Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Obedience Is Key To Happiness

Praise the Lord! On this past Sunday, I celebrated my spiritual birthday. I have been saved, satisfied and serving the Lord for 24 years. Glory! As I looked back over my walk with the Lord, I can recall times that I was not happy. I look at believers today and I can see that many are not happy.

There is a revelation of a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is based upon circumstances. This is not a bad thing. If you get a promotion on your job, you are happy. If you receive unexpected income in the mail, you are happy. If someone does something nice for you, you are happy. If the sun is shining and things are going well, you are happy. Again, this is not a bad thing. However, what do you do when things are not going well?

Joy on the other hand is a fruit of the Spirit. It is an inward contentment that is not based on circumstances. It is the result of the indwelling of the Spirit which is fueled by the grace, goodness and glory of the Lord. Psalms 16:11 says, "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Joy comes from being in the presence of the Lord! Once you have been with Him, you realize that there is nothing too hard for Him because He is more than able to turn any circumstance around!

Now that you see that there is a difference between happiness and joy, I want to show you how you can contribute to your own happiness. Joy is an inside job, but there is one key thing that every believer can do to contribute to his or her own happiness. This key is not some far, out of reach, abstract concept. In fact, all of us have reaped the benefits of it when consistently applied to our lives. The key is obedience.

Obedience is the theme that runs throughout the Bible. In the of Deuteronomy, there are multiple references to obedience. I encourage you to read the entire book and note how many times the word "obey" is mentioned in the New Living Translation. Today, I want to point out just a few verses found in chapters five and six.

Deuteronomy 5:32-33 So Moses told the people, “You must BE CAREFUL TO OBEY all the commands of the Lord your God, following his instructions in every detail. 33 Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.

Deuteronomy 6:1-3 “These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you. YOU MUST OBEY them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, 2 and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the Lord your God as long as you live. IF YOU OBEY ALL his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3 Listen closely, Israel, and BE CAREFUL TO OBEY. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

Deuteronomy 6:17-18 YOU MUST DILIGENTLY OBEY the commands of the Lord your God—all the laws and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so all will go well with you. Then you will enter and occupy the good land that the Lord swore to give your ancestors.

Note the emphasis in these three verses and the result of obedience. I love how it says if you obey, then all will go well. Doesn't it make you happy when things go well? Now there are many situations and circumstances that are beyond your control. However, think of the times that things were not going well simply because you did not obey.

I trust today's teaching has encouraged your heart. If you are not happy, do a self check and see if there is an area or areas in your life that you have not been obedient to the Lord. Make the mid term corrections and purpose from this day forward to do what is right and good in the Lord's sight so that all will go well with you.

Understanding the Kingdom of Heaven in 2011,

Pastor Sheila

Monday, March 21, 2011

Y - Yield Your Will

Well glory, today I will be sharing with you the final point in this series on O.C.C.U.P.Y. Until He comes. As we are about the Father's business in 2011 in understanding the kingdom of heaven, God is calling us to Y - Yield Your Will.

The word yield means to surrender or submit as to superior power. It also means to give up, give over or give in. The meaning is clear, yet of all of God's creation, mankind struggles to yield. From Adam to current, every human born, except Jesus has failed in one way or another in this area of yielding. However, our will was created to yield. The greatest way we show love and submission to God is to yield our will to His.

Just prior to Jesus arrest and crucifixion, He went to Gethsemane with Peter, James and John to pray. Matthew 26:36-39 says, 'Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."

First I want to bring your attention to the place Gethsemane where Jesus went to pray. Gethsemane means oil press. It is indicative of the place where we must all come and have our will pressed out so that the Father's will can be accomplished in our lives. The Little Kittle Theological Dictionary says this about Gethsemane, "Gethsemane implies the possibility of an independent human will that is set aside in voluntary submission to the divine will." We all come to a crossroad in life when we are faced with doing what we want to do over what God wants us to do. That is why daily (and sometimes several times in a day) we must go to Gethsemane to have our will pressed out to make way for the will of the Lord. Only when we submit to the will of the Lord will we be able to see His kingdom purposes fulfilled in and through our lives.

The second thing I want to point out in this verse is what Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:39 says, "And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." This is the only place in scripture where you will find Jesus will contrary to the will of the Father. Instead of carrying out His will, He carried out the will of the Father saying, "...nevertheless not as I will."

Yielding will always require you to go a little farther in prayer to press out your will for the will of God. When we go a little farther, a "nevertheless" will rise up because at the heart of "going farther" is an ardent desire to accomplish God's will. Jesus did it, therefore by the power of His Spirit living in us, we too can declare, nevertheless, not as I will.

I trust you have been blessed by this series O.C.C.U.P.Y. Until He Comes. I pray that it challenges you to be about the Father's business. I am convinced that if you would operate, consecrate, contribute, understand, press and yield, you won't have time for anything else. So purpose in your heart from this day forward to be about the Father's business and O.C.C.U.P.Y. until He comes!

Understanding the Kingdom of Heaven,

Pastor Sheila

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

P - P.R.E.S.S.

Good morning! This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad, and so should you! I am excited about today's teaching in the series, O.C.C.U.P.Y. Until He Comes. This is the area where many times believers faint and give up. However, now is not the time to give up! We must put this leg of the teaching into practice. We MUST, P - P.R.E.S.S.

When you think about the word "press," apply this acronym; Put Resolute Energy in Standing Strong. Isn't that powerful? That is what we have to do in the press! You may be caught between a rock and a hard place but you must stand firm in your faith knowing that nothing is too hard for God. P.R.E.S.S.!

The thing that I love about the press is that it is the warfare of occupying, and warfare is good because we win! It is the area where we are faced with opposition while training to be about the Father's business. The enemy is prowling about seeking to devour those who are weak. The Word of God tells us to resist him firm in our faith.

Any time there is resistance, we are faced with a choice to resist or give in. Please note in 1 Peter 5:9 that we are commanded to resist. It is not a suggestion. I learned in our building dedication service that ensconced in a command is the promise of victory. Hallelujah! Therefore, when we are in the press, we must put resolute energy in standing strong because God has already promised the victory! He has already promised to perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you! Therefore, I charge you to press on! Resist the devil! He must flee! God has already given the victory.

Paul said in Philippians 3:14, "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. That word "press" in the Greek is "dioko." It means to follow or press hard after, to pursue with earnestness and diligence in order to obtain. What this is teaching us is that when we are in the press, or faced with resistance, we must put resolute energy into obtaining what God has promised. No matter what the opposition we must press. God has already promised the victory.

The practicality of pressing is to P.U.S.H. You have heard it before. In the press when we are faced with resistance, we must Pray Until Something Happens. When you have a push in your spirit it weakens the forces of darkness and strengthens your resolve knowing that all of heavens resources are backing you! Are you faced with opposition from every side while operating, consecrating, contributing, understanding and pressing? Are you encountering diverse trials and tribulations in your marriage, ministry, money and muffins (your sweet children)? Then, P.R.E.S.S. AND P.U.S.H.! Put resolute energy in standing strong! Don't give in! Pray until something happens! This is warfare! It is good! We win! Glory to God!

So, if you find yourself between that rock and a hard place today, meditate on these verses I have given you and prepare yourself for the victory. God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent. That which He has promised to do, He will do. All you have to do is P.R.E.S.S. and P.U.S.H.

I trust you have been encouraged by today's blog. Remember, God loves you and promises to perfect that which concerns you!

Understanding the Kingdom of Heaven,

Pastor Sheila

Saturday, March 12, 2011

U - Understand the Kingdom of Heaven

Praise the Lord! This is an exciting time in the Lord! I continue this series on O.C.C.U.P.Y. Until He Comes with our mantra for the year: Understanding the Kingdom of Heaven. On March 3, 2011 I did a teaching on this subject, but today I am going to go a little further in order to emphasize the pragmatics of this topic.

As I have said before, to understand in terms of biblical concepts means to submit to God's point of view on the matter. Prior to salvation, this was a foreign idea because the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. However, if any man be in Christ He is new and can receive understanding from the Father. Proverbs 2:6 says, "For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." This is good news because now if there is anything that we do not understand about the Kingdom, we can ask the Lord and He will give us the revelation (James 1:5).

With that in mind, what area of your life are lacking understanding in? Is it your marriage, money or ministry? Perhaps it is your children, your attitude or your purpose in life. No matter what it is, you first have to ask yourself, "Self, have I submitted to God's point of view in this area of my life? Do I see it as He sees it? This is the starting point for seeing it as God sees it, for if you don't see it as God sees it, you won't see it as God sees it. Make sense?

Let me put it to you this way. I have been married now to the greatest gift God has given me (aside from salvation and His Spirit) for almost 19 years and we have two wonderful born-again children. One of the declarations that we have spoken over our family is, "The Poole household is blessed, prosperous, happy and to be envied because we fear the Lord and delight greatly in His commands." Hear in lies the success of our family, we fear the Lord and delight greatly in His commands.

The fear of the Lord has caused us to see things as God sees them in our family. My husband is commanded to love me. I am commanded to submit to him. The children are commanded to obey us as their parents. If they do not obey, they are subject to the rod which has taught them obedience through that which the have suffered. Because we, the Poole's fear God, we obey Him by processing everything in our lives through the Word of God. Whatever the Word tells us to do concerning our lives we do it.

I have given you my family life as a point of reference, but through the years, I have trained myself to process every area of my life through the Word of God. The result is the fruit that God has given me an understanding of how to operate in the kingdom of heaven.

The simplicity of this message is this, if you love God then obey. Obedience is the fruit of a mature believer. It displays that you do understand, and from your understanding you produce the fruit of a scribe. You have learned the sacred scriptures, accepted the instructions and are of such character that you give out of your life experience the life you have experienced in Christ.

Understanding the Kingdom of Heaven,

Pastor Sheila

Thursday, March 10, 2011

C - Contribute Time, Talent and Treasure to the Building of the Kingdom

Praise the Lord! In this third letter of this teaching I will be encouraging you to C - Contribute Time, Talent and Treasure to the Building of the Kingdom. IAAH!

Contribute simply means to give. This is not a difficult word or concept to understand when looked through the lens of "my life does not belong to me." As a born-again believer we are servants of the Lord. The word "servant" describes one who is bound to do what he is told to do regardless of what he thinks about it. This may seem like a harsh term, but just reflect on Jesus who is our perfect example. On the cross He gave His life in obedience to the Father. He was teaching us how to give regardless of how we think or feel.

God is calling us all to give three things which encompass every area of our lives. First He wants us to give our time to build His kingdom. He has given us time as a wonderful gift to live for Him. The enemy, the master of the flesh, daily works overtime to get us to be lazy and waste time. We don't have time to waste time! Remember the Kingdom! We are on divine assignment and will be held accountable for our time.

Second, He wants us to give our talents. Now this one can be a bit tricky because many times the world has put a high price tag on talents. If you are good at what you do, the world is more than willing to pay you top dollar for it. However, that high price tag will cause one to forget who gave the talent in the first place. I believe that if you are good at something you should be paid for it. However, the greater reward is using that gift in the kingdom which yields a much greater deposit in prospects of eternity.

Last, but not least, and certainly the hardest to give is our treasure. I'm telling you, (not that you don't already know this) when you start talking about giving the almighty dollar to the Lord, everybody, saint and sinner alike get bothered. Nevertheless, in numerous references in the Bible we are commanded to give our money.

Giving of our treasure (money) should be processed through the fact that none of it belongs to us anyway. 1 Chronicles 29:14 says that all things come from God. We should gladly give back what the Lord asks of us and use what He has given for His glory. We should gratefully give the tenth and be honored that He lets us choose how to spend the rest.

So today, think on how Jesus willingly gave all. Ask the Holy Spirit to breathe on your thoughts and give you a revelation of what it means to contribute your time, talent and treasure to the Lord. Once He pulls back the cover in your mind, giving your all to Him will be a piece of cake!

Understanding the Kingdom of Heaven in 2011,

Pastor Sheila

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

C - Consecrate Heart, Soul and Mind to the Lord

Good Morning WDTWS bloggers. Yesterday you read about what it means to operate with a kingdom mindset. Today we will turn our focus to C - Consecrate Heart, Soul and Mind to the Lord.

To consecrate means to separate or dedicate for service. In terms of consecrating the heart, soul and mind to the Lord, it bespeaks of turning over complete ownership of our lives to the Lord for His kingdom purposes.

Romans 12:1-2 is a very familiar passage of scripture. It says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The word "bodies" in this verse is used in context of the OT sacrifices, which represents the totality of one's life and is depicted in a complete change of lifestyle. The key to the change is the mind, which is the control center for one's attitudes, thoughts, feelings and actions. The mind is made new by the Word, prayer and Christian fellowship. When this is our lifestyle, our lives will continue to be renewed.

It is important to understand (see this as God sees it) that the only way to consecrate is to separate from the norm and have our minds renewed by the word of God. We live in a day and age where we are looking for the short cut to success in everything. There is no short cut to a successful Christian walk. It only comes through a renewed mind which the Holy Spirit produces through time spent in prayer and the Word. Then, our renewed mind is strengthened as we maintain fellowship with those who have the same like and precious faith.

We are also instructed in 2 Corinthians 6:17 to come out from among them (the world), and be separate. The Lord also commanded us in this verse to not touch unclean things. In case you are not sure of what the "unclean" things are, read Galatians 5:19-20 for clarity. The reward for this is that God promises to receive us as His sons and daughters.

The Greek word for "separate" in this verse is aphorízō which means to separate from the world for service to God. This is not a difficult concept if we keep in mind that we are on divine assignment. In Joshua 3:5 he commanded the Israelites to, sanctify themselves because God was about to do wonders in their midst. If we ever want to experience the "wonders" of God, we have a personal responsibility to separate from the world for service to God.

This concludes our study for today. I encourage you to not just read these principles, but give yourselves to further study of them. Meditate on this Word so it can be come a part of you and build an anticipation for tomorrows topic: C - Contribute Your Time Talent and Treasure to the Building of the Kingdom. Bless you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

O - Operate with a Kingdom Mindset

Good morning! Today we will pick up our teaching with the pragmatics of how to "occupy." I will begin with the letter "o."

Practically speaking, in order to occupy you must learn to OPERATE with a kingdom mindset. Operate means to perform, function or behave. A mindset is a way of thinking that is fixed so strongly on a specific outlook that it does not see any other perspective. Taken together, these two words teach that as a born again believer, my behavior must reflect a fixed outlook that only sees things from God's perspective. This mindset is all about God's way of being and doing right (Matthew 6:33).

Kingdom minded people know they can connect with God because they seek to know and be known by Him. Kingdom minded people filter every area of their lives through, "Does what I am doing bring glory to God and accomplish His kingdom purposes for my life?" Kingdom minded people are all about the Father's business. In other words, kingdom minded people have a fixed mindset on accomplishing the assignment for their lives given by the Father.

Jesus had this mindset. In Luke 9:49 He told His parents at the age of 12, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?” They had went to celebrate Passover and when the celebration was over they had gone a ways and realized that Jesus was not with them. When they found Him, they were distraught because they could not find Him.

They did not understand Jesus response even though they found Him in the temple teaching and being taught by the Jewish leaders. Mary had been profoundly spoken to by the angel of the child that she would carry. When Jesus was brought to the temple after eight days to be circumcised, Phineas and Anna prophesied over Jesus and His parents heard it. This indicates that perhaps they lost sight of His mission which caused them to worry.

Jesus did not lose sight of His mission. Why? His mind was fixed. He was focused on the Father's assignment for His life. He is the perfect ensample and example of how to operate with a kingdom mindset.

Let us learn from Jesus today. Don't lose sight of your mission. Purpose in your heart from this day forward to live your life in such a way that your mind is set on God's way of being and doing right. The results of this lifestyle will cause you to grow, cause you to gain and cause you show forth His glory in your life! Hallelujah!

Understanding the Kingdom of Heaven in 2011,

Pastor Sheila

Monday, March 7, 2011

O.C.C.U.P.Y. Until He Comes

Praise the Lord! God is calling us this year to come up and see things from His point of view. This can only transpire as we grasp an understanding of the kingdom of heaven. This is an on going process, but simply put God is calling us to submit to His was of being and doing right. This is not a difficult task. However, we will need the help of the Holy Spirit. As we allow Him to teach us, we will be able to see it as our Father sees it.

I begin this teaching with an exposition of a message I taught at our church. I believe your life will be blessed and you will be practically equipped to occupy until He comes. Jesus said in Luke 19:13 "And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come." Jesus also taught this parable in Matthew 25:14 which is similar to Luke 19:13. He said, "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods."

Note that in both of these verses that the servants and the goods both belonged to the nobleman and the man traveling. This is teaching us that we as God's servants, and all that we have belong to God. It should be counted an honor and privilege to receive something from God and take care of it for Him. If we approach our lives with this in mind, along with an attitude of gratitude, it should be easy to take care of what He has given us to care for.

Some may not feel adequate in taking care of God's goods. However, give attention to Luke 19:13 where it says ten servants were given ten pounds. The number ten in the Scriptures is indicative of completeness and wholeness. God has given us the complete set of tools and resources to be about His business until He returns.

The final thing that I would like to call your attention to in this pericope of scripture is the word "occupy." The Greek word for occupy is pragmateúomai. The root word is prágma which means to do or perform. So, occupy means to be doing, to be busy, occupied, to do business, to trade or traffic. All this fancy Greek word is saying is that we are on divine assignment and we have a responsibility to be about the Father's business until He returns.

I trust you have been blessed by today's teaching. Tomorrow I will be sharing how to practically occupy so it can be integrated into your daily lives. Stand firm in your faith and remember as always, IAAH!

Understanding the Kindgom of Heaven in 2011,

Pastor Sheila

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Have You Understood All These Things?

Matthew 13:51-52 Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 52 Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” I like how the Wuest Translation says it: Have you understood all these things? They say to Him, Yes. And He said to them, Because of this, every man learned in the sacred scriptures who has accepted the precepts and instructions with reference to the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a master of a house, who is of such a character that he dispenses with hearty enjoyment out of his treasure-house, things new as to quality and also things mellowed with age by reason of use.

Do you remember being a kid and your parents saying, "Do you understand me?" This was usually asked when you didn't do something that you were told to do, right? The reason they asked this question is because a certain task or duty was not performed. In essence, what they were asking was, "If you understood me, then why did you not do what I asked you to do?"

Jesus asked His disciples, "Have you understood all these things?" Their response was, yes Lord. I believe that the Lord is asking us today this same question. Therefore let's briefly look at what it means "to understand." The dictionary defines it as to perceive the meaning of a thing. Yet for the purposes of our spiritual growth, we are going to dig a little deeper.

Understand is made up of two words, under and stand. Under means, subject or in submission to. Stand means position or viewpoint. Put together, understand means to be subject or submitted to the position or viewpoint of another.

Jesus was asking His disciples, and He is asking us today, "Have you submitted yourself to my viewpoint on the Kingdom of Heaven?" As theirs was, our response should be, "Yes, Lord." With that response comes a responsibility to a correct corresponding action. When we tell the Lord that we have submitted to things the way that He sees it, then we should glorify Him by submitting to things in our everyday lives as He sees them.

Therefore, this year as we endeavor to understand the Kingdom of heaven, let us show by our works and live this verse. Let's purpose to let our Kingdom character dispense with hearty enjoyment, things old and new to draw people to Him.