Cover My Head

Psalms 140:7
“O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle.”

David was familiar with warfare. He had faced Giants and well as giant armies. He knew the dangers of hand to hand combat and there is little doubt that his body bore the scars of some of those battles. As a soldier, David also knew the importance of protecting his head. A wound to the forearm, although painful, was not deadly but a wound to the head could cost him his life. The same is true for us in the spiritual battles in which we are engaged. It is critical for the Christian that we learn to keep our head covered when under attack.

The bible describes Satan as the accuser of the brethren. As such he brings constant accusations against the child of God. Since God is unwilling to listen to his rants, he makes us his target. In the midst of our battles the devil sends a barrage of missiles into our minds seeking to defeat us. When we are struggling with sin he increases the level of temptation and when we fail he turns up the guilt. When we are discouraged he seeks to fill our minds with our weakness rather than allowing us to think about God’s strength. It is critical for the child of God that we allow the Lord to cover our head in battle. A friend of mine had a plaque hanging above his desk that read, “The next time the devil reminds you of your past remind him of his future.”

Jim

 

Burden Bearer 

Exodus 28:12
“And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders as a memorial.”

When I am deciding on what to wear, one of the key factors is comfort. I have owned clothing that fit and might even have looked nice, but I rarely ever wore, because it simply was not comfortable. I imagine if I had a coat with two large stone shoulder pads, it would not be my first choice for a Sunday service.

When it came to the clothing of the priests, comfort was not the goal. Instead, their clothing was designed for symbolism. Every article they wore spoke volumes regarding God and the ministry. One of the most telling pieces was the stone shoulder pads with the names of the tribes engraved upon them. Each morning, when the priests suited up, they were reminded that they carried the burdens of the people into the presence of the Lord. I cannot think of a better way to illustrate the need for, and value of, intercessory prayer, than a man carrying the names of his friends and family members on his shoulders.

The New Testament reminds us to bear one another’s burdens. This can be accomplished by entering the Throne of Grace on behalf of another and praying for the things which are weighing down their lives. When a friend is struggling with loss, sickness, confusion, or any other of a long list of things that tend to weigh upon us, we can ease their burden with intercession.

Take some time to make a list of people close to you and begin to carry their burdens into the presence of God. You will be amazed by how much you begin to care about them, as well as seeing how God intervenes in their lives.

Pastor Jim

Liberty

1 Corinthians 8:13
“Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”

One of the controversies the Church in Corinth faced had to do with diet. Animals were offered to pagan gods, then the meat was sold at the local butcher shops. This created a real problem for many Christians. For some, their conscience bothered them knowing that the animal was offered to false gods, while for others the issue was much more tangible. Since the butcher shops were often located close to the temples, and the temples were places of sinful activity, some knew that visiting that area would lead them right back into sin. For others, the idol issue was something of their past, and they had no problem eating the meat with thanksgiving. To them, it mattered very little what the farmer did with the animal, since they received it with thanksgiving as from the Lord.

Paul points out that the issue was much bigger than what a person has for lunch, or where they choose to go to dinner. The bigger picture was the conflict between Christian liberties and the law of love. Webster defines liberty as, “the power to do as one pleases.” As Christians, we are free to practice anything that is not forbidden by the Word of God. While there are some movies whose content certainly puts them in the category of forbidden, Christians do have the liberty to attend movies. The same could be said of television, music, and the Internet. However, there are some who, because of their past experience, or recent decision for the Lord, would stumble if they practiced the same liberties. It is here that Paul introduces a principle bigger than liberty, the principle of love.

“Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”

As much as Paul might have enjoyed a juicy steak, or French dip sandwich, he was willing to lay those aside for the sake of others. Rather than touting about his rights, or how ridiculous it was for them to make an issue over food, Paul saw everything as a means to minister to others. Every Christian has been called to invest in the lives of others, in order to make disciples. For that to happen, we have to be willing to set our freedoms aside for the sake of their growth. Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Within the spiritual realm, we might better choose death over liberties for the sake of the Gospel. My freedom to do what I want with my time, could be laid aside, and I could choose to meet with a struggling believer for coffee and the study of the Word. My freedom to sit alone in service and reflect upon the message, could be set aside to sit with a visitor, or someone I know might be struggling or lonely. My freedom to watch the service online from the comfort of my couch, might be set aside to show up early and help get the church ready for others, or to teach a child’s class.

When we set the law of love above the law of liberty, we will see others impacted for the kingdom of God.

Time is short, eternity is forever…

Pastor Jim

 

Warning Label

2 Chronicles 16:9
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”

There are some truths that are so powerful it seems almost frightening to open them up. That is certainly true of this particular verse. The truth tucked away here is so powerful it has the ability to transform the life of every individual who will apply it, and to bring about real and lasting changes in the world in which we live. It is a truth that might even need a warning label. “If you apply this verse to your life, God will do great things in and through you.”

First, notice the promises; He declares that if we are loyal to Him that He will prove Himself strong on our behalf. The word “loyal” means complete, and speaks of the person who has given himself completely to the Lord. The promise here is not for those who are keeping things back from God, or unwilling to give up certain desires, dreams, ambitions or even personal sins. This promise is for the loyal, the devoted, the surrendered, the one who,like Paul, have crucified themselves to the world and are living devoted to Christ.

It is to the loyal person that God promises He will show His strength. His strength will be shown in our weakness, inability, frailty, and confusion. We will find, when we are overwhelmed by our inadequacy and cannot possibly accomplish what is set before us, that the strength of God will meet our weakness, and we will be empowered by His Spirit to do what we could never do on our own. That is what I meant by needing a warning label on this verse. If this truth is applied, then there is nothing the child of God cannot accomplish for the kingdom of God. Suddenly, our personal weaknesses, our fears, and our inabilities, no longer limit what God may accomplish through us. When we apply this truth to our living, we will be able to step into any area of ministry The Lord calls us and we will find His strength for the task at hand.

Pastor Jim