4 Words in 1
Whose Ministry is it?
Lovest Thou Me?
The Least of These
Often times, we fail to realize that what many of us call the written Word, is full, absolutely full, of mercy. It’s crammed full, with so many wonderful values; such as, grace, long-suffering, patience and love. I know so many religious folk’s ideas and attitudes have been about those who make mistakes. But this one word, something about it, has always pulled at me; it wanted to say something, I didn’t hear from others. I think the writer, could have used a lot of other words; but, he didn’t.
We won’t get caught up in translations or what each of them does, or does not say; strife doesn’t help. One thing is relatively clear; this is the word that most of us were going to read who speak in this language. There is a definition, which most of us usually relate to. It simple says: to catch up with, to the point, a weakness, caught up with us.
It could have been a fault that we were born with, or one we developed along the way. We’ve all learned the hard way, that some things left unattended or not dealt with, will one day surface. If we are not vigilant, we might permit some secret vice, or some attitude that seemed harmless, to cause us trouble one day.
But there is another definition to this event. It actually says, “to come upon unexpectedly or suddenly.” I’m reminded of someone who has lost their church, their ministry, and their family. They did something that was not at all smart; possibly through lack of experience or being very naïve. Alright, it could be, that the weakness for it, was already there. We all have our own type of weakness. It’s a tragedy, that we never could trust one another to confess and pray with one another about it; without it being airborne. The church has reaped that; most won’t admit it; but it has cost us great tears. But if anything, we seem less trustworthy today, than ever before. Why?
We often jumped on people, like they were the most terrible people in the world. We treated them, as if they just decided one day, that they were going to destroy their lives, that of their families, and anyone else around. I don’t believe that. There are cruel, wicked and evil people; that’s a fact. But I stand here today, to say as kindly as I know how; that was normally not the case.
There’s one thing that truly concerns me today, and that is that most hearts, no longer see the need, in knowing the enemy. This new age of saying that we should not speak of the devil, it gives him more notice, is of the devil himself. He lays traps for people; and whether we want to deal with the issue or not; they fall into them. What’s really against God’s word, is that there is no one to help get them get out; or no one with meekness.
A lot of situations have caught up with a lot of folks in our time. This does not mean, that we are not to take responsibility for our mistakes and do what we can to correct them and make amends. But I pose one question to everyone who reads this. Looking back down the road of your life, are there things, that you would do differently today, if you could?
Aren’t there certain issues that you would deal with totally in another way now? Are there things that you would do anything you could to change, if you could? Do you have honest and true remorse over it? Would you do everything you could to prevent or let it get out of hand? Have you wept over it with tears? Can you see how you were wrong? Was God merciful, to you?
Then, how can we withhold forgiveness and mercy, from someone else, who needs it?
Whose Ministry is it?
There are some things, that do not belong to us. We did not purchase them and we cannot sell them; they are not ours, to profit from; neither in wealth, nor in fame. The things of the Spirit, belong to the Spirit; we have no license to use them; they cannot be bought.
I recall a story of a man in the book of Acts, who saw the apostles laying hands on people; and they received the Holy Ghost. This man, offered them money; he wanted to buy that ability for himself. He almost lost his soul over it.
There is something that all of us must not forget. If the Spirit has used us in any fashion, whatever was achieved, is not to our credit. No matter what we wrote, what we spoke, even whatever we have posted here; if it was truly of the Spirit, it does not belong to us; it didn’t come from us. I think we have all seen down through the years, those who were likely very gifted of the Lord. Through name or fame or position, the true focus of their ministry, somehow shifted toward themselves. When money and fortune are in the mix, even good people, sometimes lose sight of what they’re really called to do. People get hurt; severe doubt of Spiritual things will often arise.
We were all bought with a dear price. In true reality nothing we have even belongs to us; it’s only on loan; that’s why we can’t take it with us when we leave this plane. The Apostle Paul, wrote a great deal about our flesh; how it was in opposition to the Spirit; it actually warred against the things of God.
Many don’t seem to know it, but our tone, the way we come across in what we say, is a good indicator of where our heart is. When we talk or minister about the things of the Spirit, we will do it with the fruit of the Spirit. If any other manifestation occurs, it’s evidence that self and the flesh, has edged itself in. We can make excuses for how we come across it we want; but the Spirit, doesn’t buy it. The Spirit, bears certain fruit; always.
All of us like to be patted on the back; I like it, and so do you; it’s normal. What is not normal in spiritual matters, is to take credit for what you’ve been given. Again, many of us do not realize, the way we speak of things, is an indication of who is really doing the ministering; and who is not. The Holy Ghost, is not bitter and harsh. He can speak strongly, and He can give correction in a power manner; but He is not condescending; nor is He abrasive in the manner in which He comes across. He doesn’t have to be. The Spirit uses human vessels; they are not perfect or without any flaw. But, even those who are unpolished, can speak with dignity; in the Spirit.
Our groups spent many years encouraging us to think better of who we were; children of the King, joint heirs, a royal priesthood, etc. It is good to know who we are in Him. However, it was never meant to make us in any way, too pious, arrogant or even unfriendly. Since we may have overdone some of this, it might be a worthy idea, to now focus on, how little we are, without Him.
Paul, became nothing. If we have a choice today, between building ourselves up on who we are, or staying humble before God, it is possible, that humility is needed the most. If I am convinced that I am truly nothing without Him, and that I deserve no credit on my own, it’s likely that more of the Spirit can pass through the vessel.
It is His ministry; not mine.
Lovest Thou Me?
“Lovest Thou Me, more than these?” Some of us have lost some things; for many, they were our most prized possessions. I remember when I lost my music; I never dreamed that would ever happen. No matter what had ever come about in my life, that one thing that had always remained the same. It did not matter where I was, what my status may have been at the time; I could always sit down at the piano and sing. I think about all of the places that I’ve played music in my life; on the back of pick-up trucks, under gospel tents, on shaky platforms, in a war zone, in a mental institution, in some of the finest churches, in showrooms, ballrooms and in many broken houses.
One day I went to sit down and play along with a group that was playing at a Senior Citizens community center. I had just recently been badly injured in a mugging, in my old city of New Orleans; but I was recovering. As I sat down to play, my hands, would not coordinate with my brain; I couldn’t play, and I couldn’t sing. For me, it was one of the greatest losses, I had ever known. I had always wanted to work for the Lord; always, since I was a child. It’s okay to say now that I didn’t want to be a preacher; I had my reasons. Even when I was called to preach at age seventeen, I didn’t want it. For one thing, I didn’t think I was good enough; I knew I’d never be able to preach the same way others did; loud, demonstratively or so forcefully.
You think you’re ready to give up certain things in your life even to follow the Lord. But there were some things inside, that I could not be real about; I didn’t want to get stuck in a small church. My gifts made room for me and I had met a lot of wonderfully anointed and blessed people; I wanted to be like them. It wasn’t wrong to want a good name, like they had; to be respected and admired for doing a great work for God. Then, life came along. I didn’t start out to lose everything. I didn’t have a lot to start with, and I certainly didn’t intend to lose or mess up what little chances I had. Wrong decisions, uninformed choices, lack of support and issues there was no one to talk to about. I chose the lesser name and lesser position.
It’s taken a long time to begin to recover some of those things; many years, many tears and so much hard work. I learned that there were some things that were not going to change, no matter what you did. And, there were some people in our lives who were not going to change either. But I held on to a promise. You see, I believed God; I trusted somehow, in his Word, as I understood it. “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5). It said, the desires, of our heart.
I feel God is asking me a question today; just as He is likely asking some of you. There’s this one thing I have always longed for; even now, I have not ever had that. You know, it’s one thing to say you want to be mightily used of the Lord in this hour. It’s another, to truly make that the very most important thing in your life. It’s a question, I never handled well; even now. What, am I willing to give up, for Him. Do I love Him?, more than these other things; more than anything else?
God knows what’s best for me; just as He knows what’s best for you. We think this and that, would make us happy; we don’t even know that for sure. How much can I trust Him today; how much can you trust Him? Some things cost. How much, am I willing to pay?
The Least of These
“The Least of These“… Who are these people?
We have in times past, been so caught up in our different forms of doctrine and talking about how much like the Apostles we are, we may have overlooked some of the most profound things, that Jesus Christ himself said. It requires concern, that we have often tried to influence others, by what we felt they had to do to get to heaven. In this particular gospel, Jesus was already talking about, a true separating of the sheep, and the goats. He was already talking here, about those who were going to be cast into the lake of fire, and why they were (Matthew 24:40-46).
I’ve often wondered, why it appears that many of us somehow thought, that Christ and the Apostles, preached different things. I don’t know how to say this softly, but it’s very clear, that Jesus was talking about people going to hell, before the Holy Ghost was even poured out in the book of Acts. I tell you something; most of us were never allowed to talk in such a manner before. We would have been told we were out of order and that we were just trying to stir up strife. If one of us were to say, even today, that Jesus taught some things that we did not follow, we’d be tarred and feathered.
But it’s true. There is something that has been arising in people’s spirit and awareness, more than ever before. It’s about just how much the Apostles spoke about loving people; about how we were to treat our brothers and sisters; what kind of spirit we should have and how people would know, if we truly have the Holy Ghost, or not. Also, they warned us about a lot of people that would be among us; how false some of them were and what kind of damage they might inflict. They taught us big time, about showing partiality to people, esteeming some, more that others, and they taught us the real qualifications of those who were called; and how they should act.
The least of these, never made it to the higher ups. Those who were least, did not receive great accolades and front row seats. It just did not seem to impress many of us, that Apostle Paul, said he, was one of the least. If we go back to what Jesus was saying, who were the least ones whom He was talking about? In short, those who were hungry, and thirsty, those who were strangers that needed someone to take them in; those who hardly had any decent clothes, sick people who needed someone to visit them, and last, but not even least, those in prison, who needed someone to care and to come see about them. These, were those, He was most concerned for.
One translation, says that these were the people, that others thought the least of. Those whom society considered, less than’s. The whole purpose of being filled with the Holy Ghost, was to honor and glorify God and to minister to people. That’s who Jesus was; just look at His life and who He hung around with. Was it not Him who said, those who are well, do not need a physician?
There’s not enough time to talk about it all, but I think He made another point that we don’t like. Those who have everything, seem to need Him less, than those who don’t. Too often, we’re helping the wrong people. If we want to do something for Jesus, we need to go to those, who need Him the most. Those who have failed, those who are weak, those who have gotten lost, those who need forgiveness. The least ones of all.