10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
Who searches your heart? The Lord Jesus searches your heart. Have you ever really thought about that, Jesus is searching your heart, He is examining the deepest and the innermost chambers of your heart. What is He finding? This is pretty serious stuff. He is searching your heart and testing the mind. Consider this scripture this way, Jesus searches your heart to examine it, to see what is really there. He is not about what you say or your many tasks you do for Him. He searches your heart and then He develops a test. What He finds in your heart could very well be what directs His test. It adds a whole new meaning to guard your heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 27:19 states, "As water reflects the face, so one's life reflects the heart." Do you see why Jesus would feel it necessary to search our heart? He must, for everything will flow from it. He gathers info from our heart and tests our mind. Even to the extent that He grades the test. Go back to Jeremiah 17:10 where He says even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings. Not only does He search your heart, not only does He test your mind, but He grades the test, and ranks the class. He gives according to the fruit of our doings. We pray and we ask for blessings all the time, as we should, we should ask for our provision and protection etc.. However, if our daily walk reflects a choice to turn away from God, then expect to rewarded based on the fruit of that doing. You can't cuss like a sailor and pray for calm seas. Well, I guess you can but all you will receive is what you and you alone can control. Last I checked a sailor has very little control of the sea.
Brother Big, Daddy
15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”
When life throws you a curve who do seek? Who do you call upon? What to call upon? Do you turn to your friends for comfort? Perhaps your parents. Do you depend upon Jesus Christ to comfort you and protect you. The whos and whats we turn to in the day of trouble are countless; however, Jesus should be the first line of defense and comfort. Truly everything should flow from Him. He tells us to call upon Him, this is not presented as an option; it is a command. Plain and simple, we are commanded to call upon Him in our time of need. We are to seek Him for refuge and protection, for guidance and direction. He issues a guarantee, He will deliver us. God tells us to call upon Him because He is certain that He will deliver. He knows He will protect. He knows He will provide. He knows He will deliver. Out of the trouble comes the glory of God. He will be glorified but here is the beauty of it all, we will glorify Him! We will be able to praise His name and glorify Him. Today praise Jesus and call upon Him? Seek Him with you whole heart. Do not depend on your fellow man depend upon Jesus. Hold on to Jesus and let His Word guide you. Praise Him today and trust Him today. Trust His Word today, He will deliver you. Love Jesus today with all your heart He already loves you more than you could imagine.
Brother Big Daddy
10 If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.
The word faint means:
to sink, relax, sink down, let drop, be disheartened. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever been disheartened? Have you ever been in a place where you just gave up? When that happens you are not drawing on the strength that comes from Jesus Christ. You have abandoned His strength and laid claim to your own strength. This is not what Jesus wants for you and it is certainly not want you need to get you through the day. Your strength is small and your abilities to conquer this world are small. However, you have all the power you need to handle any task living within you. The Holy Spirit empowers us, leads us, and directs us. Of course I am speaking to those who know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I am talking to those who have surrendered their lives to Him as Lord. He is in control and it must stay that way. When we start to take back the reins, we begin a journey to destruction. We cannot possibly think that we know what is better for our lives or our plan is better than God's plan. Romans 8:37 describes us as more than conquerors; 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. It does not say that we are more than conquerors on our own. When we are following God, all is well. When we are following our own foolish desires, it is not good and we will not make it. We are a very short walk away from being recycled. We are so close to hearing these words from Jesus, well, you really didn't get anything out of this trial or storm, you are still a person who has to control everything, you still depend on yourself and not me, but its ok I love you and I will go to great links to teach you so take a deep breath and get ready for your next opportunity. There is a better way. Let us just depend on Him, let Him drive, let us be more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. He is Our Lord, alleluia and He is our Savior, alleluia. He has us and will protect us and will empower us. Even if the storm that life throws at us seems so unbearable, even if the storm life makes us so weak let us remember 2 Corinthians 12:9, "And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." My brothers and sisters let the power of Christ rest upon us, today and everyday.
Brother Big Daddy
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
As a pastor, God has blessed me with the awesome opportunity to sit down and listen and help God's children through many different storms. One thing t God has revealed to me through these times is the need for God's children to here from God through His Word before they make a decision. The response to the question, has God confirmed your actions through your time with Him in His Word is many times a blank stare. The reality of many times is we have not been in God's Word to hear from God's Word. We have heard sermons, we have even been exposed to scripture, but truly being directed by God through the direction and instruction of His Word is not always happening. It is certainly a part of our walk that is being neglected. God will direct you through His Word and it is powerful direction. It is just as powerful as when He told His people to march around the Walls of Jericho seven times and they did. It is just as powerful as when a little shepherd boy picked up a rock and destroyed a giant. It is just as powerful as when Gideon separated his soldiers by how they drank their water and took only a few when it seemed they would need many. God still speaks and He uses His written Word to conform in us what He is doing. I think we have become a people who rely on feelings and emotions and have neglected the Word. God still speaks to us through a small still voice, and yes He will direct your thoughts and guide your mind. His Word will confirm this direction and establish a strong foundation that will mold and shape us. The timing of His Word is perfect. The Word of God is so important because it is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. There are times when our flesh can be deceiving us, leading us down the path of destruction. The Word of God can and does discern the thoughts and intent of our heart. This discernment is expressed through conviction that is revealed by the Word of God. If you are not in the Word, you are taking to big a risk. You are taking unnecessary risk. Study God's Word seek him with all your heart and have His Word confirm your leap of faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
How does the Word of God address our day to day? Here in 2 Corinthians 4:17 He declares them to be light afflictions. Now I know this is very difficult for us to wrap our minds around when we are in the middle of a very difficult time. I in no way believe that Jesus is minimizing or saying that these things are not a big deal. After all the scripture tells us that when Jesus saw the pain of Mary and her anguish when her brother died, He wept. The truth is Jesus knows how our heart can anguish and He knows that the pain can be so piercing; however, He also knows all about heaven and what eternity is all about. He knows that the pain we suffer today builds us eternally. Our heart may ache with the struggles of today but spiritually our heart will grow more and more like the heart of Christ if we will focus on the eternal. How do we do this? Verse 18 says we must look at the things which are not seen. We tend to look each and every day at the things that are seen. Many times those things are filled with pain and strife; however, if we look past these temporary things we will find eternal crowns in heaven. We will find spiritual growth that produces fruit that impacts the kingdom. Souls are saved, lives changed for Jesus Christ, and the Kingdom of God glorified. This is how God chose it to be; the Kingdom is built and ministered by the obedience of His children. Our love for Him drives our obedience to Him and thus brings glory to Him. Our sadness is not wrong, our pain is real, our tears are real, but with the right focus it will all lead to a spiritual stability that only Jesus can provide.
Brother Big Daddy
The Lukewarm Church
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”
The Church at Laodicea is the only church the Lord has nothing at all good to say on their behalf. If fact Jesus basically says that this church makes Him sick. He says to the church you are neither hot nor cold. I wonder how many of us after careful examination would have to admit that we are lukewarm christians. Would we admit that our life does not reflect or represent a life that is on fire for Jesus? What do you do that shows you are on fire for Jesus? Notice the question was not what you say? Being on fire for Jesus involves doing something. So what are you doing? You can begin to gather your excuses now, how certain things aren't your gift and how certain things you just can't do, and how busy you are, and how hard your work is, how you don't have time to hardly breath much less do anything else. The I don't have time really sets me back sometimes. We have time to do anything we want to do. Oh don't get me wrong I have made the same silly statement myself. I have said I didn't have time on the same day that I rode my motorcycle for about 3 hours. Now I may not have done what I needed or should have done, but it wasn't because I didn't have time, it was because whatever was to be done was less important than riding my motorcycle. The church at Laodicea was filled with false statements like this. They may have set well with the people, after all they were doing the same thing saying the same things; however, these statements did not set well with Jesus and they will never set well with Jesus. These statements are ridiculed with self.
Jesus says to this church that you are neither hot nor cold. He then says, His desire is that you were either hot or cold. We really need to understand what Jesus is saying here, He would rather us be cold than luke warm. Now if being hot means someone is on fire for Jesus. They are consumed by the ministry and spreading the Gospel. They are consumed by their love for Jesus. They are about their Fathers's business day in and day out, whatever that might be. Then cold would be right opposite. Cold would mean doing nothing for Jesus. Perhaps even lost except He is addressing the church. These individuals after examination of themselves would simply say there is not a great deal of Kingdom things being done in and through this life. Jesus says He would rather have this church or this individual than a lukewarm church or individual. We must ask the question why? Why would Jesus prefer us to be cold than lukewarm?
That is where I will leave you today, answer this question. Write your responses down, send them to me. However, I would ask that you do this with all seriousness. That you look deep within yourself to answer this question. Think about your own relationships. What would you rather have, someone on fire for you, passionately pursuing you or some one stone cold to you? Would you prefer a lukewarm pursuer? One who day to day you really don't know what the deal is? They say all the right things but that is about as far as it goes. After examining this and meditating on your feeling about this matter send me your thoughts, regarding why Jesus would prefer a cold church or individual over a lukewarm church or individual. To effectively do this you have to examine what you consider a lukewarm church or individual, what are the characteristics that make them lukewarm? Email or go to the website and comment. We will continue this all week.
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
This address to the church in Philadelphia carries a very powerful statement in verse 10, I will keep from the hour of trial that will come upon all of the world. Jesus Christ will keep them from the world wide tribulation. The church is going to escape the great tribulation, why? It is very clear in verse 10, "because you have kept my command to persevere." As a church we must persevere. We must hold fast the teachings of Jesus Christ and we must fight the good fight with every ounce of who we are. There are three main beliefs about the tribulation period regarding christians. Basically there are those who believe that the church is raptured before tribulation begins, pretribulation. There are those who believe that the rapture occurs 3 1/2 years into the tribulation period, midtribulation. Finally, there are those who believe that the rapture occurs after the tribulation period is over, posttribulation. I will share my thoughts and beliefs with you. I believe in pretribulation. I believe the church is raptured before the great tribulation period begins. I believe this because there are some 19 references to the church on the earth in the book of revelation. All of these references occur in the first three chapters of revelation. After chapter 3 the church on earth is not mentioned anymore. At the beginning of chapter 4 something happens to John (author of the book of Revelation), he is called up to heaven with a loud voice like a trumpet.
4 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
John looked saw a door open in heaven, heard a voice like a trumpet saying come up here, sounds a lot like the rapture to me. The voice then says I will show the things which must take place after this. After what? After the rapture. The church on the earth is not mentioned again in the book of Revelation. Chapter 4 continues with many things that will happen after the church is raptured.
Jesus tells this church they are to hold fast what they have. He declares that He is coming quickly. Do you realize that He is coming quickly? I look at this church in Philadelphia and I think in some ways The Way Church is like this church. We certainly have some open doors to walk through and we have to do some ministering in way of providing and meeting the needs of many, but we are headed in the right direction. Arrived? Not even close! Pointed in the right direction? I believe we are.
A Church of Opportunity (open door) There is an open door before us. We have many areas where we can minister and meet the needs physically and spiritually of a hurting world. For the church to be the church we must be spreading the gospel and meeting the needs of those less fortunate. We have to be stepping out, we have to be doing more than bible study and worship services. Not everyone has this thought and idea. However, I do pray and ask God to change the hearts of those who don't feel this way. I know there are some that simply like a good worship service, a place to learn the Word of God and that is it. They are not motivated and inspired to minister to a hurting world, to take the gospel to those who don't know Him, to teach someone that the world doesn't want to teach. I am praying God will strengthen those who are here to minister. I am praying God will change the hearts of those who are not. And yes, finally I am praying God will move those who refuse to listen, those who refuse to change, when their refusal interferes with what Jesus is doing, something has to give and it cannot and will not be Jesus. That may seem harsh, but I believe you have to ask God to strengthen your team. I believe team players follow the leadership of the team. Not with arms crossed pouting but with sweat, tears, dollars, cents, time and loyalty. I believe we are to provide all we can, to all we can. This is going to require many not a few. I am praying God molds us into a team so united that nothing or no one could set it asunder.
A Church of Little Strength (we are small) (financially supported by small percentage) We are a small church we don't have several hundred members. We are supported financially by a small percentage of our congregation. We don't have large facilities. We don't have modern architecture and fancy play grounds and signage. Are all of those things appealing, sure they are and I pray that one day we will have those things but only and absolutely only if we follow Jesus right to and through those things. What we are is a quiet little church in a perfect location because it is right where God has placed us and we have a beautiful opportunity before us to minister to Phenix City and the surrounding areas. But we are perfectly located and situated in such a way that we will have to depend on Jesus Christ for everything we do. No exceptions. Financially, we need Jesus. Teacher wise, we need Jesus. Facility wise, we need Jesus. May we depend on Him for everything so that our strength will always be little in regards to what we can do and great in regards to what He has done, is doing and will forever do.
A Church that keeps the Word (we teach the Bible and shall not steer from it)
We teach the Bible and we believe the Bible. We will not change that no matter what the world says, what membership says, or what anyone says. We will teach and preach the Bible. The Bible is the Holy infallible Word of God and we will respect it, we will believe it, and we will walk in it. It will be your pastor's guide to every decision and it will be what I use to lead you, guide you and direct you. When you come to me for help and guidance, we will use the Bible. When you come to me for marriage counseling, we will use the Bible. When you come to me for premarital counseling, we will use the Bible. My counseling is a Bible Study. Everything I believe will be backed up with scripture. I pray that you do the same. Many times what we believe is grounded in what we have always been taught. I challenge you to examine what you have always been taught and back it up with scripture. Blind acceptance is very unfortunate and can be misguided. It is imperative that every thing you believe be grounded in the Word of God. You cannot and must not depend on your feelings. Your feelings will cause you to stumble. Your emotions are like a roller coaster but the Word of God is steady and absolute. You can't know what the Bible says unless you study it.
A Church that has not denied the Name of Jesus (we do all we do in the name of JESUS) All we have, came from Jesus. Every knee that has bowed at the altar, every tongue that has confessed to be a sinner, every tongue that has then surrendered to Jesus as Lord, every tear that has fallen on the altar, every struggle that has saw victory, every heartbreak that has been experienced, everything has been and will forever be is in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. He is our Lord and He will forever be our Lord. We will give Him the glory and the Honor for what He has done and will do. He is the King. We are His. What an awesome place to be.
Brother Big Daddy
The Faithful Church
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
The Lord addresses Himself to the Church in Philadelphia as Holy and True. He is Holy and therefore He can require us to be Holy. He is true. He is Genuine. He further says, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.” Jesus has the key and the power to open the doors for us. He says to this church that I have placed before you an open door and no one can shut it. What does the bible mean when it says open door? 1 Corinthians 16:8-9, But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. A great door has been open to us as well. This door is a door of ministry. We must understand there are many adversaries. The scripture also talks of an open door in 2 Corinthians 2:12, Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord. We must understand that the doors of ministry are opened unto us by the Lord. Are we seeking Him and asking Him what are these doors? Colossians 4:3, meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains. The ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ is revealed to us as we continue in prayer, seeking the open doors that God has prepared for us to witness and to speak the gospel.
Philadelphia was a city founded and located where three countries came together, Mysia, Lydia, and Phrygia. It was planted there intentionally by the King of Persia, Philadelphos, to spread the Greek way of life to all of the surrounding areas. The city was strategically located as a means to influence the people in the surrounding areas. Jesus says to this church, ‘you have this gateway open to you to influence those around you.’ We have a doorway opened to us, are we influencing those around us?
Jesus Compliments the Church in Philadelphia in four ways:
1) You have an open door that no one can shut. They were obviously going through the door. They were ministering as God directed.
2) They had little strength. You may wonder how this was a positive. It is very simple, they had little strength; consequently, they had to depend on Jesus for everything. They had to have the power of God to accomplish their ministry.
3) They kept the Word. They preached, taught and kept the Word of God. There was no compromise regarding the Scripture.
4) They did not deny the name of Jesus. In a time where many were denying the deity of Jesus Christ, they did not.
Philadelphia is the second church in which there was no condemnation. There were some protective guarantees that I think are awesome. He said He would protect them from their enemies. I believe this is from within and from the outside. You see there will always be attacks from the synagogue of satan, that we will need protection from. Please look at the scripture here and realize that Jesus is saying they call themselves Jews but are of the synagogue of satan. The application to us today is that we must be real careful with those who claim to be children of God but if we listen to their words and watch their actions we will certainly see that their words and deeds are not pointing us to Christ. If an individuals words and deeds are not pointing us to Christ we must understand that we have to steer clear of these teachings and know what we are up against.
Jesus says to the Church in Philadelphia and to us today that He will make those enemies worship before our feet and to know that Jesus Christ loves us. Be strong and confident in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Savior. These promises of protection and offer of security seem to have no real effect on our enemies, after all they must appear to have no real fear of Jesus Christ. This act will soon dissolve into a total brokenness when Jesus decides enough is enough. Jesus commands us to hold fast, He says to overcome so trust Him and Hold fast. He will protect and He will provide.
Tomorrow we will talk about the hour of temptation, and the strength that we must depend on. Be strong and of good courage.
Brother Big Daddy