really lead to heresies found all around us.

I am better prepared to address some of the misconceptions I have heard and share scripture references that will give better understanding of our foundational doctrines.

I am stepping through the doctrines, but there are many other courses that might interest you as well...

+ 00000 Introductory Studies (For New Believers)
+ 10000 Bible Doctrines Studies
+ 20000 Christian Living and Family Studies
+ 30000 Bible Book Studies
+ 40000 Biblical Character Studies
+ 50000 Bible Electives Studies

Each course has a series of lessons. At the end of each lesson is a test and at the end of the series is a final that will measure how much you have learned. They are available 24/7 for no cost you can get seminary quality training without the expense and at your convenience. Come join me and grow!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Grace and Peace

This summer I have been doing an independent study on character of grace. I did a word search of grace in the Bible and was struck that so often in scripture the words grace and peace are partnered together. Not only are these character qualities of God that we are to bear to the world as a witness, but neither of these are natural to man's character.

Our inclination is to worry and to take revenge or seek justice. When we really understand that everything works together for God's glory in the end we can let go of both the tendency to worry (By the way, worry won't change the future outcome) and to see fairness.

Grace by its very design is undeserved. If grace were deserved it would not be grace. Grace by its very nature is unfair. There is no justice in grace. Grace says I will forgo justice in favor of love and forgiveness. When grace is exercised, peace can prevail. Where there is no grace; peace has a much harder time gaining a foothold in our lives.

Another tendency I saw was that in almost ever greeting and every signature of his letters, Paul mentions our need for grace. He ends his letters so often with words like "may the grace of our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." He almost always pointed to the source of grace being something that comes to us by virtue of being in relationship or beneficiaries of God's favor.

Of all the character qualities I would like to develop in my life it would be that of grace. I believe that grace speaks the loudest to the world that we are governed by God himself and that we are no longer our own. We no longer need to defend ourselves or fight for our "rights" but we can demonstrate forgiveness where it is undeserved, show blessing where curses are handed out and have love for our fellow man even when they are particularly unlovely. Grace bears with another's faults without finding the need to fix them.

If you ever remember me in prayer please ask the Lord to develop his character of grace more fully in me. May the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you all.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Dog Trailer?

While we stopped at Tamarack, we saw this motorhome with a trailer. The motorcycle, has a trailer that is meant for a dog, but fashioned much like a horse trailer. I had never seen anything like that before!


Tamarack is a crafters mall in Beckley West Virginia. The only thing I could afford was to take pictures, but you can see that the crafters are talented and very crafty.

The first picture is of the wolf in sheep's clothing. I don't know where you display this in your home, but certainly would be a conversation piece.

Some of the paintings and woodworking is just outstanding.

Violations of the Law

Stopping for lunch at a Walmart parking lot.

Joe reads the sign we parked in front of.

Rally Pictures

Roy Clark Concert

During our visit to DuQuoin, IL rally, Roy Clark and his band came to entertain us Monday evening. What a wonderful treat to see this music legend in action. He had back surgery recently and it was clear that he was bearing through a great deal of pain to bless us musically.

Each of the individual members of his band are uniquely talented, each having recorded albums of their own. Roy allowed each to have an opportunity to showcase their talents so we had not just one concert but we enjoyed several mini concerts all in one.