A tribe of ferocious fighting men would often fight to the death with neighboring villages.When they were victorious, they would cut off the ear of their opponent, hang it in their straw huts in full view to remind them of their anger and hatred.This symbol would give them added adrenaline to renew their battle another day.
That's a far cry from what Paul said in I Thessalonians 5:15, "Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to do what is good for each other and for all people."
There would be fewer battles and kinder workplaces if we could only practice that.Sometimes our competitive marketplace encourages us to take an eye for an eye rather than turn the other cheek.
May God forbid that the career ladders we climb be strewn with the bodies and souls of our victims, lain waste by a shrewd tongue and unforgiving heart.
GospeLines Prayer:"My Lord and my God, teach me to play fair in the jungle.Give me a trusting heart to find my way to success through your Holiness.Lead me away from the daily battles of pettiness and uncaring comments and place my feet firmly on the foundation of goodness and kindness."Amen and amen.
What do you do when the Devil tries to use offense to lead you away from God's calling and you're falling for it?You don't want to; you know it's wrong but the offense hurts and your flesh is crying out for you to stand up and protest... Your flesh wants justice (or at least recognition).
Like many of you, I have several jobs.I write for GospeLines and serve as their Webmaster.I serve United Christian Faith Ministries as a Regional Bishop and I'm the part-time de facto computer systems technician (The guy who fixes it when it's broke) at a local company.It's that last one that's the problem.
There is no one person in charge.Critical computer related decisions are made by several people who never talk or consult each other.I'm frequently surprised by changes that have been made (some have been obvious disasters) without any consultation with the person who keeps them running.It's sort of like the story of the repairman on a train.I can't operate the throttle and I can't blow the whistle; but, when it breaks... I get the call…
Lately, I've had the feeling that I should simply quit and let the people with all the "expertise" do the job.A little voice inside my head keeps saying, "If they're smart enough to make all these changes without your input; they're smart enough to fix it when it breaks."That voice is the voice of Satan himself.
I wasn't hired to make decisions or to judge the decisions that are made.I was hired to fix the computers when they're broken... period!Satan often tries to get us to take offense by leading us to believe that we have responsibilities or authority that may not actually be there.He'd love for us to walk away from our true and intended responsibilities because we feel offended concerning these imagined responsibilities.
If you can't operate the throttle and you can't blow the whistle; then, do whatever it is you've been called to do and do it in a manner that will make Jesus smile.After all, He's the one who called you and gave you those skills in the first place.If others are called to do different things and they're doing them poorly, God will deal with them.Be sure you're not hiding your talents in the ground because of some offense - real or imagined.
When the demons of Satan whisper in your ear and try to convince you to take offense, just speak these words of the Lord:"Do not judge, and you will not be judged.Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.Forgive, and you will be forgiven.Give, and it will be given to you.A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:36-38)
Whatever your calling, stand up for the Lord and answer the call with every measure and talent the Father has given you so that in the final day, he will say:"Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
In the 17th century, the best violins were made by Antonio Stradivari. They are still the best. He said that to make a violin less than his best would be to rob God. He was right. God could not make a violin without the help of Antonio. Certain gifts were given to that craftsman that no other violin maker ever possessed.
There are certain things you and I do that no one else can do quite the same. Maybe it's encouraging others, or parenting, or praying, or teaching, or using your hands in a skillful manner to build something out of nothing. Or, maybe it's praying about something special.
Beloved, God has given us a vision for GospeLines that will impact the ministry for years to come. Five years and seven months ago, the first issue was sent to four readers. They told their friends, who shared it with others, etc. Now the email is reaching 1700 souls around the world, to government buildings, hospitals, universities, corporations and homes like yours and mine.
With our website (thank you Ron Killen!) I believe God wants us to take the next step to reach tens of thousands more. Several readers have faithfully shared promises of prayer and financial resources to make this happen. Will you join with us in prayer as well? We are asking for your prayer support and we believe God will provide the rest. By faith, our best efforts will be blessed beyond our comprehension and God will make something very special from it all.
Beginning in January, 2006, the GospeLines team is starting a new phase of ministry by making ourselves available to churches, first in the USA, then to the uttermost parts of the world.This is where you can help.
First, we ask that you PRAY for us!
Secondly, we are seeking places to minister in Jesus' Name.If you are a member of a church which would possibly be interested in allowing us to come speak, please let us know as soon as possible.
Sherry has a dynamic testimony, and she also leads a seminar on Prayer and Fasting.Tommy has been a pastor for 25 years, and teaches New Testament, Old Testament, Introduction to the Gospels, and Business Ethics at a local university.Ron is an experienced teacher in Divorce Recovery, Marriage Conflict and Boundaries.This combination will offer your church a variety of possibilities for a weekend.In addition, there are others on the GospeLines team who will have limited availability as well.
We need to hear from you soon!If you would be interested in having us come, please write today.We will tell you how to approach your pastor and church about the possibility.Because we are going to have limited engagements the first year, we ask that you respond as quickly as possible.Please let us hear from you today.
At the bottom of this email we have added a partial list of possible seminars we can provide.
GospeLines Prayer: "Father, remind us that we have a reason to be alive! Empower the walk of everyone who reads this today, with the knowledge that, without our skills, without our gifts used for the Kingdom, the world would not be quite the same." Amen and amen.
1.Divorce and Recovery (Is there life after divorce?)
2.The Life and Teachings of Christ
3.Old Testament Nuggets (May include an outline of the O.T. if time permits)
4.New Testament Nuggets (We could include a study of one of Paul's letters)
5.God is Good All the Time (A study of the names and attributes of God)
6.Prayer and Fasting
7.Testimony: How I Went From Crime to Christ Playing Bible Bingo (You will NOT want to miss this!)
8.Maintaining Your Christian Ethics in a Hostile Workplace
9.How to Keep Your Faith and Keep Your Job (Witnessing on the job)
10.What's Legal and What's Not in the Workplace (What CAN you do to express your Christian values at work?)
11.God's definition of Marriage
12.Boundaries for the Christian
At a future date we may also add:
·Why does a good God let bad things happen?
·What does the Word say about healing?
·The Armor of God
·Who's in charge? (What does God say about authority?)
Wednesday: November 16, 2005
One Sunday morning during praise and worship service at a 2,000 member congregation, four men suddenly entered the church.They were covered from head to toe in black and carrying submachine guns.One of the men fired his weapon in the air and the church was silenced.
"Anyone who is willing to take a bullet for Christ remain standing where you are. Everyone else get out!"
Immediately, the choir fled... the band fled... the assistant pastors fled... the deacons fled... and most of the congregation fled jumping out of windows and stampeding out of doors and exits.
Out of the 2,000 people that were there only a few remained.A man, his wife and three kids stood boldly in their place.A young couple, holding hands and sweating did not move.The pastor with his family of 5 stood at the altar shaking and two older couples stood quietly in the church looking at the gunmen anticipating their next move.
The man who had spoken took off his hood, looked at the pastor and said, "Okay Pastor, I got rid of all the hypocrites... Now you may begin your service."
This fictional story may be a little extreme; but, it poses an excellent question.Would you risk your life and the lives of your family for Christ?In many parts of the world today, admitting that you are a Christian may cost your life.Even in America, our children cannot pray or read the bible in school; expression of your faith in the work place may cost your job; Military Chaplains can't use the name of Jesus; and, no city or town can display Christian theme decorations on public property at Christmas.
Canada has declared certain passages in the Holy Scripture as "hate speech" and will arrest pastors and laymen alike for reading or quoting these passages in public - even from their own pulpit.
Will you stand up for your Lord and Savior?It's easy when there is no cost involved.Will you continue to stand up for Him when the cost starts to soar?Many today can't even find their way to church every Sunday.Sunday evening or Wednesday evening services are very poorly attended in far too many churches.A recent survey showed that only 5% who profess to be Christians actually tithe.Do you think maybe they are the ones who didn't run?
Friends, Jesus warned that in the last days, "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold"(Matthew 24:12).He was talking about Christians, not to the unsaved!Let's pray that He was not talking about us.Let's pray that we will not run but that we will stand firm for our Lord because"he who stands firm to the end will be saved."(Matthew 10:22)
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 2:5
Thursday: November 17, 2005
The past few days have been difficult.I admit that I have been moody, short tempered, sarcastic and, over all, a very unpleasant person (I ask the Lord and my family to please forgive me).
For several days (weeks?), I continued in this morose attitude without really facing the root of my troubles.I was frustrated and overwhelmed.I could not believe that God had called me to do what I saw in front of me."I'm not worthy" kept revolving through my mind.
If you've been receiving GospeLines daily devotionals for a while, you have probably noticed that for several months I signed my devotionalsRon KillenU
Recently, I've been signing everything Pastor RonU
That's because for a long time I was embarrassed about saying I was a Pastor.I am ordained through United Christian Faith Ministries, not through my local church or as a result of receiving a degree from a recognized seminary.Still, I know in my heart that Jesus has personally called me to the ministry.He also reminded me that if I amashamed of my calling and His words in this adulterous and sinful generation, then He will be ashamed of me when I come before the Father (Mark 8:38 & Luke 9:26).
Like Paul, I feel that I am the least of those preaching the Gospel and do not even deserve to be called a Pastor (1st Corinthians 15:9); I am less than the least of all God's people (Ephesians 3:8) and the worst of sinners (1st Timothy 1:16).Still, God has called me to do His work.
God has given me the gift of gab... The ability to communicate through writing; and, He expects (commands) me to use it for His glory.It has nothing to do with me; it's all about Him.
Brothers and Sisters, I stand before each of you as a forgiven sinner; a child of God who has been called to be the Associate Pastor of this wonderful assembly of Christians called GospeLines.I am humbled; I am awed; I am grateful; and, I am willing to accept the call of our Lord and Savior to do His bidding.
Two days ago, Tommy and Sherry called me and prayed for me because "God told them I was in turmoil."God knew and He used these wonderful friends to make sure I understood His call.
I submit myself to you, to each of you.In Jesus name, I accept His call to minister to you, to love you and to accept responsibility for making sure each of you hear and understand the Gospel of Christ.I do not accept this lightly, but with the love of Christ in my heart and His Spirit burning in my soul.
I do not promise to be gentle or kind; but, I promise to always speak with the Words of the Lord.We are in the last days and we do not have time to be "accommodating."We must stand up for Jesus in all ways and take on the spiritual war with Satan on all fronts.We have the authority and we have the victory, IF we will speak the Words of the Lord.
As I write these words, I understand the reason for my frustration.Webster defines a Pastor as "A spiritual overseer; a clergyman serving a local church or parish." However, Webster defines an Apostle as "One sent on a mission."
God called me to be an Apostle to you, not a Pastor to a local church.I'll still sign my devotionals as Pastor RonU; however, I now know that my call is a mission; a mission to you.Join me in praying that God's will is fulfilled and that you are blessed by my interpretation of His words and my reflection of His love.You are my Brothers and Sisters in Christ and I love each and every one of you.
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 2:5
Friday: November 18, 2005
"Worship is Spirit and Truth"
"I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you.But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit - just as it has taught you, remain in Him."
These are the words of the Apostle John, written around 90 AD and recorded in 1st John 2:26-28.These words may call to your memory these words of Jesus: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."(John 14:26)
The anointing of the Holy Spirit is a gift from God."Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His(Holy)Spirit(Comforter, Teacher)in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."(2nd Corinthians 1:22)
Churches all over the world are filled every Sunday.Many are making plans to expand their facilities to accommodate the attendees.This is wonderful, if the churches are filled with worshipers and not just attendees.
How can you tell if someone is anointed and in church to worship the Lord; or, just "going through the motions" to be politically correct?Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will obey what I command....Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me.He who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him." (John 14:15, 21)
"People honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men....Listen and understand.What goes into a man's mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean." (Matthew 15:8-11)
Be strong brothers and sisters, many false prophets (and false worshipers) will appear and deceive many people.Because of people's increased wickedness (desire to make their own rules), the love of most (for the Lord) will grow cold. (Matthew 24:10-12)Worship the Father in spirit and truth. (John 4:23)"His anointing teaches you about all things and that anointing is real, not counterfeit." (1st John 2:27)Trust the Lord with all your heart - not your own understanding.In all ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path (and your worship). (Proverbs 3:5-6)