Prayer, Small Groups, Training

Distance II

But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.  (Luke 23:49)

I am finally getting back to a blog I started several weeks ago.  Below you will find ten final areas of knowing you are standing at a distance from your Lord as expressed in the scripture.  I hope these observations are helpful to you as you encounter a distance in your life and/or in others you love and work with.  Prayerfully take the time to look up the scriptures listed and ask the Holy Spirit to check your heart.

  1. “Being” has become more important to you than “doing.”  (II Corinthians 4:13,14,18; James 2:14,17,24)
  2. You’re not sowing into the lives of others or investing in anyone else’s spiritual growth (Matthew 28: 19,20; I Corinthians
    10: 32,33; II Corinthians 3:4-6; Philippians 2: 1-5; I Thessalonians 5:14,15; II Peter 1:5-10)
  3. You have not heard His voice speaking to you since, well…you can’t remember when (John 10:3-16; Romans 10:17)
  4. Your free time is filled with nothingness, non-productivity and a loss of focus or it’s filled with all the stuff of this
    world without eternal perspective (Proverbs 16:3; I Corinthians 10:31; James 1:27; I John 2:15-17)
  5. Most of your thoughts  are self-centered, filled with what God has not done or are simply unholy and ungodly – failing to thank Him for what He has done (Proverbs 3: 5-8; Proverbs 21:2; Romans 12:1-3; 14:7,8; Philippians 2:3,4; Colossians 2:6,7; Hebrews 3:1; 12:28; I Peter 1:15,16)
  6. You’re questioning the very power and the sovereignty of God (Romans 1:16; I Corinthians 1:18; II Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews
    2:3,4; 4:15; I John 4:4)
  7. Your faith has decreased for prayer to be answered (Mark 9:23; John 14:12-14; Ephesians 3:20; James 5:16)
  8. Your tongue is less guarded in its use of words and expressions (Proverbs 10:20,31; 13:3; 15:1,23; 18:21; 22:11; James 1:26; 3:9,10; 4:11)
  9. Your money is more yours than His; you have forgotten how or have quit giving Him your first fruits (Proverbs 10:22;
    11:24,25; 13:22; 18:16; 22:9; 28:22,27; II Corinthians 9:6-11; I Timothy 6:6-10)
  10. You begin to justify borderline sinful character traits (due to the direct influence of unbelievers or “liberated” believers)
    because, in your mind, God doesn’t really care about miniscule details and neither does He sweat the small stuff (Proverbs
    10: 9; 11:3; I Corinthians 5:9-11; 6:9-11, 18-20; 8:9-13; 15:33;  I Timothy 5:1,2; Titus 2:11,12; II Peter 2; I John 3:6-10)

Luke 24:31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.  Open your eyes so you can recognize Him.  V.38 Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?   v. 45Then he opened their minds so they
could understand the Scriptures

II Timothy 4:7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.

II Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.  Do you realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?  And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

Grace to you!

Leadership, Small Groups, Training

Have I Been in the Habit of Doing this to You?

Balaam was an interesting Old Testament character and even more interesting was his donkey.  Balaam heard from God, but he didn’t always see God when He showed up.  Balaam was on his way to see the princes of Moab recorded in Numbers 22.  He would saddle his long-time transportation for the trip, his donkey.  While on the road the donkey sees an angel blocking their way, not once but three times.  Three times Balaam becomes angry at his donkey for trying to avoid something he could not see and three times he beats his faithful beast.  Balaam becomes so angry he tells the donkey that if he had a sword he would have killed her immediately.

Then the donkey does something donkeys are not accustomed to doing, she speaks to her master, “Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”  Paraphrased she was saying, “Look you moron human, as long as you have owned me, have I ever acted this way before?”  In other words, there is something else going on here and you’re not seeing it.  She was acting out of character and Balaam was not getting the message.  When I read this the other day I had to think about the fact that so often we (I) react to what we think we see, when we are not really “seeing” at all.  God is trying to get our attention and we want to thrust a sword into the roadblock when the roadblock actually has a divine purpose.  If something is out of the norm for you today or this week, could it be a divine roadblock?  Stop and ask the Father if there is a message in this abnormality for you.

Leadership, Small Groups


I was planning on following up on what I wrote about last week, “distance.”  I am going to suspend that for a week and share something that I feel God gave me as we have been experiencing major flooding in our region of Pennsylvania. 

A tropical storm called, Lee, brought us generous portions of water in a very short period time, 15.5 inches in my hometown area.   I have never seen anything like it.  Since the ground was previously saturated through earlier storms, the water just collected in every low-lying area until it began to flow and flow it did.  We lost hundreds of bridges and roads.  Basements were overwhelmed with water flowing in them while sump pumps simply could not keep up.  But, God is faithful and He gave me something from His word Thursday morning the 8th of September.  John 7:38 states, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within Him.” 

He gave me this amazing picture of being saturated in Him, so full that my spirit (my container) would overflow onto everyone else that I would touch.  Streams of living water, not destructive water, would flow to bring life, healing, a word of encouragement and love.  As His stream flows into me, I cannot contain it all for myself.  

You and I are to be saturated with Him so that His Spirit spills over and blesses others.  Let it flow Lord Jesus!

Leadership, Prayer, Small Groups, Training


But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.  (Luke 23:49)

If we know Him, could we be standing at a distance?  If we’ve accepted Jesus as our personal Savior, God’s amazing love will allow us to totally walk away from Him, stand at a distance and look from afar or be right up front waiting on His next command.

How would you know if you’re at a distance?  The following are ten areas to consider with appropriate scriptures following.  We will look at ten more areas next week.  Prayerfully look over the areas and scriptures listed, perhaps in your devotional time.

You are standing at a distance if:

  1. You’re not reading the Bible daily or at least committed to do so.  (Proverbs 4: 20-22; Romans 10:17; II Timothy 2:15; 3:16,17; Hebrews 2:1; 4:12)
  2. Your prayer life consists of praying on the run or when someone else is praying around you.  (Mark 1:35; Luke 18:1; Romans 8:26,27; Colossians 4:2)
  3. You are not committed to the vision of and to relationships within a local church.  (I Corinthians 14:26; Hebrews 10:25; I John 1:7)
  4. You rarely tell anyone your testimony or share about Jesus and His love, hope and salvation.  ( Romans 10: 14,15; Colossians 3:17; II Timothy 1:7,8; 4:5;  James 5:19,20)
  5. Your friends and family are more important than Jesus is.  (Mark 3:31-35; 10:29,30; 12;30,31)
  6. You’re more concerned about what those around you think of you than you are about what Jesus thinks or says about you.  (Proverbs 29:25; Matthew 23:5-7,12; Luke 9:26; I Corinthians 1:26-31; II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:10; 2:20; 4:19; Colossians 1:28; I Thessalonians 2:4-6; I Peter 2:9,10)
  7. Obeying Him has become less and less of a priority and His words have become “hard” to hear as you live your daily life.  (Proverbs 14:12; John 6: 60,66-71; 14:15,21; I Peter 2:11,12; I John 2:3-6)
  8. Your view of God has evolved to His living at a distance, and that being the case, unable to be reached consistently.  (II Timothy 1:14; Hebrews 3:6; 11:6)
  9. You’re not reading or listening to something that challenges your spiritual growth on any kind of consistent basis.  (Proverbs 3:1,2; Isaiah 26:3; I Corinthians 2:16; Colossians 3:2)
  10. “Rational thinking” from the wisdom of this world has taken precedence over the truths of God’s word.  (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 21:30; Mark 7:8; Romans 8:5-9; I Corinthians 1:18-21; Colossians 2:8; I Timothy 6:20,21; II Timothy 3:1-5; II Peter 1:3,4)