Understanding Poverty

Author Ruby Payne: Understanding the Framework of Poverty

If an individual cannot plan, he or she cannot
predict.
If an individual cannot predict, he or she cannot
identify cause and effect.
If an individual cannot identify cause and effect, he
or she cannot identify consequences.
If an individual cannot identify consequences, he or
she cannot control impulsivity.
If an individual cannot control impulsivity, he or she
is inclined toward criminal behavior.

Sound Doctrine

Titus 2:1–8

1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

Sound doctrine is not always what a person wants to hear.

When a church or person is growing in the faith they need sound doctrine.

They will have new people, new problems, new pains, and diversity of ages.

There will be people from everywhere trying to educate you in the faith and sound doctrine can make a difference if you will be able to hold out or give out!

Be careful with your advice to young believers!

Remember they don’t have a faith background.

They come from the street with a totally different understanding of what is right.

Having people of all ages in a church can strengthen it, but it also can bring problems.

Paul gave Titus counsel on how to help various groups of people.

The older people should teach the younger by words and by example.

This is how values are passed on from generation to generation.

Titus was to teach all the new converts to become “sound in the faith” (1:13).

Titus 2:1 (12TT): But as for you, teach what is consistent with sound doctrine. 

Whereas the false teachers were deceivers (1:10), Titus was to teach sound doctrine, the “trustworthy message” of the gospel (1:9).

Believers must be grounded in the truths of the Bible, then they won’t be swayed by the powerful rhetoric of false teachers and heresy, the possible devastation of tragic circumstances, or the pull of emotions.

Knowledge and acceptance ofsound doctrine” should lead to righteous living.

Behavior should match belief; thus, in the following verses, Paul gave Titus examples of the right behavior expected of several types of people in the churches.

SOUND DOCTRINE

Sound doctrine rings true. It combines correct knowledge and understanding with consistent practice.

How do we know if our Christian doctrine is sound?

  1. It is found in the Bible.
  2. It keeps Jesus Christ central.
  3. It results in consistently good behavior and actions.
  4. It promotes spiritual health in ourselves and others.

Those responsible for preaching and teaching must challenge people to understand sound doctrine.

We may become so caught up in relating to felt needs that we ignore their connection to sound biblical knowledge.

Reaching out to people where they are should not result in scriptural ignorance. Most important is what does the bible say about this situation.

1.    Living by faith and not lead by emotions. 

2.    Don’t believe everything you feel.

3.    Feelings are not facts.

Just because I feel useless, hopeless, unlovable, and worthless, doesn’t mean you am. This might seem obvious to some but emotions can be convincing and the evidence seems to abound to confirm said subjective experience.

Recognize feelings for what they are: feelings; not facts, not the Truth, not edicts.

What Does the Bible say about emotions? 

Living by faith and not allowing our emotions to lead us can be complicated to tackle. 

Our feelings can change at the drop of a hat, the tune of a song, or the embrace of a friend.

Can we trust our own feelings, allowing them to guide our decisions if they are so quickly changing?

Are they something to rule our lives? Are they something that should guide our decisions?

Scripture On Managing Our Emotions

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. -Proverbs 16:32

Why did God give us our emotions?

In Proverbs 28:26 it tells us if we trust in our hearts, we are fools. 

Proverbs 12:15 says the way of the fool is right in his own eyes.

God gave us our feelings and emotions for a reason.

Living by faith doesn’t mean we ignore them.

They are not evil by themselves, but what we allow our thoughts to dwell on may be negative and causing an unhealthy overload of negative emotions

Our Emotions are a Gauge, Not a Guide

It will be in our best interest if we learn how to handle our feelings by responding well. Let’s try to remember 

2 Corinthians 10:5 when dealing with my feelings and thought process. 

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV 

Sometimes I can’t help the way I feel, but I can help how I react to those feelings.

I can submit them to God and His will for my life.

Choosing to respond in a way that is based on God’s truth for my life and the situation.

By doing that I’m honoring God. Intentionally putting faith over my feelings.

Ephesians 4:26 (AV)

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Just like handling our business we often have to handle our faith with Sound Doctrine!!!

Living By Faith Not Feelings

Our thoughts are what trigger our feelings.

Our feelings are very real but can be based or triggered by a negative, overthinking, thought process instead of the truth.  

When we find ourselves going through a hard time and the walls are closing in with no light at the end of the tunnel. Anxiety. Fear. Grief. Anger.

All those emotions can be overwhelming.

Crashing in on us.

Those are the moments when God reminds us to not be afraid, focus on His truth, and rest in Him. Sound Doctrine!

Living By Faith

Jesus, God in the flesh, experienced a wide range of emotions during his 33 years on this earth

Scripture tells us what He felt and experienced, specifically, during his three-year public ministry.

And while we might tend to think that being unemotional means being more spiritual or Spirit-controlled, Scripture clearly shows that Jesus exercised a healthy amount of emotion and self-control. –Crosswalk

We know that He is “near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Ps. 34:18). We can cast all our anxieties on Him because we are assured that He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

Isaiah 41:10

Standing in the Truth of God as broken and emotional people, remembering that God made our emotions and gives us a time to mourn and laugh. Recognizing them and submitting them one by one to Christ is the moving forward in a way that honors God.

Living by Faith and truly believing what the Bible says is what will transform our thought process and therefore help to keep our feelings in check and standing firm in our faith.

Living by Sound Teaching

Titus 2

Living By Faith Not Feelings

Our thoughts are what trigger our feelings.

Our feelings are very real but can be based or triggered by a negative, overthinking, thought process instead of the truth.  

When we find ourselves going through a hard time and the walls are closing in with no light at the end of the tunnel. Anxiety. Fear. Grief. Anger.

All those emotions can be overwhelming.

Crashing in on us.

Those are the moments when God reminds us to not be afraid, focus on His truth, and rest in Him. Sound Doctrine!

Worship and/or Praise is what I do!

1 Samuel 2:1–2 (NLT)

Hannah’s Prayer of Praise

Then Hannah prayed:

“My heart rejoices in the Lord!

The Lord has made me strong.

Now I have an answer for my enemies;

I rejoice because you rescued me.

No one is holy like the Lord!

There is no one besides you;

there is no Rock like our God.

Praising God will increase your faith in such times.

See, as we spend time praising God, we can recount the great things

He has done in our lives, other people’s lives, and even the great things the Lord did in the Bible.

When we do this, our souls are reminded of God’s goodness, which builds our faith.

Praise stems from recognizing the good acts of God but worship is not a function of the acts of God.

Worship comes from the core of who the worshipper is and what God means to the them.

Beloved, if you understand the difference between the two, you will have a better understanding of honoring God.

Praise is appreciating of God, especially in songs.

It is joyfully recounting everything that God has done and showing him gratitude for it.

Praise usually goes along with thanksgiving, appreciating God for all the might and good works He has done in our lives.

Praise is a universal thing and can be applied to anybody.

It doesn’t require much from us other than the acknowledgement of the righteous acts of God.

In the Bible, praise is usually presented as highly-spirited, joyful and uninhibited.

God asks all creation to praise him. {Let everything that have breathe to praise ye the Lord}

Worship, on the other hand, goes deeper than praise.

It is something that comes from the spirit.

It is often said that it is an attitude or state of the heart.

In the Bible, Jesus spoke about worship in John 4 verse 23.

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

Worship for Christians goes beyond singing.

Songs are just tools for worshipping.

Praise stems from recognizing the good acts of God but worship is not a function of the acts of God.

Worship comes from the core of who the worshipper is and what God means to the them.

In true worship, a Christian is required to surrender himself/herself totally to God and adore Him not just for what He has done but for who He is.

Beloved, when talking about the meaning of worship, it involves bowing low before the Lord, not only physically, but also in the heart.

Real and true worship is insightful and reflective.

Worship is a lifestyle, and it is not just limited to when people raise their hands to sing to God in church.

And praise comes from a heart of worship.

Praise and worship are not limited to just Christians.

People sing praises of other people also and even praises to false gods.

People also worship other fellow human beings, especially when that person means everything to them.

So, worship can also be seen as an act of reverence and honor for someone or something that a person places his/her faith in.

This morning we have another woman who had experience the awe of God by his mighty act.

Hannah had suffered by not having any children.

Hannah had been humiliated by not having any children.

Hannah had been seen as not being complete by not having any children.

Hannah lost her self esteem and self worth because felt she was a failure in life.

Life needs purpose and in the Old Testament times a woman purpose was to give her husband a child and especially a son.

Beloved, Hannan was unable to produce.

Hannan was on the verge of depression.

Jehovah rescued her by giving her a purpose and meaning to want to live.

Jehovah Jireh My Provider. You are more than enough for me.

Jehovah Raepha You’re my healer. By your stripes I’ve been set free.

Jehovah Shammah You are with me. To Supply All My Needs. You are more than enough. More than enough.

Jehovah Shalom You are my peace.

Hannan who life was changed by one act from God.

Psalm 34:1–6 (NLT)

I will praise the Lord at all times.

I will constantly speak his praises.

I will boast only in the Lord;

let all who are helpless take heart.

Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;

let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.

He freed me from all my fears.

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;

no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;

he saved me from all my troubles.

Now let me just break it down!

Luke 4:8

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

You can Praise God and not serve Him but you cannot Worship God and not Serve Him.

Matthew 6:24 (KJV)
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

You cannot live your best until you have been weaned

1 Samuel 1:23–24 (NLT)

23 “Whatever you think is best,” Elkanah agreed. “Stay here for now, and may the Lord help you keep your promise.” So she stayed home and nursed the boy until he was weaned.

24 When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine.

To be weaned is to be separated from that which you have become accustom to and feel you cannot manage life without.

To be weaned is to separate from that which you dependent on and that can be something or someone.

To be weaned is to be separated from that which you have grown fond of.

That which has a strong influence on your life for a long time or from an early age.

As an adult it can be:

  1. Public opinion
  2. Past Success
  3. Past failure
  4. Fear of Failure
  5. Fear of Change
  6. Fear of just moving Forward
  7. Fear of Separation

Matthew 14:29 tells us …

In the storm Peter got out of the boat and walked on the angry sea walking toward Jesus.

Let’s put our thoughts on walk. After you have been in a situation for a long period of time without seeing any improvement have you considered getting up and just walking.

John 5:8

The man by the pool was making excuses about not getting heal until Jesus told him to just take up his bed and walk.

Separate yourself from whatever been keeping you from doing your best.

When you are weaned, your desire will change.

1 Peter 2:2–3 (KJV 1900)

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

1 Corinthians 3:1–3 (NLT)

Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ.

I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready,

for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?

1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)

 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

Paul said he was weaned from things that keep him from doing his best for the Lord.

When you are truly weaned your distance and difference change.

2 Corinthians 6:14 (KJV 1900)

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

I had to be weaned from four type people in my life.

  1. Negative talking people
  2. Negative thinking people
  3. People who discourage me from walking
  4. People who we unequally yoked to me

I had to wean myself of these personalities.

  1. Self-defeating thoughts
  2. Unforgiveness
  3. Uncontrol anger
  4. Holding grudges
  5. Negative feeling
  6. Looking in the rear-view mirror of life
  7. Looking to far in the distance
  8. Worry
  9. Depending on self and others men

Once I was weaned, I had to live on the word of God.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT2)
11  For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Genesis 50:19–20 (NLT)

19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you?

20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

Romans 8:28 (NLT)

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Psalm 37

 Don’t worry about the wicked

or envy those who do wrong.

For like grass, they soon fade away.

Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

Trust in the Lord and do good.

Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.

Take delight in the Lord,

and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.

Trust him, and he will help you.

Jeremiah makes it clear when he says the Lord knew him before he was born and the Lord had an appointment on his life before he was born.

Jeremiah just had to wean himself of something so he just like Samuel could do his best!

Closing:

Psalm 139:14 (KJV 1900)

14I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:

Marvellous are thy works;

And that my soul knoweth right well.

When I figured out how God made me many of my problems were solved.

Live so Others can see Jesus in me!

“After all I been through Praise God”

For Unexpected blessing and miracles

Ruth 1:3–5 (NLT)

Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons.

The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later,

both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband.

Ruth 1:15–18 (NLT)

15 “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.

17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”

18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.

Ruth 4:13–17 (NLT)

 13 So Boaz took Ruth into his home, and she became his wife. When he slept with her, the Lord enabled her to become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son.

14 Then the women of the town said to Naomi, “Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel.

15 May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!”

16 Naomi took the baby and cuddled him to her breast. And she cared for him as if he were her own.

17 The neighbor women said, “Now at last Naomi has a son again!” And they named him Obed. He became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of David.

Naomi was a good woman yet I see Ruth as virtuous woman.

Ruth handles the bad days, weeks, months and years not like the average woman but as a virtuous woman.

How are you handling your pain?

Proverbs 31:10 (KJV 1900)

10    Who can find a virtuous woman?

For her price is far above rubies.

When I speak of a virtuous person.

  1. Someone that is valuable
  2. Someone that is trustworthy
  3. Someone that is wise
  4. Someone who is good
  5. Someone who is a hard worker
  6. Someone who is productive
  7. Someone who is strong
  8. Someone with the right temperament
  9. Someone who has faith in God
  10. Someone with a servant’s heart
  11. Someone who serve with all their heart, mind, and soul
  12. Someone who is cheerful instead of being bitter and complaining about the realities of life.
  13. Someone who seeks God’s purpose for their life

Ruth’s life brought praises to God from those who knew her to be a virtuous woman.

If your life has been difficult can other still see Jesus in you.

  1. In your walk
  2. In your talk
  3. The way live
  4. The way you give

Matthew 5:16 (KJV 1900)

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The believer does not have inherent light; rather we have reflective light. As we behold the glory of the Lord, we reflect it.

Therefore, we need to make sure that nothing comes between us and the Lord’s light (see 2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 2:14–16).

As believers behold the glory of God in the Word of God, the Spirit of God transforms them into the likeness of Jesus Christ. This is a description of the gradual process of sanctification.

Phil 2:14

Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you.

WE NEED TO HEAR THE SPIRIT

Revelation 3:6

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Revelation 3:6 (NLT)

“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

Ephesians 2

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

YOU KNOW YOUR CHURCH IS DYING A SLOW DEATH WHEN?

  1. No Open vision for the church
  2. People stop forgiving one another and start holding grudges
  3. People stop attending
  4. Living in the past glory of the church
  5. The offering is decreasing
  6. The excitement is going
  7. The lack of commitment and accountability
  8. The young people stop coming
  9. Arguing and division is everywhere
  10. All actions are inward with little or no outward mission
  11. No community focus or ministry/ No Evangelism
  12. Not seeking to reach the lost or those who have strayed away
  13. Not warm toward visitors
  14. A feeling of we only want people like us

Sardis was the capital of the Lydian Empire and was still an important city during the Roman Empire.

Sar’dis had become famous for their abilities in arts and crafts.

They made lavish use of the local brightly colored and semi-precious stones such as fire opal and banded agate.

The Sar’dians also had a process in which they used blue stone that they mined nearby.

Their jewelry was renown throughout the empire.

Some historians claim that Sardis was the first city to mint coinage using the precious metals; gold and silver.

The nearby mountains were dotted with gold mines thus making the city the monetary capital of the region.

The patron deity, named Cybele, was believed to possess the power and ability of restoring the dead back to life.

The Romans built a temple for the goddess Artemis and a large bath-gymnasium complex.  

NOW WE NEED TO HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH.

You can look alive on the outside but dead on the inside.

Matthew 23:27 (NLT2)
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.

HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING….

Revelation 3:1–3 (NLT)

Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars:

I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead.

Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God.

Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.

Revelation 3:5 (NLT)

All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.

Luke 10:20 (KJV)
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

More important than the disciples’ authority over spirits was their position as God’s children.

Their names were known to God and were written in God’s book.

This was the disciples’ greatest blessing.

The church must wake up and stop worrying about titles, positions, buildings, and know that our bodies are temples for the Holy Ghost and the greatest joy is having our names written in the Lambs book of life.

Paul asked the believers have you received the Holy Ghost.

If the church is filled with people with the Holy Ghost the thing in our church is that our names are not blotted out of the Book of Life.

2006 PAUL MOTON WROTE “NOT ME LORD!”

It was in Late August of 2005 Hurricane Katrine took both of Paul’s churches, his automobiles, his income, separated him from that which he loved singing and preaching.

It brought memories of the lost of his grandbaby, his nervous breakdown, and his cancer.

Song: Before I ever say one word
Lord, concentrate me
Before I ever sing a song
Lord, clean my heart
You have my permission to do
Whatever You need to do
Because I don’t want them to hear me
I want them to hear You, ohhhh
Not me, Lord, You

We still need Integrity

Integrity makes a difference when it comes to Restoration

The integrity of church and Christianity is on the front line.

The Covid has placed both the church and its leaders there.

Now is not about how much money your church is raising or whether you are being paid fairly. Now is the time to engage people with the truth of the gospel and encourage them to get a vaccination.

Stop waiting on the church to gather inside again and just like John the Baptist in the wilderness go forth and tell those closest and near you.

  1. Wear a mask
  2. Wash your hands
  3. Socially distance
  4. Take the vaccine

That safe lives and just maybe your life…..

Do you have integrity?

There are so many reasons why integrity is important in ourselves and in life in general.

While integrity does still exist today, it is not as prevalent as it was in times gone by.

Integrity could be defined by saying it is the type of person you are in your inner self or when you are by yourself.

  1. You are honest
  2. You are trustworthy

Integrity is the essence of who you choose to be when hard choices press you and there are some choices that may not be as ethical.

  1. INTEGRITY MAKES YOU A BETTER PERSON

2.    ITEGRITY GIVES YOU A GOOD REPUTATION

3.    ITEGRITY IS UNCOMMON

4.    ITEGRITY SHOWS WHO YOU REALLY ARE

5.    OTHERS WILL APPRECIATE THAT YOU INTEGRITY

6.    YOU WILL REAP BENEFITS OF A LIFE WITH INTRGRITY

7.    ITEGRITY IS THE RIGHT WAY TO LIVE

Are you maintaining your integrity?

What does the Bible say about integrity?

Integrity is a long-term character trait.

Caleb was faithful from the start.

As one of the original spies sent into the Promised Land (Numbers 13:30–33), he saw great cities and giants, yet he knew God would help the people conquer the land.

Because of his faith, God promised him a personal inheritance of land (Numbers 14:24; Deuteronomy 1:34–36). Here, forty-five years later, the land was given to him.

HIS FAITH WAS STILL UNWAVERING.

The integrity with which he had boldly contradicted the cowardly advice of the ten spies years before was as strong as ever.

Although his inherited land still had giants, Caleb knew the Lord would help him conquer them.

Like Caleb, we must be faithful to God, not only at the start of our walk with him, but through our entire lives.

We must never allow ourself to rest on our past accomplishments or reputations.

MAY INTEGRITY AND HONESTY PROTECT ME, FOR I PUT MY HOPE IN YOU. (PSALM 25:21)

Integrity is being what we say we are. CALLED BY GOD!!!

If ever we needed two powerful forces to preserve us along life’s way, we need integrity and honesty.

The psalmist asks for these to protect him step-by-step.

Honesty makes us learn God’s requirements and strive to fulfill them.

Integrity—being what we say we are—keeps us from claiming to be honest while living as if we do not know God.

Honesty says, “This is the Shepherd’s way,” and integrity says, “I will walk consistently in it.”

(Luke 16:10–11)

Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?

ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT TESTS OF INTEGRITY IS WEALTH.

Our integrity often meets its match in money matters.

God calls us to be honest even in small details we could easily rationalize away. Heaven’s riches are far more valuable than earthly wealth.

But if we are not trustworthy with our money here (no matter how much or how little we have), we will be unfit to handle the vast riches of God’s kingdom.

Don’t let your integrity slip in small matters, and it will not fail you in crucial decisions either.

God trusted me with the ministry of Coffee Time with the Preacher

God trusted me with the 8:30 hour daily.

God trusted that I would be on time daily and prepared.

The ministry is God’s, the people are his, and the time is his.

Things come up that test my integrity to what it is that God has given me.

Coffee Time is small but I must be faithful.

WHAT INTEGRITY IS NOT…

Job 2:7–10 (NLT)

So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot.

Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.”

10 But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.

Integrity does not give up on God

Integrity does not question the will of God in others life

Integrity trusted God unto the end.

God gave Job’s wife to him as a helpmate

God gave Job’s wife to him as an encourager

God gave Job’s wife to help bear the burden

She had enjoyed the good times in life now her integrity was being tested to see if she could or would support her husband during the worst trail of his life.

Integrity in marriage is not those years of vacation and travel but those years of sickness and failing health.

Can you keep your integrity for better or for worse?

“James Cleveland once sang a song”

My way may not easy
You did not say that it would be
But when it gets dark
I can’t see my way
You told me to put my trust in Thee
That’s why I’m asking you
Lord Jesus Lord Jesus Help me to Hold out I am just
about to make it over I need a little help the
Devil tryn to stop me

Lord I need you to help me to hold out
though the mountain tops to high
I need you to help me to hold out
Give me the patience I need to hold out
Thank you Jesus—Until

until my change come

Your integrity may be on trail in 2021 keep holding on to God unchanging hands….


The Mystery of Suffering

2020 to 2021 has been upsetting for me. I have witnessed the suffering and death of love ones from Covid and other forms of sickness and disease.

Some got sick and got well, some got sick and the side affects linger, while others got sick and died.  

The Mystery of Suffering

Job 2:10

Job replied, You talk like a godless woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.

There is nothing left for Job but to lament.

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

He refuses to lay the blame on himself falsely, and he refuses to blame or abandon God.

But he does not hesitate to express his anguish in the strongest terms.

Let the day perish in which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man-child is conceived’” (Job 3:3).

Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?” (Job 3:11).

“Or why was I not buried like a stillborn child, like an infant that never sees the light?” (Job 3:16).

Why is light given to one who cannot see the way, whom God has fenced in?” (Job 3:23).

Notice that Job’s lament is almost entirely in the form of questions.

THE CAUSE OF HIS SUFFERING IS A MYSTERY.

INDEED, IT MAY BE THE GREATEST MYSTERY OF FAITH.

Why does God allow people he loves to suffer?

Job does not know the answer, so the most honest thing he can do is ask questions.

Regrettably, Job’s friends are not able to endure the mystery of his suffering, so they jump to conclusions about its source.

The first of the three, Eliphaz, acknowledges that Job has been a source of strength to others (Job 4:3-4).

But then he turns and puts the blame for Job’s suffering squarely on Job himself.

“Think now,” he says, “who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off?

As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same” (Job 4:7-8).

Job’s second friend, Bildad, says much the same.

See, God will not reject a blameless person nor take the hand of evildoers” (Job 8:20). (Miss judging God.)

The third friend, Zophar, repeats the refrain.

“If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, do not let wickedness reside in your tents.

Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure, and will not fear.…Your life will be brighter than the noonday” (Job 11:14-1517).

Their reasoning is a form of logic.

God sends calamities upon wicked people only.

  1. You have suffered a calamity.
  2. Therefore, you must be wicked.
  3. Job himself avoids this false logic.
  4. But it is very commonly accepted by Christians.

It is called a theology of divine retribution, and it assumes that God blesses those who are faithful to him and punishes those who sin.

It is not entirely without biblical support.

There are many cases in which God sends calamity as a punishment, as for example he did at Sodom (Genesis 19:1-29).

Often, our experiences do bear out this theological position.

In most situations, things turn out better when we follow God’s ways than when we forsake them.

However, God does not always work that way.

Jesus himself pointed out that disaster is not necessarily a sign of God’s judgment (Luke 13:4).{When he addressed the 18 who died at the tower being the most wick?)

In Job’s case, we know the theology of divine retribution is not true because God says that Job is a righteous man (Job 1:82:3).

Job’s friends’ disturbing error is to apply a generalization to Job’s situation, without knowing what they’re talking about.

Anyone who has spent time with a suffering friend knows how hard it is to remain present without trying to give answers or make sense out of the situation.

It is excruciating to suffer silently with a friend who must rebuild life piece by piece, without any certainty about the outcome.

Our instinct is to investigate what went wrong and identify a solution.

Then we imagine we can help our friend eliminate the cause and get back to normal as soon as possible.

Knowing the cause, we will at least know how to avoid the same fate ourselves.

We would rather give a reason for the suffering — be it right, be it wrong — than to accept the mystery at the heart of suffering.

Job’s friends succumb to this temptation.

It would be foolish to imagine that we would never do the same.

How much harm have well-intentioned Christians caused by giving pious-sounding answers to suffering, even though we have no idea what we’re talking about?

 “It’s all for the best.”

 “It’s part of God’s plan.”

“God never sends people more adversity than they can handle.”

How arrogant to imagine we know God’s plan.

How foolish to think we know the reason for anyone else’s suffering.

We don’t even know the reason for our own suffering.

 It would be more truthful — and far more helpful — to admit, “I don’t know why this happened to you. No one should have to go through this.”

 If we can do this, and then remain present, we may become an agent of God’s compassion.

Job’s friends can’t lament with Job or even acknowledge that they lack a basis for judging him.

They are hell-bent (literally, given Satan’s role) on defending God by placing the blame on Job.

As the friends’ speeches continue, their rhetoric becomes increasingly hostile.

Faced with the self-imposed choice of blaming Job or blaming God, they harden their hearts against their former friend. “There is no end to your iniquities,” says Eliphaz (Job 22:5), and then he invents some iniquities to charge against Job.

“You have given no water to the weary to drink, and you have withheld bread from the hungry” (Job 22:8).

 “You have sent widows away empty-handed, and the arms of the orphans you have crushed” (Job 22:9).

Zophar’s last speech observes that wicked persons will not enjoy their riches because God will make their stomachs “vomit them up again” (Job 20:15) and that “They will give back the fruit of their toil, and will not swallow it down; from the profit from their trading they will get no fruit of their enjoyment” (Job 20:18).

This is an appropriate righting of the wicked’s wrongdoing, that “they have crushed and abandoned the poor,  they have seized a house that they did not build” (Job 20:19). The reader knows this does not apply to Job. Why is Zophar so eager to blame Job?

Are we sometimes too eager to follow in Zophar’s footsteps when our friends face failures in work and life?

The book of Job demands that we see ourselves in the faces of Job’s friends. We too — presumably — know right from wrong, and have some sense of God’s ways.

But we do not know all of God’s ways as they apply in all times and places.

 “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6).

God’s ways are often a mystery beyond our understanding.

Is it possible that we also are guilty of ignorant judgments against our friends and co-workers?

But it doesn’t have to be friends who accuse us. Unlike Job, most of us are quite ready to accuse ourselves.

Anyone who has tasted failure has likely pondered, “What have I done to deserve this?” It’s natural, and not altogether incorrect.

Sometimes out of sheer laziness, bad data or incompetence, we make poor decisions that cause us to fail at work.

However, not all failures are the direct result of our own shortcomings.

Many are the result of circumstances outside our control.

Workplaces are complex, with many factors competing for our attention, many ambiguous situations, and many decisions where the outcomes are impossible to predict. How do we know whether we are following God’s ways all the time?

How could we or anyone genuinely know whether our successes and failures are due to our own actions or to factors beyond our control?

How could an outsider judge the rightness of our actions without knowing the intimate details of our situations?

Indeed, how could we even judge ourselves, give the limits of our own knowledge?