AWAKEN

AWAKEN
AWAKEN NOW!

Monday, July 24, 2017

DON'T SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WISHING

In a perfect world things are perfect. This is not a perfect world-far from it. You're going to have to adapt or spend the rest of your life being its "victim". I'd rather be a victor.

I think the problem with most of us is we sit back and wait for life to happen to us and then we respond to it. We are counter punchers-and not very good ones at that. We allow other people and external circumstances to create our reality. We conform to the cosmos. Because of that we live in a perpetual state of emergency. As ridiculous as this sounds, many people like this because they can blame other people and circumstances for their miserable condition. They don't have to take responsibility for their actions or inactions. They don't have to be faithful because someone was unfaithful to them. They don't have to work because a supervisor did them dirty 10 years ago. They don't have to go to church because a church did them wrong last year. They don't have to be kind because someone was cruel to them. They don't have to give because they gave to someone else and they squandered it away. They don't have succeed because someone told them they were a failure. They can remain obese and unhealthy because someone told them they were fat and stupid.  

I am emphatic toward those that have been abused in their life. I understand that our social and economic environments have helped mold us into the persons we have become. But the truth is we are writing our own books, chapter by chapter, page by page, word by word. You may write what others tell you to write, but you're doing the writing. You choose what you allow in your book. 

You say, "I couldn't help what happened to me." 

That's probably true. You can't help what people do to you, but you can dictate how you respond to it. We are all self-made, but only the successful dare to admit it. 

Each of us must make a painful assessment. Which parts of our lives can we change for the better? Once we have settled that we must change them or we must stop blaming anyone but ourselves.

We are made in the image of God. We are created to be awesome. You must stop hijacking your divine purpose. You must walk in the Spirit, living in the attitude of Christ, allowing His presence to shine the path for you. You must make up your mind to change. Those around you will not want you to change. They will try to keep you from rising to the next level because they are not willing to go with you. You must go anyways. Stop allowing toxic people to write your story. Stop blaming the past. Stop blaming the government. Stop blaming your parents. Stop blaming the devil. Stop blaming drugs and alcohol. Stop blaming your ex. You must move forward.

Go to church! Hang out with some godly, positive people that can influence you toward a healthier life. Get involved in ministry. Make a conscious decision to give more of your money and time. Be a part of the solution. Stop waiting for someone to write you a million dollar check ... it isn't happening. Go to work. Be an entrepreneur. Create something. Write something. Read a book. Learn something new. Pray that God will revive your vision.

You were made by a creative God. You were made in His image. So be creative. 

Don't spend the rest of your life wishing.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

GO TO CHURCH!


I am sure that you will be at work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, working 40+ hours next week, regardless of how tired or sick you are. And for those that need to mow or go fishing or whatever it is you need to do ... call your employer Monday morning and don't go to work. Do your chores on a work day, not the Lord's day. Take your kids to Sunday School, they need that far more than the bounce house. Teach them that God is your priority.

Being a part of a church isn't just about being entertained and "getting a blessing". It's about being a part of a community. It's about supporting each other. It's about hearing the Word of the Lord. It's about spiritual growth. It's about worshiping together. It's about reaching the least, the last, and the lost.

I hear some of the dumbest claims from carnally minded people. For example:

1. I CAN LIVE JUST AS GOOD AT HOME AS I CAN AT CHURCH! 

Really? That sounds like an intelligent argument to you? That's equivalent to saying you can live just as good at Walmart as you can Kroger. Let me share a secret with you ... you're supposed live holy every where you are.

2. I DON'T NEED A PREACHER. I CAN READ THE WORD OF GOD AT HOME.

Again, does that really sound logical to you? First of all, those that say those type of things hardly ever pray or read the Word of God. They never witness to the lost. I'm not sure what they mean by "serving the Lord".

Secondly, the Apostle Paul wrote, saying:

Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:


You cannot be perfected (matured) in Christ without apostles, prophets, evangelists and teaching pastors. Do you have your own personal pastor at home? Do you have an evangelist scheduled to show up at your house tomorrow?

3. THE CHURCH ISN'T A BUILDING, IT'S THE PEOPLE. 

Ok. Did you know that words can have more than one meaning? For example, the word fly. The fly is buzzing around my head. Zip up your fly. The plane can fly. My wife is fly. Etc.

The word church does refer to the body of Christ, but it also refers to the place the saints go to worship. How about these Scriptures?

Re 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

How many bodies does Jesus have? One or seven?

1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Ro 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
 
Going to church isn't about LIVING right, it's about SERVING right. You may be able to live just as good at home by yourself, but you will not serve as good by yourself. So don't say you are SERVING God if you're not actively engaged in ministry. Don't say you're serving God if you don't care enough about the body of Christ to fellowship it Sunday and mid-week.

We must stop with the empty, lame excuses for not loving God and His house. The truth is those that don't have a desire for God, His Church, and reaching the lost are simply preoccupied with their own interests.

Go to church tomorrow! Your pastor is studying and praying for the message God wants you to hear. Go to church tomorrow. Go with something in your heart to bless someone else with.

Friday, July 14, 2017

WINNING THE WINTER WARFARE


Ps 74:17 Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.

I can remember how funny winter time was in Florida. If the weather dropped down below 50 folk got crazy. Many of them have NEVER seen snow! If it snows they render it a state of emergency. Why? They’re aren’t prepared! Us Kentuckians are driving around, having snow ball fights, making snow cream, and they’re freaking out. They have very little salt, salt trucks, plows, etc. ... Why? They aren’t prepared, but to be fair ... it almost never snows there, so they don't need to be prepared.

Seasons change and few people really “like” winter. Leaves are falling. Things are dying. I have noticed an unhealthy amount of depression among the people of God and it seems to be getting worse. Why does this happen?

Here are 10 practical reasons:

1. SAD: You may have what's called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. The condition is marked by the onset of depression during the late fall and early winter months, when less natural sunlight is available. It's thought to occur when daily body rhythms become out-of-sync because of the reduced sunlight.
    
2. YOU’RE NOT MOVING ENOUGH: It’s easy to curl up on the couch and do nothing. Exercise and motion helps you physically.
   
3. YOU WORRY ABOUT MONEY DUE TO ECONOMICAL HARDSHIP
   
4. OVERWHELMED WITH FAMILY OBLIGATIONS
   
5. YOU’RE NOT EATING RIGHT
   
6. FEELING ALONE
   
7. GUILT FROM PAST LIFE SITUATIONS AND MISTAKES
   
8. OVER SCHEDULED
   
9. YOU BECOME A HERMIT, COOPED UP ALL THE TIME
   
10. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS (EVERY THING MUST BE PERFECT)
                                   
Your attitude will determine your altitude. If you can’t think right, you can’t be right.

Pr 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...

EMOTIONAL WINTER TIME

Ps 74:17 Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.

Whether we like it or not, winter comes.

FOCUS IN THE WINTER (PAUL 2TIMOTHY 4)

One of the dangerous things about corresponding with writing, especially on the internet, is if you’re not very careful, what you say and how they read it are two different things.
   
You ever hear of the phrase “rose shaded glasses”? Bitter shaded glasses ... There are some people that have a disposition that causes them to read their feelings into everything they read or see. Because they feel that way, or because that’s how they’d respond, they see that in everyone else. 
   
2Ti 4:21 Do thy diligence to come before winter.
   
What doesn’t come across in the writings of Paul is his emotion. What was he feeling when he wrote these words, particularly in our text? He was facing death, abandoned, accused, alone – at the end of his life. He asks for nothing but the company of Dr. Luke, a favorite coat, and some parchments. “Do your best to get here before winter” Paul says in verse 21. But although he faces such emotional and physical trials that will end up costing him his life – Paul gives one of the most encouraging messages to his young protégé Timothy – a message that ought to keep us going when the going gets tough.

We close down during the winter time   

STAY ON TASK
   
2Ti 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Paul is in prison here. He is suffering. He is lonely, but he is focused. Preach, Timothy. “There’s a day coming when men won’t want to hear the Word. Preach while you have time.”

We have a choice: Do we allow winter to cause us to be bitter or better?

NELSON MANDELA: Before becoming president of South Africa in 1994, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years by the South African apartheid government. His crime? Standing up against a government that was committing egregious human rights abuses against black South Africans.

He said: Prison taught him self-control, discipline, and focus—the things he considers essential to leadership—and it taught him how to be a full human being.

JOHN BUNYAN: When John Bunyan was asked to recant in order to get out of prison, he would ask, "Christ visits me every night. Why would I want to be any where else?"
           
3 THINGS GOD DOES IN THE WINTER SEASON (JOHN 15)

Are you expecting a harvest? What must we do?

1.PREPARE & RECEIVE

When you’re in a winter season, ask God: “What” ... not “Why”.
When we start asking “What” instead of “Why” things will get better. “WHY is this happening” isn’t the most important question, but WHAT does God want to do; and WHAT is God preparing you for are the supremely important questions.

Joh 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 

Jesus said, "My father is a gardener. He knows how to process and prepare us."

TAKE NOTE: Winter makes way for Spring.

2. PRUNE & REMAIN
Joh 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Cut off (sinner) or cut back (saint) ... Everybody gets cut! I’d rather be cut back than cut off.

Joh 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

3. PROVE & REVEAL
Joh 15:2 ... that it may bring forth more fruit.

Weeping may endure for the night, but Spring time is coming! If you will submit to the process, God is going to bring forth amazing fruit in your life. Our life will reveal His glory to this world!

FOLLOWING THE PIED PIPER



I felt the Spirit quicken my heart. I had to rise and ask His design. My heart hurts. Oh, the burden!
 
Are great many are running hard toward hell. They march like mindless zombies. Their stride is in rhythm with the Pied Piper's, with Satan's hypnotizing melody. It is beautiful, but wicked. It is unlike anything they've ever known, saw, or felt, but it numbs them from feeling the sting of their conscience; the pull of the Spirit, checking them, convicting them over the crimes they've committed against God.

Even many of those that sit on our pews are dabbling in the forbidden. They move forward with a glazed expression upon their faces. They're oblivious to the thick darkness that moves upon our land; of the imminent destruction that looms near. Their eyes are blinded by the god of this world. While their life consists of little more than cell phones and social networks, Delilah rocks them into a deep coma. Like Samson, they will be afflicted.

To the luke-warm, the self-righteous pharisee, the hypocrite, the prayerless mother, the burdenless, Spiritless father: Will we reject Christ? Will anyone try and stop the lost from following Satan to hell? Will anyone lift their voices, breaking the trance? Will anyone be alarmed? Will anyone break free from the steely cords that hold them, that have them entangled, making them slaves to this deceitful world and its diabolical ruler, long enough to make an eternal difference? Is there anyone who will pray; intercede for the souls of our youth?

God, wake us, shake us, break us before it's everlastingly too late. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IF YOU DON'T ASK, THEY WON'T TELL



My marriage is incredible. I thank God for it everyday. I've said many times it would be perfect if I wasn't in it. Fortunately, I am, so she'll have to work with what she's got.

While preaching tonight, I said the following to my 10 year old son, Josiah:

"Josiah, when was the last time you heard momma and daddy yell and scream at each other?"

"Yesterday."

An awkward silence fell upon me-which I loved-and my face took on the coloration of an albino. It was not the answer I was looking for-at all, but it was perfect. You had better be ready for the nitty gritty when you ask your children questions. They see things a little differently than we do and will tell it. Although embarrassing, it was helpful. I kissed his forehead and thanked him for being honest. He's an awesome man of God.

A couple of day ago, I spoke to my wife with aggravation in my voice. We were not yelling ... my wife will confirm it. LOL. And I wasn't really aggravated at her, I just projected those feelings toward her while discussing finances. It wasn't the first time in 19 years, but maybe it'll be the last ;) Pray for Sister Lamb. She has her hands full.

I felt encouraged and convicted at the same time.

1. I was encouraged because my son knew he was supposed to speak the truth.

2. I was encouraged because my son thought what we were doing was yelling and screaming. That means we've come a long way because we used to yell and scream a lot.

3. I was encouraged because I pastor a church that laughed at me. They didn't walk out on me. They aren't judgmental toward me. They know us well enough to know the adult reality of the situation. I love RT.

4. I was convicted because, whether we were yelling and screaming or not, my son saw what I doing as yelling and screaming. It produced fear or anxiety in his heart. Something that grieves me. I must exercise more temperance and be more gentle with my words.

I've asked my sons and daughters many times how I am doing as a father and husband. I ask them what I can do to be better. Most of the time I get an A, every so often they lay out some hard truths that are difficult to swallow. That wasn't an original idea. S.M. Davis taught me to ask my family those vulnerable questions. I thought it was a great idea and has brought forth much godly fruit.

I'm writing this because I think it's a great practice for all of us. We get so wrapped up in things we don't realize how our attitude is affecting others.
 
Fathers and mothers ... ask your children how you're doing. Don't get angry with them. Don't talk down to them. If you do, they'll never be honest with you again and you will never become a better husband or father.


Husbands and wives ... ask each other how you're doing. Ask them what you can do to make the marriage better. Be honest and sincere. Be ready for some mature dialogue.


Ask your friends how you're doing as a friend. Ask your pastor how you're doing as a member. Pastors, ask some of your congregants how you're doing as a leader. Be ready for the answer.

Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.