Saturday, November 9, 2019

Habakkuk


Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For each one will bear his own load.  (Galatians 6:2,5 NASB) 
 
There seems to be an apparent contradiction between verses two and five. There are times when we all have burdens so oppressive that we need some help, yet we should never let our dependence on someone, other than Christ, become a lifestyle.

Clarity comes to this portion of Scripture when we understand that there is a collective and individual responsibility we have as Christians. The Greek word for burden (v. 2) expresses an overwhelming or excessive weight that any person would have difficulty bearing. In this case, we, as Christians, must fulfill the law of Christ and help bear their burden. In (v. 5), the Greek word used for the load was often used to refer to a soldier’s pack that everyone in the army was expected to carry.

There are certain burdens or loads that we must help the brethren bear and others for which we should not take responsibility. Doing something consistently, for some who can do it for themselves, is not loving them. In our desire to love and serve people, we can unwittingly become part of their problem rather than the solution.

Have you heard of the little boy who found a cocoon? He waited expectantly for the butterfly to emerge. A hole appeared in the envelope, and the butterfly was struggling to get out. The butterfly seemed so desperate that the boy took scissors and clipped the cocoon, the butterfly emerged, but it spent the rest of its life crawling around, never being able to fly. The struggle a butterfly incurs in freeing itself prepares it for living outside of the cocoon.

Are you serving or enabling people?

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes, the author of  “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email:  kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
Ken Barnes' Book Site
Blogs: http://kensblog757.blogspot.com
          
 http://gleanings757.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Serving or Enabling


Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For each one will bear his own load.  (Galatians 6:2,5 NASB) 
 
There seems to be an apparent contradiction between verses two and five. There are times when we all have burdens so oppressive that we need some help, yet we should never let our dependence on someone, other than Christ, become a lifestyle.

Clarity comes to this portion of Scripture when we understand that there is a collective and individual responsibility we have as Christians. The Greek word for burden (v. 2) expresses an overwhelming or excessive weight that any person would have difficulty bearing. In this case, we, as Christians, must fulfill the law of Christ and help bear their burden. In (v. 5), the Greek word used for the load was often used to refer to a soldier’s pack that everyone in the army was expected to carry.

There are certain burdens or loads that we must help the brethren bear and others for which we should not take responsibility. Doing something consistently, for some who can do it for themselves, is not loving them. In our desire to love and serve people, we can unwittingly become part of their problem rather than the solution.

Have you heard of the little boy who found a cocoon? He waited expectantly for the butterfly to emerge. A hole appeared in the envelope, and the butterfly was struggling to get out. The butterfly seemed so desperate that the boy took scissors and clipped the cocoon, the butterfly emerged, but it spent the rest of its life crawling around, never being able to fly. The struggle a butterfly incurs in freeing itself prepares it for living outside of the cocoon.

Are you serving or enabling people?

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes, the author of  “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email:  kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
Ken Barnes' Book Site
Blogs: http://kensblog757.blogspot.com
          
 http://gleanings757.blogspot.com



Saturday, October 19, 2019

Forgiveness


“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
 (Matthew 6:14-15 NLT)
 
People often do not show us a great deal of mercy. If we are sincere, we must admit that we do not deserve forgiveness. Feeling that we merit compassion is a contradiction in terms because mercy is not getting what we deserve. Our quest to receive the right treatment from man is futile; it only comes from God.

Some of us are on a life-long journey to receive mercy from people. The problem with this is that most people are more equipped to give us justice rather than kindness. Trying to force someone to forgive you is an exercise in futility. It hinders you from receiving it from God. Extending mercy does not necessarily mean people will reciprocate, but it does mean that God will. Un-forgiveness is human, overlooking an offense is divine.  The latter sets people free along with yourself.

What does this require of us? We must return good for evil.  Isn’t that what Jesus did for us on the Cross? While we were yet in our sins, Jesus died for us. He showed us mercy and grace without us ever deserving it. Should not those of us who proclaim to follow Christ respond similarly? Someone once said you should never expect too little from man nor too much from God. We often expect too much from man and too little from God.

God desires to give us what we do not deserve. Forgiveness is the doorway to God”s abundant mercy and grace. Give, and it shall be given to you.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.


Ken Barnes, the author of  “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email:  kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
Ken Barnes' Book Site
Blogs: http://kensblog757.blogspot.com
          
 http://gleanings757.blogspot.com



Friday, October 4, 2019

Faith and Patience


We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12 NIV)
 
My scriptural reference above instructs us that the promises of God never come to fruition except through faith and patience.

On the landscape of the Body of Christ today, there are many churches with names like Faith Christian Center, or Faith Baptist Church. How many churches have you seen named Patience Christian Church?  Probably not one, I suspect. In this Bible verse, neither of these Christian virtues, faith or patience, is elevated over the other. Faith is never exercised without patience, and patience is not cultivated without faith. They always work in tandem and never in isolation.

Paul admonishes us not to become lazy. How do we become lazy? By not imitating those who have gone before us and have received the promises by faithfully enduring. You have probably heard the prayer, Lord give me patience, right now. It would be nice if it worked that way, but it doesn’t.

When I was a young Christian, I would watch speakers come through our church and tell of their mountaintop experiences. They appeared to leap from one mountaintop to another. I could not get out of bed without, spiritual speaking, tripping over my own feet. I wondered what was wrong with me. These feelings continued until I observed the lives of these preachers more closely, and found out that between their mountaintop experiences were long journeys through the valley of delay, discouragement, and even some failure.

There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. It only comes through patient endurance.  Imitating those who have gone before us and practiced faith and patience enables us to inherit the promises of God.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes, the author of  “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email:  kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
Ken Barnes' Book Site
Blogs: http://kensblog757.blogspot.com
          
 http://gleanings757.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

You and Them


Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me.
 (Psalms 27:6a)

There are times when the world seems to come down all around us. Accusations and innuendoes are flying all around you. Some of them being partly true and others completely false. Occasions like these will show you with whom to put your trust.

You may be trying to do good, and the world will tell you that you are doing badly. When you are trying to do the right thing, those around you will say to you that you are doing wrong.  When you are trying to give your best, those close to you will demand even more. There does not seem to be anywhere to run, yet God is our fortress.

When we are actually doing badly, God gives us the Gospel to show us how to be good. When we really are wrong, God grants us his grace to help us to do right. When we are not giving our best, the Lord reveals to us his son, who teaches us how to do better. Whereas the world tries to revile you, God works with you to lovingly correct you.

The Devil actively seeks to distort reality, manipulate and condemn you. When someone makes you feel like there is no hope for you, this comes from the pit. God accepts you just as you are, but he loves you enough to help you be better.  God sees you not just as you are, but as you can be. Therefore, he has great hope for you.

What you focus upon, you become. If you dwell on the trash the world says about you, it will eventually bring you down. If you gaze at a kind and just God, it will transform you.

Speaking about the world, Mother Theresa once said, “It was never between you and them anyway.” It’s between you and God.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes, the author of  “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email:  kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
Ken Barnes' Book Site
Blogs: http://kensblog757.blogspot.com
          
 http://gleanings757.blogspot.com

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Heart and the Mind: Doing good things the right way


 But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon,  the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark.  Then the Lord’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and he struck him dead because he had laid his hand on the Ark. So Uzzah died there in the presence of God.  (1 Chronicles 13:9-10 NLT)
 
David had good intentions.   King Saul’s did not honor the Ark of the Lord, and David did not want to do the same. Good intentions are not enough. The work of the Lord must be done not only through good means but right ones. We can follow our hearts without exercising our minds and have disastrous results.

In I Chronicles 15:13 it says, “Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our burst out against us.  We failed to ask God how to move it in the proper way.” David learned a harsh lesson on how to accomplish the purposes of God. He assumed he knew how to do it without first asking God. Self-sufficiency may be the source of a multitude of sins.

It appears to me that people in the Church today fall under two categories. Those who emphasize the truth, exercising their minds, and those who dwell on the spirit and follow their hearts. The is a need for both as Jesus said that we must worship in “spirit and truth,” but not one at the exclusion of the other. If I might paraphrase what I heard someone say; All truth (mind) and no spirt and you dry up. All spirit (heart) and no truth and you blow up. Spirit and truth, and you grow up.

God gave us a mind and a heart, and he expects us to use them both.  We can avoid experiencing problems of our own making by doing good things the right way.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes, the author of  “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email:  kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
Ken Barnes' Book Site
Blogs: http://kensblog757.blogspot.com
          
 http://gleanings757.blogspot.com




Friday, September 6, 2019

Justice and Fairness


Justice will settle down in the desert and fairness will live in the orchard.
(Isaiah 32:16 NET)

As Christians, we sometimes confuse the concepts of justice and fairness. God is just but life at times is not always fair.

Ten of twelve Apostles were martyred. Were they treated fairly? They were killed just for proclaiming the truth. Justice and fairness are similar yet different concepts, while fairness is an issue seen from a temporal or a short-term perspective. Justice has eternal or everlasting benefits.

If you liken eternal life to a movie, our life on this earth is but a few frames. In those limited scenes of our earthly existence is where injustice and or lack of fairness arises. God sees the end from the beginning, and from this perspective, dispenses his justice. When God said he would give justice to all mistreated, that is what he precisely means. The Apostle Paul, when treated deceitfully, said,” For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body” (2 Corinthians 5:10 NLT). The all-seeing and all-knowing God will one day set all accounts in order. Until then, we walk by faith and not by sight and trust in the character of God.

There is one manner that we can receive justice now. Darlene Cunningham, the co-found of Youth With A Mission, was looking across the barrier between free and communist Europe. She had heard of the extreme persecution of the believers on the eastern side of the divide. She asked the Lord, “I don’t suffer as they do, where is your justice?” God spoke to her spirit, no, you don’t suffer like they do, but neither do you know me like they do. To whom much is expected, much is given, and in the most valuable form, the knowledge of God. God is not a debtor to any person.

We have all experienced injustice in varying degrees. Of course, my unjust treatment looks more significant than yours, because it is mine and not yours. At God’s judgment seat, he will reveal the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. The corresponding rewards will last throughout eternity, unlike temporal ones who always have a fading glimmer. At this point, our eyes will be opened to the big picture, and we will see that God has been unquestionably just.

Image used with permission by MIcrosoft.

Ken Barnes the author of  “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email: 
kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com