He Gloves Cuz He Loves

Did you ever feel like the Holy Spirit was convicting you of something that you needed to change in your life? Well, if not, you must have moved on to Heaven because I (and everyone I know) seem to go through this process all the time.

The problem is, of course, on our end of things, not on God’s end. But as often as we sense the conviction or the correction of the Spirit in our lives, one could tend to think that God may be angry with us. But, He’s not.

And how do we know that He’s not? Well, we know for certain because of Romans 5:1, which says “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We know because His relationship with us is based on the work of Jesus, not on our works. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

And we know this because of Romans 2:4, which says “Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”

The conviction of God comes in our lives, not because He is angry with us. It comes into our lives because of His kindness towards us. He’s only trying to help us, not to hurt us. He doesn’t get brownie points as a parent because He corrects us. He’s trying to help us all “grow up” and walk a life that is honoring to Him and helpful to others. The convictions and corrections of The Holy Spirit in our lives are supposed to be seen as a part of His grace for us. Only a parent who didn’t care about a child…would be silent.

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy…

Lord, have mercy. But first we need to understand what mercy is …and what grace is. And what’s the difference.

Grace is unmerited favor. It’s receiving something that we could never deserve. Like…eternal life.

Mercy is unmerited compassion. It’s not receiving something that we do deserve to receive. Like…judgment.

There was a man of God. He had a dream. The dream was of a giant honey pot being poured out on the masses of people. Some people loved the honey and embraced it. Some people looked at the honey in wonderment, trying to understand it. Other people were trying to push it away themselves, pushing it to the ground. The man said to God “what is this? God replied “It’s my mercy.”

Some people love God’s mercy. Some people wonder about God’s mercy. And some people reject God’s mercy.

But His mercy is available…for all of us.

So, have mercy. Why? Because God has mercy …for us.

Let’s have mercy. On others.

And let’s have mercy. On ourselves. (There’s a thought)

Titus 3:5 says “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

O.K. Lord, we will. We will receive, give, and …have mercy!

Purpose

In the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to different people about the purpose of life. In my devotions today, I came a cross Acts 20:24 which quotes Paul regarding his purpose in life. His purpose in life should be our purpose in life too. He says that his life is worthless if he doesn’t find out what Jesus wants him to do and then does it. I believe that every person is created with a position in God’s plan. Our goal should be to find that position and then fill it. Certainly, that position will be different for each person. And being a part of God’s plan does not require everyone to be in full time ministry. It requires us to fulfill whatever the Lord sets before us. The mystery in life is, of course, finding out what that position really is. If a person doesn’t care about finding God’s plan for their life, they are lost. But for the people that want to know what they are suppose to be doing, there is a mystery attached to the fulfillment of that plan. God rarely tells us, in obvious format, what that plan is. The reason that He doesn’t just shout it out to us is simple. He wants us to pursue Him in relationship in order for us to discover what He wants us to do. We are supposed to find Him in order to discover the purpose of our creation. In finding Him in a close relationship, we discover our true fulfillment. It sounds easy, but in my travels, I have found it to be more difficult than I would prefer. One of the reasons that it is difficult is because my flesh had no desire to pursue or “find” God. Whenever a person is the center of their own universe, it means that God is not the center and therefore not the priority on a day by day basis. In essence, when we are the center of our world, we become our own god. The answer seems simple enough. Make sure that Jesus is the center of our individual universe. Then make sure to continually draw close to Him. Then by drawing close to Him we will discover His plan for our lives. Then with the discovery, we need to fulfill His purpose. Then we will find true happiness, contentment, and fulfillment. Wow!

4th Excerpt from Section: “My Testimony”

CHURCH DISAPPOINTMENT? HIS APPOINTMENT!: Why God’s Plan for You…Involved a Painful Church Experience by David Spoon

4th Excerpt from Section: “My Testimony”

The eldest one, a hippie who was definitely stuck in the sixties, couldn’t help noticing that I had a gun pressed against my head. He politely inquired as to what I was doing and I just as politely told him that Stuart and I had decided that life wasn’t worth living and we were going to blow our brains out. The three janitors took on an unspoken mission, no doubt directed by God (remember, God can, will, and does use whatever is available to accomplish His plans. He used both a virgin (Mary) and a prostitute (Rahab) to bring about the birth of Christ. He even used a jackass to rebuke a prophet when Balaam got a mouthful from his own donkey (Numbers 22:30). And I know that He has used unlikely people and places and situations to work things out in your life too!). Instead of freaking out about what Stuart and I were doing, they asked us if we would give them a few moments of our time before we blew our brains out so that they could show us some cool things about life. If we didn’t agree with them, then we could go back to our task at hand. But what was a few extra moments of time to us if we were going to commit suicide anyway? We agreed. Then they asked me if I would please put the gun down for a little while. No problem. I was actually pretty curious about what they wanted to share.

True Blue, …Not So Hot!

 

The Blues! If you’re into music, then you know that the Blues represent a style of composition and melody dealing with a form of internal distress. That sounds similar to the way people feel in the world today. Bluesy…

It’s easy, in this world of ours, to look around and feel bluesy or …even depressed (the origin for the word depressed is “To press down”). Life can feel troubling.

There can be trouble in our physical world, trouble in our emotional world, trouble in our mental world, trouble in our relationship world, trouble in our financial world, and so on.

Walking in the mindset of the world will guarantee trouble in our hearts. I promise. And so does God.

But Jesus does not want us to live our life here on Earth in the mindset of the world. Jesus does not want us to live our lives in fear. Jesus does not want our hearts to be troubled.

Jesus wants us to walk in the gift that He left for us in order to help us overcome the Bluesy of life.

Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”.

We need to receive His gift. He gives it to us daily. Freely! It’s ours. He already gave it to us. We just need to …receive it. Peace.

Try To Take A Moment

 

I received a letter from someone last week. It was a hand written letter. In this age of word processors, computers, and emails, a written letter has become a rarity indeed. And that was one of the things that struck me about the letter.

It was a wonderful letter in regards to its content. Most of the communications that I receive are…actually very nice. (I do receive communications that are not so nice, but I try to handle them with a sincere sense of maturity…which is why I shred them immediately)

But what struck me was that the author…“took the time” to write his thoughts out and share them with me. He committed something that people don’t often give up these days: Time.

And the simplicity and the tone of his letter was a source of encouragement. But it was even more encouraging that he cared enough to communicate in a format that is labor intensive.

I know that it doesn’t seem like a lot, but Romans 12: 6-8 says: We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Without being too spiritual, this person took the time to write out a letter. And the results were that God used him (unknown to him) as a gift of encouragement for me. So…Slow Down! God will use you to be a blessing to others. If you take the time…

3rd Excerpt from Section: “My Testimony”

CHURCH DISAPPOINTMENT? HIS APPOINTMENT!: Why God’s Plan for You…Involved a Painful Church Experience by David Spoon

3rd Excerpt from Section: “My Testimony”

The greatest thing I remember about that, besides three hours of Hebrew and three hours of English a day (enough to drive any kid to drugs, which we’ll get to in a minute), is that they didn’t have a gym; they had a blacktop. Our gym was a blacktop. Do you know how much fun that was? Going from a school that cost millions of dollars with a beautiful gym, landscaping, and facilities, and then switch to Hillel… and their gym was a blacktop? There was no grass or anything; it was tough.

When I went to go for my bar mitzvah, it just so happened that a rabbi came in from Great Britain at the same time, so the place (Shari Zedek) was packed. When I did my haftorah (which was my reading of the portion), there were hundreds upon hundreds of people. My first time ever speaking in public, when I’m doing my haftorah, there was like… a bazillion people present (Okay, not a bazillion… but it sure felt like it). By the way, when you are a Jewish kid growing up in Hebrew School, all you hear about are the kids who faint when they do their haftorah. The warnings go around school for years, like legends echoing across generations. “You don’t want to faint. You don’t want to faint.”

Well…That's Good!

 

God brought all of us to the gospel. The word “Gospel” means good news. That’s what God brings to us. Good.

Take a look around you. If you watch television, listen to the radio, search the Internet or read magazines, the one thing that you will notice is that there is very little gospel or good news in the world.

In fact, there is fear, terror, anxiety, doubt, and doom from the world. Here is the kicker: If we are experiencing these dis-eases in our lives, then it is very likely that we are allowing the fowl influences of this world to affect us.

But Jesus brought us a different slant on life. In John 14:27, He said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”.

When we live our lives more freely from trouble, it means that we are walking more closely with the King of Kings. He wants us to be free from fear and trouble. So the question is…how are our hearts doing? Are we free or are we in bondage? Jesus came to set the captives free.

In Psalm 112:7, King David writes; He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. We need to be free from troubled and fearful hearts. We need to be under the influence of the Gospel. We need to be under the influence…of God. That’s good!

2nd Excerpt from Section: “My Testimony”

CHURCH DISAPPOINTMENT? HIS APPOINTMENT!: Why God’s Plan for You…Involved a Painful Church Experience by David Spoon

2nd Excerpt from Section: “My Testimony”

I grew up in Southfield, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. We lived on a street called Catalina. Our house was a typical four bedroom with a classic basement. The basement was where we played for hours and hours. It had a hard floor with four different rooms, including the laundry room. We would roller skate, play “Adam-Twelve” with our guns, and throw stuff down the laundry chute from the top level and watch it collide with the floor. I had friends living in houses all around ours. It was a clean neighborhood with “quality” people and little crime. Initially, I attended a new elementary school called “Adler.” I started my educational endeavors the first year that it opened and was in the first graduating class that went from kindergarten all the way through sixth grade.

4th Excerpt from Section: “The Compassion of God”

CHURCH DISAPPOINTMENT? HIS APPOINTMENT!: Why God’s Plan for You…Involved a Painful Church Experience by David Spoon

4th Excerpt from Section: “The Compassion of God”

God knew my heart at that moment. It was not one of pride, but one of resoluteness. I was determined to finish this Christian journey that I started, but not with the spirit of Saul, Laban, or Judas. My name is David, and I will follow the example of my name’s sake. The Lord is my Shepherd.

After the phone call, my head was spinning. I had to evaluate what my life had been so far and seek God’s wisdom for what my life would become. But there was a stumbling block. I was mad at God. I know I’m not supposed to be, or even allowed to be. But I was. Me and Job! Yes, he did great for two chapters, but then fell in the commode from chapter three to chapter thirty-one. He cursed the day he was born. I did not do that. He wished he had been a stillborn child. I did not do that. He was mad because he felt that he was just and justified. Okay, so I did do that. But I didn’t curse the day of my birth; I cursed the day I met Ken.